Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Part Three of Restaurant Review - Reflection on Sushiya

When I first set out to write a restaurant review, I planned on going to Fuel to gain perspective on a vegetarian's eating habits.  I found out Fuel was closed, and had to quickly reroute my plans.  Since I had chosen my original subject based off of veganism, I picked my new location while planning to continue with the same mind frame.
This was the second roadblock I encountered.  It's difficult to review a sushi restaurant when you're not allowed to have fish or eggs.  I couldn't eat the majority of the food with vegan restrains.  I had to go back and eat there a second time, and work a few extra hours in preparation for buying a second meal.  The positive was I went with a larger group the second time, so I gained a better perspective on the food itself, and also how to navigate the cost.  Both times I took excellent notes with quotes and my own impressions of the food, but when writing it up I found I couldn't use a lot of it.
In the actual writing of the review, I also found a lot of difficulty, specifically with not being able to use first person, and avoiding second person.  To write an opinion piece as a background voice drove me nuts.  It didn't help that I'm bad at describing tastes, but good with details in spaces.  In trying to play up my skills, I demeaned the focus of the assignment.  When we first started looking at reviews, the review on Kenmare spoke to me, because it used its focus on space to describe feeling.  I think space defines a lot of my personal feeling about food (hence my ideal meal piece), but that got in my way as a reviewer for a restaurant.  It also didn't help that in my expectation writing I described the exact space I walked into when I first entered Sushiya.  It made me want to focus on writing about the space more because of how cliché it felt, while at the same time reminded me of the Sushi places I grew up with.
It would have been easier for me to write a rave or a pan, but being honestly neutral on a space actually made it more difficult.  The "thesis" and "but" and "so what" I normally pride myself on in papers just weren't being conveyed.  Three official drafts later, shuffled paragraphs, and more perspective, and I'm not sure I ever got the hang of translating my writing style and voice to the format required for review writing.  This was by far the most difficult assignment for me, but I have to hold my head high and move forward.

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