This is a new blog area for me. I’m expanding on the reviews I do for Yelp. I don’t do a lot. I’m pretty choosy. Here, you will get some additional insight on my choices for good places to eat. I’m also going to tell you a bit about my philosophy on food reviews. I’ll comment a bit on some of the other factors I take into consideration, like service, ambiance, handicap accessibility, noise level, and even pet friendly service.
Obviously, food quality is of paramount importance. Fresh fruits, meats, and vegetables are the starting point of any good meal. Portion size is another factor. These form the basis for the food portion of any review.
However, I often see reviews in which the reviewer seems to have blundered into the wrong place. Looking for a quiet meal and elegant dining at a sports bar during the Super Bowl is ludicrous. In fact, expecting great service is pretty much out the window too.
When I review I try to see what the focus of the restaurant is. Are you trying to be an upscale restaurant, a country getaway, or a family friendly buffet? I do not expect to get coq au vin, from a pizza and burger joint. If the servers are coming to my car on roller skates, I’m not expecting the menu to have a big wine list.
My expectations are also set by what I want to eat. When hungry I look for places with large portions. If the waistline is pushing staunchly against the belt buckle, I seek out places with smaller portions and more interesting choices.
I try to give a more detailed view of my expectations in my review. So, if I tell you that the décor is fun and interesting, I’m also telling you that it’s not the place for a quiet, intimate, candlelight dinner. If I say I liked chatting with the servers, that means I talked to them and they were intelligent, bright, conversationalists. If I say the servers were efficient and the restaurant was intimate then I’m telling you that this is not a place for a sweats and sneakers.
I also have a personal policy of never giving a bad review. It’s not that I have never been to a bad restaurant or gotten a bad meal. I’ve had some that left me in an intimate relationship with the porcelain goddess for hours. You won’t hear about those places in my reviews.
Why? Because it serves no useful purpose. I’m happy to tell you where you should go to eat. I’m happy to tell you who has great service, wonderful food, and a great ambiance. I would rather direct you to those places than to denigrate a restaurant that may have gotten a shipment of bad meat, that fired the incompetent chef I reviewed two weeks earlier, or who axed the waitress who got my order wrong three times in a single meal. You don’t want to know all the bad places to eat – you want to know the good ones.
I also believe that price is important, but not critical, in choosing a restaurant. I have enough of the penny-pincher in me to want to get a good meal at a fair price. I don’t want a great meal at a great price. Why? Because I’ll love the food and they will either have to drop their quality or raise their price to stay in business. If they don’t. I’d be reviewing a business that would soon be hosting a “For Sale” sign.
That said, a good chef can turn ordinary ingredients into something extraordinary. Those are the places I love to find, and love to share. And, when backed by a great service staff, and a good atmosphere, those are the places I highly recommend.
I’ll have more to say on that later. But, I think it gives you an idea of where I’m at.