"I would like to arrange to have dinner [at your restaurant] ... We ask that you comp the meal and wine for me and my husband. As you probably know, there is no guarantee that in exchange we will write a favorable review, or any review at all. But based on what we know of [name of restaurant omitted], we will be pleased with our visit."
That's a snippet of an e-mail that a restaurant reviewer for Sasquatch Books' Best Places sent to a Tacoma restaurateur, according to a report in the Seattle Weekly.
The Weekly's story revisits an old News Tribune skeleton. The Weekly didn't contact me for comment, but here's what I would have said:
As The News Tribune's restaurant critic, I neither court nor accept freebies. My employer picks up the tab. I don't inform restaurants of my presence, and I get the same bad tables, the same bad food and the same bad service as every other paying customer.