How many visits does it take to judge a restaurant?
When I’m reviewing a restaurant, I always make at least three visits before I come up with my final opinion. This is because I have found that the experience can vary wildly from week to week, or even from night to night.
This month I thought I had my runner-up for Restaurant of the Year all figured out. On a whim I went back this week for a final, 6th meal, before writing up the review. Unfortunately, even though I ordered some of the exact same dishes I’ve had before, the dinner was quite disappointing. I present to you the scores from each of my visits:
I have friends who say a restaurant is only as good as its worst meal, but when this restaurant is on, it is terrific. With the exception of service, my meals had been stellar over the past few months. The poor meal was completely unexpected, but virtually every dish had a major flaw – salad dressings way off balance, burnt, over-seasoned pork, cold entrees, sickeningly sweet dessert… if I had gone with people who hadn’t been there before, I would have been embarrassed for making the recommendation. I was angry because I know how good this restaurant can be. I can live with iffy service, especially when I warn readers in the review, but bad food cannot be overlooked.
I don’t like writing reviews full of disclaimers – “the salad is wonderful, except one time where it tasted like the top had fallen off of the vinegar bottle”. It’s ok to do that one time, but for ten items?
My experience reinforces the need for multiple meals before writing a review, but I still have to figure out how to score it.
My question: what would you do?
If nothing else your graph seems to illustrate the wildly varying opinions diners often have for the same restaurant. Perhaps your last visit the chef had the night off, or it was a busier night. Regardless of the reason(s), I think a better question for you to ask yourself is if your sixth visit had actually been your first would you (as a diner, not as a reviewer) return for a second visit?
Food Dude says
This is a large restaurant, and I don’t expect the pantry chef etc. would all have the same night off. Also, the owner was present.
As to your question, if the sixth visit was my first, I would not have returned.
I find it greatly amusing when people think the presence of a chef means they will have a better meal.
I might return, but not with guests. There have been a few instances when I have been in the same predicament; where I had brought guests to a restaurant that had been on my “must eat at” list, and when the meal (and/or service) disappoints? That’s a slight against both the host and the restaurant as a whole. It’s incredibly embarrassing to have this happen, and in my book, it’s pretty much non-negotiable. Like glainie says, if the bad meal had been your first or second, would you go back? I would save my money for some place more consistent.
Food Dude says
That’s what happened to me at Alba. Very embarrassing.
the 6th visit scores have to factor in. Otherwise, you’re manipulating the data by choosing only what you want to present. That’s why scientists repeat their experiments.
If it drags down the score, so be it.
If you wanted to be really scientific about it, you could report the mean and standard deviation of the scores (i.e. how likely is a person going to get a meal at that restaurant that reflects that average score). I don’t think it would mean much to the average reader, but still, it’s an option if you want to show the variability of a restaurant.
Food Dude says
I like doing the mean and deviation, but I think we’d leave a few people behind (and I’d have to hit the books myself). I do agree that all meals must be factored in.
I do believe that at least one criteria of many for the ranking of any restaurant should be consistency. I think you have to take all the evaluations into account without averaging out the reviews. Just like a guy can be wonderfully philanthropic, kind hearted but he’s also a child predator, you don’t average it out and say, “overall, he’s okay”. It’s the sum of the parts that makes up a restaurant including its consistency.
Yikes! Comparing a bad meal to a child predator? A little over-the-top, don’t you think?
Food Dude says
That one raised my eyebrow too! ;)
It’s called hyperbole, people… I doubt Charlie was seriously drawing a connection between a poorly executed meal and a chile predator. His point is more easily understood by gross exaggeration…at least for those of us with the tendency to exaggerate…
Methinks Charlie is a child predator with a heart of gold.
Glad I wasn’t the only one. Using hyperbole in that manner is like getting your hand stuck in a meat grinder and not being able to get it out and you have to slowly watch your arm descend deeper….deeper….into the grinder…..
