The Mirror

WaPo Food Critic Gets Pounded For Sausage-Condom Metaphor

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
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Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema is getting grief this week about a review in which he compares a German sausage to a condom. One of his WaPo colleagues — a sports blogger — even scolded him online, however serious that rebuke was.

The trouble began on the day before Christmas when Sietsema reviewed City Perch in Bethesda.

The review is actually among the funnier things I’ve read in WaPo in a long, long time. And at WaPo, humor is really hard to come by. (No offense to WaPo’s poop-obsessed “humor” columnist Gene Weingarten.)

Sietsema begins his offensive masterpiece by explaining how overbearing the server is.

For the hour or so we’re under her torture, er, watch, Tiffany is on us like white on rice. How’s the cocktail? How’s the bread? How’s the appetizer? How’s the first bite of the entree? Can I get you anything else? When she reappears for the nth time, I wonder what else she could possibly inquire about. So I play defense and let her know the table is perfectly square and the ice is well chilled, thank you very much. (Now please, can we just eat our food?)

Sietsema doesn’t stick the knife in and turn too often. He almost always manages to salvage something from even the worst of meals. In this instance, he gives City Perch a huge compliment about its bread, saying it has the “best bread service in Washington.”

But then there’s the German sausage “sheathed” in pastry. “The link borders on something Trojan might use for testing purposes,” he writes.

Yeah, you read that right. WaPo‘s restaurant critic compared a sausage to the taste of a condom. “Eating it is less entertaining,” he hilariously writes.

Josephine Schlagel, an apparently delicate reader in Washington, was troubled by Sietsema’s condom-laced review. In a letter to the editor, she called his review “uncouth” and “juvenile” and “tasteless.” It appears that WaPo sports blogger Dan Steinberg agrees (however jokingly as it’s hard to believe a sports writer would take offense to too much). Steinberg subtweeted the food writer on Twitter, saying, “Do not joke about condom testing in your restaurant reviews.”



The Mirror asked Sietsema for comment on his review and the reader’s negative reaction to it. He has no regrets and explained by email, “While I take full responsibility for typing that metaphor, it was read by at *least* three editors before it went to press. (And I think my colleague Mr. Steinberg is just having fun.).”