When the co-owners of tiny wine bar Bin 152 opened tucked away Chez Nous, many of the downtown restaurant-goers swooned. It was a hidden gem, a quaint European eatery with a well-curated menu, and it gave people an excuse to sip rosé over a long lunch. In today's Charleston Scene review, critic Hanna Raskin isn't buying it.
First, the good news: Raskin calls the restaurant "genuinely romantic," but beyond that, she's less than complimentary. The first shot fired is "...there's an innate haughtiness to the enterprise that some guests may find off-putting." This is a trait she contends is "synonymous with French restaurants."
From there she goes on to say, "Chez Nous has come up with a mind-boggling number of ways to not accommodate its customers." Raskin finds the menu "pretty near illegible," the offerings restrictive, the beverage program "rigid", and says she always left hungry. Ouch, right? Despite the criticism, she actually gives the place high marks in the side ratings. However, co-owner Patrick Panella takes to Facebook with some comments about the article.
In his open letter to Raskin, Panella states, "... the fact that you suggest that we have somehow come up with a mind-boggling number of ways to not accommodate our guests and that this is what makes our restaurant 'very' French is culturally insensitive and highly offensive." He goes on to point out the inaccuracies in her review, like the fact that they do not own a sous-vide machine (Raskin states this is how the chicken is cooked) and that they "do in fact offer light-bodied wines for under $50" (Raskin doesn't find these on her list). He says a lot more, including a suggestion that readers may associate the critic to the "horrible stereotype of the obnoxious self-righteous American tourist in Paris."
What do you think? Do you side with Chez Nous or do you think The Raskinator™ is right in her critique? Should restaurateurs cater to all customers? Or should patrons know what they are getting into beforehand? Or is this just a case of reviewers doing what they do—review?
· All Chez Nous Coverage [-ECHS-]
· Chez Nous: Very French restaurant the perfect place for a date [CS]
· Chez Nous [Facebook]