Good Food For Me says
Well it is only my opinion – I’d say that they still deserve your recommendation. I’ve had this happen before and it is a drag. My policy when this happens is to talk to the manager or owner and just ask them if there is something different going on. I decided a long time ago that anyone (yeah the whole place) can have an off night. It’s unfortunate if you’ve recommended it and then that night is “the” one they all decided they hated their jobs or are in training mode! The other thing is that you are frequenting the restaurant many times so it goes without saying that you are bound to hit something at least once that does not meet the prior expectations. Just because the owner is there does not mean that everyone in the kitchen is necessarily the same and this is why I try to let them know what is wrong as nicely as possible. I would rather tell them and see if it is corrected then to write a horrific review and leave corpses in the wake.
If you’ve always liked the place I’d go back and if the experience is the same – then – o.k. maybe I would really think twice before giving them more business, but I would absolutely tell them what you think has changed. Too many times restaurants never get honest feedback and you simply can not fix something if you are unaware it is wrong.
I second your thoughts. I don’t feel like restaurants are ALWAYS delivering the same consistency, day after day. So many things can happen, whether the chef is here or not. That’s why it’s food. It’s alive. It’s not a shoe or a piece of rubber.
So many times in a kitchen the shit hit the fan. One is sick, the other in vacation, the chef is overwhelmed for a reason or another.
This is when the patron should feel responsible to say something. At least, it gives the chef / owner / manager a chance to do something to make up for it. No news are good news, right? I really deplore the lack of communications between a patron and restaurant folks. It should be known that (chef owned) restaurant are there to make people happy. If something goes wrong, it should be communicated so that the chef knows that the “new hire who worked at Per Se” actually sucks as he dumped to much vinegar in the 200 year old family recipe for mustard vinaigrette…
But let’s get back to your question: I would shoot an email to chef noting your desapointment and go back a few days later and see what happens. If you have 1 bad experience out of 7, then it sure was a bad night. If you have another bad experience, even after communicating your bad time, … ouch!
Let us know what you’ll do! I’m interested!
If I owned a restaurant and someone wrote me a thoughtful, specific, and informed critque on a dissapointing dish or meal, with no hint of nastiness, it would be my pleasure to invite them back for an evening on the house and then make sure they have a wonderful time and an exquisite meal. Most cooks have a natural generosity and need to nurture others. Give the restaurant a chance to respond brilliantly.
Good Food For Me makes a good point. When a place really does work in tandem (or in “fugue,” as per FD’s ROY choice), when one player is out of tune it can throw the whole team off. Who knows what happened at this place on your 6th visit. It would have been interesting to hear what the owner had to say about your bad experience that night.
My apologies for the garbled metaphors.
Food Dude says
One interesting note, is the owner, who is normally cooking, was not that night, but instead was in the dining room (keeping a subtle eye on things I think).
Ahhhh! Now the light dawns. When he is overrseeing the kitchen, things run smoothly.
Kim Price says
I would go one more time and maybe you could do a dual review like Ruth Reichl did when she had 2 very different experiences going as herself and then incognito. But, I as a reader would like ALL of the details, regardless of how long the review is. Also, I understand about the disclaimers, but it would be very hard to give a proper review in this instance without them. You might try one big disclaimer listing all of the problems you found on visit #6.
Whatever you decide, I am looking forward to your review.
Food Dude says
I always liked that dual review. I think I even did something similar here once (now I know I’ve been writing this blog too long – I can’t remember!)
I agree with you and Kim: write about the wondrous stuff, and mention there is such a thing as a bad night, a bad salad, and etc.
I might also go back one more time, only because your most recent was the worst. If it’s bad again, in the same ways, then you know you have a place that’s in a slump or going downhill, and that will factor in, big time, to whether you rank the place second. But one bad meal? I think I’d go back.
I would write the review and mention the one time it sucked. And include the ratings matrix table.
I don’t think you should include said restaurant for the service alone.
ps charlie is “not a bad guy”
Lur Kerr says
I agree with Marc completely. Bad service or mediocre service reflects on the ownership that either doesn’t know or doesn’t train proper service techniques. FOH should match the BOH to balance the ship. Otherwise, the experience can feel disjointed and off-kilter.
