Why Would We Review The Men's Club? This Is Why

This week's cafe review of The Men's Club was only posted an hour ago, and the angry emails are already rolling in. I guess that's to be expected.

And in response to each email and each question of "Why on earth would you review The Men's Club?!", I've been giving more or less the same reply. To save time, I'm simply going to copy the most recent one here.

I'm sorry you didn't like the review. The honest truth as to why I reviewed The Men's Club is because I was stunned to learn that they have a chef. I figured it would be an interesting look at some food and at a kitchen that people never think about. And if the food was good? What a surprising little twist that would have been. Unfortunately, I found while I was there that the food didn't quite live up to chef-level expectations. So, yes, I know that no one goes to The Men's Club for the food and now I know concretely why that is.

I didn't get into this position to discriminate between kitchens. That's why I review everything from food trucks to high-end dining and everything in between. If it's food and it seems interesting or noteworthy, I consider it fair game. The Men's Club included.

And that's the great thing about writing for an alternative weekly like the Houston Press. I feel that it's sometimes forgotten that the Press is an alt weekly. I see it in the commenters who are offended when we use blue language or in the people who turn their noses up when we review small, hole-in-the-wall ethnic restaurants. It can be frustrating, to say the least.

It reminds me of listening to Mozart's rant to his fellow composers in the play Amadeus. He's found himself stifled by Emperor Joseph II's court at a time when he wants to write operas about real people and real places as opposed to the "gods and legends" that figured in the majority of librettos during the early Classical period:

Elevated? What does that mean? Elevated! The only thing a man should elevate is - oh, excuse me. I'm sorry. I'm stupid. But I am fed up to the teeth with elevated things! Old dead legends! How can we go on forever writing about gods and legends?"

And why shouldn't we write about real things as often as we write about the "gods and legends" of the Houston restaurant industry? I want to paint a full and colorful picture of every aspect of Houston's dining scene, and not just the pretty parts. And, thankfully, the Houston Press lets me.

That's why I reviewed The Men's Club.

And if you're interested in something a little bit more "elevated," Amadeus is playing at the Alley Theatre through May 1. Unlike The Men's Club, however, you get to see full frontal (top half only) nudity during the show.

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Katharine Shilcutt