It’s not often we start a restaurant post with “Warning: graphic content,” but if you don’t like eating anything with a face, especially if it still has a face, you may want to move on.
But first, some context, which will move an embedded Facebook post further down. On Monday, The Dallas Morning News announced that its restaurant critic, Leslie Brenner, is leaving the paper, effective Sept. 8. The News’ story makes reference to Brenner’s “elegant and acerbic prose,” and the acerbic part made a lot of DFW restaurateurs unhappy with her. “Unhappy” is way too weak a word, but some of the words they used, we can’t print.
Brenner is going to the other side, according to the News report, to take a senior management position with Rebees, a Dallas-based company founded by developer Tristan Simon.
So far, so Dallas — although Brenner did once aim her prose at Waters, giving a one-star review to the Fort Worth seafood restaurant run by Jon Bonnell, one of the city’s most respected chefs (if not the most respected). To be fair, she recently praised (with some reservations) a more recently opened Fort Worth spot, chef Marcus Paslay’s Piattello Italian Kitchen.
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But the most infamous fallout from a Brenner review happened in 2014, when she gave a three-star review to Knife, the “modern steakhouse” run by Dallas celebrity chef John Tesar. Three stars is good, but was not good enough for Tesar, who was once the subject of a D Magazine cover story bearing the headline “John Tesar: The Most Hated Chef in Dallas” and has appeared a couple of times on Bravo’s food-competition show “Top Chef.”
Tesar went off on a Twitter tirade (oh, yeah, another warning: strong language). Here’s the parts addressed to Brenner that we can print: “Your reviews are misleading, poorly written, self serving and you have destroyed the star system and you really suck” and “Dallas doesn't need a miserable self-serving food critic with a chip on her shoulder who make reviews personal.” The tweets got national attention. Things grew from there, with Tesar banning Brenner from his restaurants and chefs and bloggers choosing sides (Brenner has maintained that this is not a feud, because Tesar was the only one using acerbic prose this time).
When news of Brenner’s resignation hit social media Monday, and then spread via Dallas-based food sites, the big question was, How will Tesar react? Here’s how he’s reacting, and here’s where the graphic content comes in. “In honor of [Leslie’s] departure, I am roasting two pigs and having some beer and wine for my friends,” he posted on Facebook. “Leslie, if [you’re] out there, please join us as Dallas’ newest restaurant employee ... maybe you can bring the Mexican sides.”
We’re about to embed Tesar’s Facebook post, which is, well visceral. But do not take this lightly. Maybe there’s a little acerbi ... acerbicness? Acerbity? ... in Tesar’s post, but as he showed at this year’s Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival, he is really good at roasting a whole hog.
And now ... Tesar goes whole hog, or at least whole hog/pig head, in his Facebook post.