There isn't much of a back story to divulge in this week's Reviewing the Review, because my review of Barney's Pastrami opens with a highly detailed account of what happened when I tried to contact Barney. I initially though much of the fantastically positive review would double as a profile of Barney, but those plans were derailed by weeks spent unsuccessfully trying to schedule an interview with him. You'll find a blow-by-blow recap of my frustration here. But it turned out my failed attempts weren't the end of the story.
Our photographer, Kevin Casey, called me last week to say he was having trouble reaching Barney. He'd called the restaurant and Barney's cell phone, but Barney clearly wasn't jumping at the chance to have a Weekly photographer shoot his sandwich. Casey finally decided just showing up might be the best strategy, so he drove to Everett during Barney's Pastrami's posted business hours. The restaurant was closed.
(Beware, sandwich lovers: While you should absolutely make the pilgrimage to Barney's, there's at least one online report from an aggravated eater who encountered the same problem. I'd suggest calling, but know Barney rarely picks up the phone. So maybe head north with patience and a back-up plan.)
Casey had read my review, so he wasn't terribly surprised by the situation, but wasn't sure what to do. We agreed my iPhone photos wouldn't work for print, so settled on sending Casey back to Barney's around noon, which I'd deduced was the restaurant's busiest hour. If Barney wouldn't cooperate, at least Casey could order a sandwich and photograph it elsewhere. Casey paid Barney's a second visit on Friday.
"Believe it or not, he was there and was accommodating," Casey e-mailed afterward. "He seemed apologetic about his phone service and overall very nice. business wise he is an older guy so he probably just gets overwhelmed with everything. He even let me shoot his picture."
You'll find that picture and more in this week's food porn slideshow, set to post shortly. And my review's right here.