Food Dude says
Except I’m not talking about service. Those problems will be noted in the review. If I didn’t review any restaurants that had lousy service, I wouldn’t have many reviews on the site.
Lur Kerr says
Agreed FD, but we are talking about ROY runner up, as opposed to, your standard run-of-the-mill review!
Any restaurant can have an off night, and it’s hard to say what can cause an off-night. If it was only once in six, I would probably go back a few more times. A variety of factors can cause an off-night: employees out sick, etc.
I had an extremely lackluster meal at Paley’s a few weeks ago, but there’s no question that Paley’s is a great restaurant. Again, any place can have an off-night.
How far apart were the six visits? Were there any material changes in staffing or the menu? Did the last visit come at a time when the “arctic blast” blessed our city?
It seems to me that if you were considering this place as “runner up” ROY, your last experience was likely an aberration (apart, sadly, from the consistently poor service issues). I’m with the majority here, I think. Give it another shot, sooner than later and make the call as to whether you write it up as the “bridesmaid” to Ten 01, or simply a review.
Food Dude says
The most recent visit was last Saturday. It was a new menu from the previous visit, but not that different!
My ears perked up when I read a couple of comments asking for the dates of the reviews. The time gap between the 5th and 6th reviews does somehow seem significant. It is highly unusual for a top performing restaurant to completely blow the execution of three dishes. Who was manning the kitchen on that 6th visit?
I do think you now need to return for at least 2 more visits to ensure that this last unfortunate meal is indeed an anomoly. Otherwise, you could end up recommending a restaurant on a downward projectory. No one cares about how good the restaurant used to be.
Darn tough situation to be in.
Is projectory even a word? It’s kind of nice, but I think I meant trajectory. :-)
Food Dude says
If I have to go back two more time, I’m taking up a collection!
Unfortunately, I agree. And to answer your question, the meals took place over a period of three months, with the last two being two weeks apart. And actually, they blew the execution of 8 dishes.
LOL on your first sentence. It’s time for the quarterly fund drive! I really think the DONATE button should be more prominent and you should have levels of subcription. I saw a good example of this somewhere. I can try to dig it up if you are interested.
C’mon people, throw a few bucks into the coffers. We all benefit from this great site and FoodDudes well-informed reviews. I can’t find a forum like this in Seattle. This is unique and helps to make Portland the great food city that it is. Plus the entertainment value alone is worth some moola.
BLEW EIGHT DISHES! HOLY COW!
Food Dude says
Thanks, but all donations this month will go to Oregon Food Bank.
Have you been snacking on miracle fruit again Dude? If you went back this week it’s now 2009, has been for a while. You’re doing runner up 2008 and it looks like you’ve got a clear second on your hands here. 15/15 perfect scores is pretty sound so call it like it was.
Maybe the entire kitchen was overmedicated and their taste buds were shot, maybe someone that ought to know better never made it round the kitchen with a tasting spoon that day for whatever reason. Did you send any of it back for fixin? I’m thinking not.
Food Dude says
I never return food unless it’s the wrong order. Actually… they brought me an entirely different entree than I ordered, but I just kept my mouth shut and ate it, as it looked pretty darn good. Unfortunately it was cold. Anyway, I never do anything to be remembered.
I just read (again) your ROY note and something piqued my interest based on the comment you just (supra) made that you “never do anything to be remembered.” Why then would you ask the somm an “insane question?”
You last visited Ten 01 for the review on 1/22/09 and spent about $650 for the review, but you did not mention how many visits in 2008 were made. Don’t get me wrong – I agreed with your “choice,” am a huge fan of Erica, and love the reference (infra) to “a mulligan” regardless as to whether we’re talking about golf, food or ???
By the way, I’m in for contributing to a “collection” if you’re serious.
Food Dude says
hmm… well, I’d rather not go into detail, or she might figure me out. Let’s just say I’ve asked very specific questions that I never thought they’d know the answer to. I was just using it as a figure of speech.
