The News Everyone Missed: Plotkin vs. LaBan Lawsuit Settled

It’s pretty amazing that in a town where restaurant news travels at supersonic speeds, this little tidbit could have sat for so long. A thread that began yesterday on Chowhound reveals that the libel lawsuit between Chops owner Alex Plotkin and Inquirer restaurant critic Craig LaBan — the lawsuit that centered on LaBan’s review of the Bala Cynwyd steakhouse and that was chronicled in Philly Mag by Steve Volk in 2007 — was settled… way back at the beginning of April. Unsurprisingly, both LaBan and Plotkin have the same thing to say about this: “No comment”. We’re hearing that a lot lately.

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  • Snake

    So LaBan gives this place a bad review and the chef takes action in the most American way possible. He sues him. Your magazine then runs a nice piece about the chef and the restaurant because he’s an advertiser and at the same time tries to take LaBan down a peg.

    Quite a sequence of events but the restaurant still isn’t much to write home about. I was very disappointed with the Center City outpost. In fact, I’d be surprised if it was still open.

  • Victor Fiorillo

    @Snake If you think Steve Volk gives a shit who advertises in Philadelphia Magazine, you obviously don’t know him very well.

  • Snake

    I don’t know him at all, but I do know something about the finances of other glossy city magazines. Most of the money comes from advertisers, subscriptions at this point are secondary. Chops has been on a number of your “Best Of” lists over the years but it looks like the overall public opinion of the place is pretty average. I could be wrong, but from my experiences there I’d see no reason at all for inclusion on any list that I’d offer to my subscribers. It’s certainly a nice looking place, most of the details are right, it’s just that the food is not that good.

  • Victor Fiorillo

    It’s true that Chops has been on our Best Of lists. They won for Best Steakhouse In the Suburbs, Best Service, and Best Martini. I wouldn’t personally argue with the first two, at least not when they were awarded. As for Best Martini, absolutely not. Their specialty cocktail list is lame. And they never use vermouth in their martinis. But if no one argued about the content of the Best Of list, it wouldn’t be much fun.

    As for the advertising/editorial relationship, I can assure you that in my nine years of writing Best Of winners, no one has ever told me who to write about or what to write about them. And if it were true that we favor advertisers with Best Ofs, wouldn’t it also be true that we would avoid writing anything controversial or negative about advertisers? I could tell you some stories over a beer, believe me.

  • kbor

    Isn’t it common knowledge that most Best of Philly awards are sold to the highest bidder?

  • denright

    @victor “I could tell you some stories over a beer, believe me.”

    I’d buy a round at that table…

  • Snake

    Could be a chicken or egg thing as well, I guess. Win best of and then buy advertising because of the nice award. Thanks for the explanation. Who picks the winners? The writer of each individual short?

  • CC Philadelphia

    I think it would be a novel approach to have some of the “best of Philly” winners actually in Philadelphia. Note to the editors: Conshohocken is not philadelphia, neither is KOP, etc. They are called different names because they are actually different places. With dozens, hundreds maybe even thousands of eateries in Philadelphia, I think we can field a list of “best of” without resorting to the burbs. When Main Line Magazine names Barclay Prime best steakhouse on the Main Line I’ll reconsider my opinion.