There was something of a firestorm in local food blog land yesterday, after the blog Eater LA posted a take-down of a local restaurant in the form of a blind post. “Per a tipster,” the downtown wine bar The Must was accused of misrepresenting menu items, bilking customers and “not adhering to simple food saftey [sic] standards.”
Comments quickly followed, 67 as of this post, and 50 in the first few hours after the piece went up. Many of the comments questioned the anonymity of the tip and the apparent lack of confirmation of the charges. Among the comments was one from Rachel Thomas, co-owner of The Must, threatening legal action. As reported in Daily Dish, Thomas says that Eater “wouldn't recant anything or make a formal apology,” although they did offer to post Thomas' side of the story, “with no editing.” (No detectable irony there.)
Eater LA, which is owned by the Curbed network, has drawn criticism for running its restaurant Deathwatch in the past, but seems to have avoided libel suits. The blog's current editor, Kat Odell, officially took the helm on June 16 after the previous editor, Lesley Balla, now editor of LA's Tasting Table, left the position*. As of early Wednesday morning, the offending post had still not been taken down. One wonders why. Maybe it's still getting traffic.
* A note of clarification: Balla left Eater LA in January. “I've been long gone,” she wrote in a July 2 email.