January 10, 2009

artfuldinerlogo7The Artful Diner is an independent freelance food writer.  His latest review and an archive of past reviews for restaurants around the country and the world can be found on artfuldiner.com.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Diane May 14, 2010 at 7:59 am

I just wanted to say hello. I enjoyed all of your visit and the fact that you enjoyed your dinner so much that you brought friends!! I miss Rosalie and wished that it had stayed open, however, life goes on…………………….hope you are eating well 🙂

Leo Fontaine January 24, 2012 at 8:09 am

TAD…..Have you ever reviewed The Tewksbury Inn in Oldwick NJ ?……if so, direct me to your review,…..I recently moved to the area and am interested in bringing a group there…..Thank you.

artfuldiner January 24, 2012 at 8:23 am

Have not reviewed the Tewksbury… but, like many others, it is on my “to do” list.

Best regards,


artfuldiner January 24, 2012 at 8:27 am

By the way, here’s a link to a review from NJ Monthly, http://njmonthly.com/restaurantreviews/tewksbury-inn.html, which gave it pretty good marks.


Peter B August 2, 2013 at 2:34 pm

I just found your site and I must say… wow. Your critiquing expertise and use of colorful word descriptive is beyond reproach. I must say you have given me and my foodie dining partner pause about the new Avero. Given that it is less than 3 miles from Teresa’s, the preeminent ML Italian bistro that offers one the best pasta Bolognese’s this side of Silver Spring MD’s 8407 Kitchen Bar (the best pasta Bolognese in the United States of Ameica), I will await spending my hard earned restaurant allowance for the current time being.

Thank you for being there ahead of us!

Lukas April 24, 2014 at 2:17 pm

Hi, great blog. I was wondering if you know where Chef Michael Metzner (formerly of Giovanni’s Bistro in Berkeley Heights, NJ and Nicholas before that) is going next. Just recieved an email from Giovanni’s stating that he has left and the restaurant is closed for the time being. Many thanks,


Ken Alan July 7, 2015 at 8:28 am

Dear Artful Diner,

I realize it has been almost a full year since you commented on my review in Main Line Today (“Main Line Today Butters Up the Blue Bell Inn et al.” July 31, 2014) – I apologize for this delay in responding, however, I only just discovered your article after a recent online search.

While I cannot speak for my “partner in dine,” Amy Strauss, about her own journalistic motivations, I will gladly answer your posit – “Are Mr. Alan & Ms. Strauss specifically instructed not to pen overtly negative comments about individual restaurants?”
The answer is neither “No” nor “Yes.”

We have never been instructed one way or another by our editor on this subject. Our only mandate is Integrity, which is to be all-pervasive in our respective writings, and that’s simply a given.

Still, if a restaurant creeps too deeply into the dark side of dining (for whatever reason), we will not report on it at all. Our pieces are meant to inform and instruct, not insult. Me – I’d rather spend my time writing about a positive experience so that everyone wins – especially you, the diner.

But make no mistake about it: I will never cheapen my writing with pithy anecdotes and “rapier-like wit” as to appear more knowledgeable or legitimate.
I can easily excuse your dissatisfaction toward my writing style by knowing that my articles have brought scores of enjoyable experiences to those who took the time to read my words and then find out for themselves if I am right or not.
Fortunately, other than your own “negative vibration in this regard,” the commentary coming from Main Line Today readers holds nice (positive) uniformity.

Back to your question about possible [Editor’s] instruction to avoid negativity: We have been told to be completely anonymous and utterly honest in our reviews and assessments of a restaurant experience – Period.
I have no interest whatsoever in “misleading” or offering “public relations propaganda,” as you assert.
I simply want my readers to be happy and I also want the restaurants to be as successful as they deserve to be.

While you contend that I should follow your own reviewer’s rule of thumb by managing “well-aimed swipes,” I choose to take the high road when reporting about the places I visit –

I am a full time concierge by profession.
With this in mind, I take a concierge’s approach to my writings, by providing succinct/informative overviews about restaurants for my reaaders, point-by-point narritives which help them to decide if a restaurant is right for their tastes or not.

I am always honest, however, I stay away from the mean-spirited four letter word (“Yelp”)-mentality that’s so pervasive in what tries to pass for real journalism these days, meaning, being a critic does not mean a person always has to be hyper-critical and constantly carry a pointed stick.

Most of all, I look at a dining experience from both sides of the plate; offering opinions that will be beneficial to the diner as well as the restaurant, because I know you are spending your well-earned money for that meal, and, too, that restaurant is ultimately the livelihood of those who are working there.

With only 650 words to do what I can to make one article noteworthy, each line counts. Thus, I’d rather spend those keystrokes showcasing rather than maligning, and I leave the mean-spiritness to people who are much smarmier and more ironic than I choose to be in print.

As they say, bad press is better than no press at all. It took me a year to find yours about me, and I am grateful for your expressions and your honesty.
I’m sorry you think I am cheapening this profession because I am constructive rather than negative, but you certainly have your right to that point of view.

Thank you for taking time to read my stuff, Artful Diner.
I will be sure to do the same with yours as well.

Hospitably yours,

Ken Alan

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