Thursday, March 31, 2011

Miami New Times [briefly] pulls suspect restaurant review [UPDATED x2]

UPDATED @ 1:30pm: Shortly after noon Thursday, Strouse posted his explanation of the events surrounding the disputed review.

UPDATED @ 11:10am: Miami New Times editor Chuck Strouse tells me this morning that Lee Klein's review of Route 9 was pulled because of "four or five factual errors."

Strouse said he was working to correct the errors and that the review would be re-posted on the paper's website soon. (Review has since been re-posted with this note: "This story was removed from the Internet overnight while several factual errors were corrected. We apologize for the inconvenience.")

Strouse said he is satisfied that Klein visited Route 9. However, owner Jeremy Goldberg isn't so sure. (A source at New Times tells me that restaurant critics are required to turn in receipts.)

"I'm not some bitchy restaurant guy who doesn't want a bad review. Something sketchy is going on here," Goldberg told me this morning.

Goldberg also feels that Strouse misled him.

"When I talked to him Wednesday, he told me the review would be pulled and that he would issue a retraction in next week's paper. He didn't tell me that the review would be re-posted," said Goldberg this morning.

Additionally, the Food for Thought Miami blog has turned up an interesting connection between Klime Kovaceski and Klein which can be seen here.

Strouse took pains to point out to me that this is the first time he's had to correct one of Klein's reviews.


Miami New Times editor Chuck Strouse, in an unprecedented move Wednesday, pulled a restaurant review by long-time critic Lee Klein from the paper's website.

Late Wednesday night, Jeremy Goldberg, owner of Route 9 in Coral Gables, confirmed in a phone conversation with me that he called Strouse Wednesday after reading an online review of his eatery by Klein.

Goldberg said he learned of the review after a customer called and left a message.

"Much of the information in the review was incorrect," Goldberg told me.

For instance, in the pulled review - which is preserved in a Google cache - Klein writes of Goldberg and his wife Paola: "Before schooling, they had worked as prep cooks in Miami eateries; after graduating in 1991 [from the Culinary Institute of America], they managed restaurants such as Timo, Johnny V Las Olas, and Escopazzo. Less than two months ago, they opened their own dining establishment."

"I was 9 years old in 1991," said Goldberg, who is 28.

After reading the rest of the review, Goldberg told me that it appeared that much of Klein's information about the menu came from an early version of Route 9's website which was revised prior to restaurant's opening.

But Goldberg said he really got suspicious after reading the review and realizing that some of the information in it meshed with an experience he had a few weeks earlier with diners at a "difficult table."

Fortunately, the diner left his business card. According to Goldberg, the card bore the name of Klime Kovaceski, executive chef at Trio on the Bay on the 79th Street Causeway in Miami. (A short review of Trio by Klein can be seen on New Times' website here.)

Goldberg called Strouse Wednesday morning to complain about Klein's review. "He was very concerned and told me he'd get to the bottom of it," said Goldberg.

A source at New Times told me that Strouse could be heard throughout the entire newsroom Wednesday afternoon yelling at Klein over the phone.

Goldberg told me that in addition to calling Strouse, he also drove up to 79th Street to confront Kovaceski. Goldberg reports that Kovaceski confirmed he was the source of much of the information contained in Klein's review.

An attempt to locate contact info for Klein was unsuccessful. I didn't call Strouse because of the late hour but I'll attempt to get a comment Thursday. Stay tuned.


  1. Thanks for sound clarification and perspective here. To watch this drama unfold via Twitter left many holes -- including some from the aggrieved Route 9 folks, who threw into the mix what looks like a far-fetched notion that Klime/Klein's negative comments were motivated by the fact that Trio is an advertiser AND a competitor (huh?). Strouse's clarification is fairly defensive, zooming in on the more minor factual issues and avoiding the bigger, real issue of credibility. Can we the readers trust Klein to bring his informed point of view to every restaurant review, or will it be forever tainted by hidden agendas? Or does it even matter... is it irrelevant in the new world of Yelp-y OMG! To die for! Bacon! More please! commenter/reviewers?

  2. I'm done with the Miami New Times until Klein and Strouse are out. I have no faith that either of them can accurately report anything.

  3. Its time for the public to stand up and pull advertising from New Times. The only way to get a company like that to take care of their actions is to hit them in the pockets. Guarantee corporate bosses with have Strouse and Klein out in no time.

  4. Glad that someone finally called out the New Times...especially Lee Klein


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