Review Preview: Señor Pop's

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This week I visit Señor Pop's, a new(ish) Puerto Rican restaurant in South City.
Any restaurant critic worth his weight in rendered duck fat keeps two lists in his head. One identifies those with reason to wish him harm. I dine anonymously, yes, but let me tell you: If, while strolling through the farmers' market, if I spot a chef or restaurateur whom I've recently criticized, I scamper back to my car. I mean, those guys know how to wield a knife.

The restaurant critic's other list catalogs all the ethnic cuisines he has tried. This is a happier list, of course, but not without its frustrations. St. Louis has a higher number of different cuisines represented than you might realize, but my curiosity still outpaces the area's demographics. What's more, when there is only one example of a given culture's cooking -- as often happens in this area -- you lack a basis of comparison. Maybe you enjoyed that curry, but was it, to use the most frustrating word in the critic's lexicon, authentic?

(And don't even get me started on the regional differences within a specific cuisine.)
Check back here tomorrow to see what I think.

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