JGV was there during the lunch we wrote up a few weeks ago--from chatting with a few of the waitstaff, I found out that he's there a surprisingly large proportion of the time.
You raise a good point, csl. There are governance and transparency issues that need to be thought out carefully. For our site (http://nycnosh.com), we try to remain as anonymous as possible and to keep the photography quick and done in a way that disturbs nobody. That said, we've been asked a few times about who we were and whether or not we plan to write about the food we're eating, and of course the only ethical answer is 'yes.' So we try to return to a restaurant without the camera to determine if we can spot a difference in service or food. We'll also chat with people sitting near us sometimes, just for a bit of reference, and on the rare occasions when a chef has sent us something unusual just to impress us, it becomes apparent pretty quickly.
NYCnosh hasn't favorited a post yet.