I made eight visits to Ten 01: 2 happy hour, 1 bar, 1 lunch, 4 dinner. Do you think I should add that information to reviews?
you should always return an order if it is not yours…it could be the table next to yours…now the kitchen will have two mistakes to deal with. As far as returning food, I have a hard time as well. Having said that, I had a risotto at Roux, which came to the table obviously over cooked. You could see the starch, like sticky rice. I asked the waiter to take it to the cook and ask, if that was the way they thought it should be cooked, if so, then I will be happy to pay for it. It did not come back.
Food Dude says
Lots of new commenters this week, which is really nice. I don’t know where you all are coming from, but welcome!
Scott Patton says
I’d like to say that after working in the restaurant business for long enough, there are certainly nights where things just don’t go according to plan. Now I realize that we’re talking about getting a runner up distinction here, but I’d say that their greater body of work should dictate their score. I’ll never forget the night, as a restaurant manager, that a line cook had called in sick and our chef had to leave unexpectedly to go care for a sick child. I did my best, and love food, but I can only imagine that there were one or two tables who got a new version of one of our classic dishes. Give them a mulligan!
If it was one in the middle I’d chalk it up to a “bad night” or purveyor problems, or the phase of the moon, whatever. But this was the most recent visit and given the economy it’s entirely possible they are cutting corners – and that’s not a good sign. I don’t think you can give it a pass, you can either go back and see if they are back to firing on all cylinders or just write up the whole thing something like” “2008 was great, 2009 might be less promising “.
Food Dude says
This wasn’t the quality of the ingredients, but rather the technique.
I absolutely agree that consistency is a critical part of the evaluation of a restaurant. The issue is made more difficult by the way restaurants can change (witness Ten01, which I agree is the best in town at present).
I am beginning to understand why you offer the most reliable reviews in town. Perhaps you could initiate a secret ballot among foodie friends to broaden your information base.
Food Dude says
“Perhaps you could initiate a secret ballot among foodie friends to broaden your information base.”
I would suggest one more visit, to determine whether this is an ongoing problem or simply a very unusual “off” night. If you have another bad experience, then it’s probably worth rethinking your choice. If not, then I’d simply report on both the positive visits you’ve had as well as a “minority report” that represents the one bad experience as a bit of a caveat. I wouldn’t ignore it, or gloss over it, because it’s material to the overall review. However, if your overall experience over 6+ visits was positive and after your next visit you feel that they have their mojo back, it probably shouldn’t deter you.
Yes, I was clearly suffering from hyperbole. My point being that you have to take all the reviews into account. Are the good reviews just days that the restaurant over reached? Or was the bad night merely the exception to the rule? Which visit is more representative of the quality of the restaurant? I frequent plenty of places that sometimes have vapor lock but I still frequent them. Different story if your considering a place for runner up restaurant of the year. Anyway just my opinion, I could be wrong.
Good Food For Me says
Interesting comments coming in – you mentioned that the chef/owner usually cooks and was not that night. I’d say that explains it. I’ve had that happen before now that you mention it and in fact when we go out for dinner that I’ve recommended I’ve even gone so far as to ask who is cooking tonight before taking a table or making the reservation. Definitely go back and then have someone else take your message to the owner/chef that he needs to “taste” if he is not cooking. Maybe he needed a night off or something. I’ve another question for you dude – did anyone read the New York Times about the High Brow restaurants coming to terms with the fact that they need to be nice to customers? Quite a revealing article…. we definitely have some in the area that could take a page out of that paper!
Seems to me this situation isn’t much different from the little down arrows you sometimes add to reviews that have already been done. Since it was the most recent visit that was bad, only repeat trips are going to give you more information about whether something has changed for the worse or it was an aberration. Either post the review now with the necessary disclaimers (we’re all curious!) and let your readers help do follow-up visits to figure it out, or wait and go back at least once before posting. I vote for the former.
I’d like to know how the service went from 1.5 to 4… how does an establishment allow for such a swing? Or better yet, what in your experience made for such? I look froward to detail in the review.
