Restaurant Owner Assaults Critic

Scorned restaurant owner "verbally assaults" food critic Alison Cook over Top 100 snub in street confrontation

Restaurant owner verbally assaults food critic Alison Cook over snub

News_Fusion Taco Truck_June 10
Julia Sharaby — pictured here in her food truck days — wasn't going to take a snub from food critic Alison Cook quietly. Courtesy of Fusion Taco
Alison Cook top 100 Houston restaurants book
The contents of this book caused a little shouting on Houston's streets Thursday night.  Photo by Eric Sandler
Alison Cook Houston Chronicle
Food critic Alison Cook found herself embroiled in a confrontation outside of a new bar. Photo by Eric Sandler
News_Fusion Taco Truck_June 10
Alison Cook top 100 Houston restaurants book
Alison Cook Houston Chronicle

One Houston restaurant owner helped answer the question posed in CultureMap on Thursday about Chronicle restaurant critic Alison Cook's newly released list of Houston's 100 best restaurants. Does the list matter?

Well, it matters enough to Fusion Taco owner Julia Sharaby that she decided to express her displeasure with it. While most people are content to air their grievances on social media or in the comments section, Sharaby took a more direct approach.

According to tweets sent by semi-retired local food blogger Misha Govshteyn and his wife Season Paquette, Sharaby hurled insults at Cook in front of Public Services, the new bar from Oxheart chef Justin Yu and sommelier Justin Vann that opened last week.

Neither Govshteyn nor Paquette provided any details of Sharaby's invective, but the confrontation was apparently heated enough that Public Service's doorman felt compelled to escort the group to their car. 

Perhaps Sharaby took some inspiration from the movie Chef, in which Jon Favreau's character unleashes an epic rant at a critic when the he visits Favreau's restaurant after slamming it in a review. Favreau's character gets fired for his honesty, but, of course, Sharaby is the owner of Fusion Taco.

CultureMap contacted Sharaby's representative for a response but has yet to receive a reply. 

Cook may not have published a formal review between June 24 and Sept. 16 while she prepared her Top 100 list, but good places can still be overlooked despite anyone's best efforts. Even if Sharaby has a point that her restaurant is potentially worthy of inclusion — Fusion Taco does serve tasty food, and the restaurant has made an admirable transition from being a food truck — haranguing the person who decides your restaurant's fate doesn't seem like the smartest way to generate future consideration. 

Favreau's character finds redemption when he opens a food truck, but Sharaby's already done that. Maybe she can create a "Top 100" taco full of teeny-tiny Oxheart-style vegetables. That seems like a better response to a perceived slight than public shouting matches. 

Or just rant on Twitter. That's what it's for.