This month I lost a good friend. Mimi Sheraton, brilliant food writer and restaurant critic, died at the age of 97.

Much has been written of her erudition, encyclopedic knowledge of all things food, candor, directness, toughness, writing skill and exemplary traits as a beloved wife, mother and grandmother.

I met Mimi though my friend and client Clay Felker, co-founder of New York Magazine.

What has not received any commentary is what it was like to be an eater at restaurants Mimi was reviewing for the New York Times, Time Magazine, Travel and Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler and other publications. That was the role I played in Mimi’s professional life, a role that she considered a necessity because she couldn’t order and eat enough to make a judgment on a restaurant with just herself and her late husband, the outspoken and fascinating Richard Falcone. She needed at least one more eater and preferably two more.

Actually, I became a Green Beret eater, an appellation reserved for frequent dinner guests who went to the good restaurants and the bad ones too.

When reviewing for Time and the travel publications, Mimi frequently had to go out of town without Dick. This necessitated an introduction to eaters in cities where she did not know anyone. Mimi became an honorary member of my Yale Law School class because I introduced her to classmates in Washington D.C., Chicago, Denver, Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco. These eaters were thrilled to be included because they knew of Mimi’s fame and, above all, because they were eating on-the-arm of Mimi’s publications.

The pattern at these dinners was made clear to all of the guests: because of the necessity that no restaurant could know that Mimi was there (if known, reviewers get better food), guests could not address her as Mimi and reservations were made under a pseudonym; after distribution of the menus, Mimi would sotto voce tell the guests what she found “interesting;” she would then steal the menu and put it in her handbag; food would be ordered; and Mimi would taste everything, often commenting on each course (lousy; undercooked; are they kidding ?; needs seasoning; delicious; etc.).

The guests were briefed in advance that comments on the food were a one-way street. Those giving food judgments because they could not control themselves received a withering smile from Mimi. Comments by her guests about a menu being “ambitious” or praising the chef’s “philosophy” yielded a firm put down. “Who cares?” Mimi would respond. “How’s the food? This is dinner.”

Sometimes willful eaters did not get the memo on what was going on. On one occasion, after hearing Mimi’s suggestions of what she considered “interesting,” a lady said, “I don’t want an appetizer. I’m not hungry.” Mimi responded, “You’re here to work!”

Watching Mimi’s reaction as waiters “explained” a dish unbidden was a special treat. She knew every preparation of every dish and generally needed no explanation. She would fix the speaker with an angelic smile and say nothing.

Keeping Mimi’s identity secret in New York was a constant concern, as many places had her picture in the kitchen. This often required disguises including what she called “poet glasses” and a wig but was not a problem in other cities.

Often a clueless place would seat Mimi and guests in the restaurant’s distant “Siberia” even if the establishment was empty. Woe unto them!

Both Mimi and Dick commented on my unadventurous palate, especially my love for halibut which they both considered a bore and which became a code word when they wanted to criticize me: “halibut!!” We did agree on at least one thing: all three disliked kale because it doesn’t taste good.

Though typically charming, Dick was no slouch in the opinion department when he wanted to be. After dinner one night, I ordered cappuccino. “What are you doing Tom!!” Dick said. “Don’t you know that cappuccino is for breakfast? Get a grip!”

One of my fondest memories is the trip to Lyon that I took with Mimi and Dick. Mimi decided to do a “quenelle taste test” for the Condé Nast Traveler piece she was writing and so we had a taste of it at every Lyon restaurant we attended. The winner? Grenouille in New York!

Mimi and Dick were great friends above and beyond all the food fun. Dick died some years ago. I loved Mimi and will miss her.