1. Some of them run their sites/blogs as if they were professional reviewers. What many of them either don't know or fail to act on, is that professional reviewers almost always have a follow up conversation (post reviewing visits, prior to review being published) in which critical bits of information--ingredients, cooking methods, reasons for combinations, etc.) are discussed with the chef/GM/owner. To skip this step does a disservice to the person reading the "review" as well as the establishment being reviewed and in many cases skews what somebody might take away from a review. This can ultimately affect whether or not someone tries a restaurant.
Until Frank Bruni started writing about such phone calls openly, I always assumed that food critics just KNEW all that stuff (re ingredients, techniques, etc.). I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but this new knowledge made me feel much less inferior.
(I had the same experience years and years sitting next to a critic at a dance performance. She had a set of press materials that explained all the abstruse cultural references in the work. I always thought critics just KNEW all that stuff.)
2. This board especially has a very informed, refined collective "palate." This board seems to sub-consciously be hard on the places that don't excite them, in favor of places that do. As a casual observer here, I have always detected a bias against the "boring" even if well done, in favor of the "wow, that totally was unexpected and blew me away." If my restaurant is predicated on the "non inventive, but well done"--bistro, comfort, low brow (non haute) ethnic, do I deserve a 6 or 7 page thread telling the world that the food was "boring...if not properly cooked?" That has always been a pet peeve of mine here, but I admit that there is no real "solution" to that critique.
If there isn't already a thread about this on the General food board here, there ought to be.
Wasn't Frank Bruni on the London politics desk before becoming the Food Critic? lol...
I guess if the other guy (name escapes me) can go from being the Theater Critic to writing the Sunday Opinion piece, expertise is not high on the Time's list of credentials.