The one day you go for lunch you get 4 in service, so they have their A team working lunch and their B team on dinner? Dinner averages about 2 in service? Lame. Service should be the easiest to get right, especially given where the bar is set in Portland.
Food Dude says
Lunch service is much better, but that may have been because the crowd was much smaller. On the other hand, the server gave off a much more professional vibe.
So many people are suggesting you go back one to two more times. I don’t get it. How can six visits not be enough to truly rate a restaurant? My biggest issue with Portland restaurants is consistency, and I don’t think a place that garners such low scores as the last visit deserves to be runner up. That is, unless all the other restaurants in the running totally sucked, which I know they don’t.
I really don’t see how you can still be wanting to call this restaurant the runner up when you have qualms about it. Aren’t there places that are more deserving?
Food Dude says
So here is what I’m going to do:
I’m calling up the Food Dude volunteer army over on Facebook. I’ll pick 4-5 folks that are interested in going (unfortunately at their own expense). I will also return for another visit. We’ll see what happens.
Kim Price says
I’d like to volunteer for that volunteer army. Not necessarily to eat this time around (I was recently laid off), but maybe in the future. I would like to be part of the Facebook group though, just to be in the loop.
I don’t think you, or those that read your blog, want “4-5 folks” (even if they’re part of some Army) going to this unnamed place AND have you go back again. Unless, you want the “review” to be something other than you originally had in mind. Really – if it’s “your” review and “your” runner-up ROY, then you should decide if you go back, whether you write anything up at all, or just dump the whole thing altogether.
As for a post below, I don’t necessarily agree that you should let the cat out of the bag. Most of us, I’m sure, have it narrowed down to about three places at this point anyway.
Last comment – be true to yourself and this site.
Well, given that it seemed to be so consistent before, I say give it one more go.
Who knows what happened – Maybe the cooler went out that morning, maybe multiple people called in sick to work, maybe the entore line was hungover from a fellow cooks going away the night before. I don’t care HOW great a restaurant is, sometimes crap just happens.
But go back a final time. If it’s just like it used to be, then great! But if it’s more like your last visit…….forget about it, and move on to your #3 pick.
Cuisine Bonne Femme says
This is really turning into one of the more interesting conversations I’ve read in a while. It brings up a whole bunch of issues that illustrate how tricky restaurant reviews are to do fairly, ethically and accurately. Honestly, out of all the writing I’ve ever done, restaurant reviews are probably one of the most difficult kinds of writing to do well.
And of course as someone who does reviews here and elsewhere, I have to weigh in with my two cents.
As a reviewer I’d be in a conundrum too. Keep in mind, the policy for reviews on this site (and generally professional reviewing standards) is to go to a place 3x. No less and only more if the reviewer deems it necessary for some reason or another (such as a weird experience or off night). Generally, the thinking goes, this is a fair snapshot of a place. However, if 1 of those 3 visits is bad, then that will absolutely be figured into the overall review. However, 6 visits is really going above and beyond, and if all of those visits except one were terrific, then I’m not sure how I would handle it. I’d probably go back at least one more time, maybe twice to make sure it wasn’t just some freak event. If it was, then I would still reduce my review somewhat, and note the one odd visit as a disclaimer for readers, saying something like, “I’ve had wonderful food and service here on all my 7 visits except one. However this one night was so horrible that I do have to note it for my readers. I’m not certain if it was a freak off night, there was a major disruption or emergency in the kitchen, or if this sort of thing happens there on occasion, but I’ll let you all judge for yourselves. Still overall, based on my good visits this has been an almost 100% fantastic place to dine. I’m willing to overlook the one bad visit within reason, blah blah blah…”
Still, I would also ask myself what is both fair to the restaurant and equally, fair to the dining public. Personally, if I read a glowing review of a place, got all excited then went out to dinner and it sucked as bad as FD’s last visit, I’d be pissed. I’d be particularly angry at the reviewer and really question their credibility. I would also be ticked that I wasted my time and money. On the flipside, I can truly empathize when a restaurant has a bad night. So many variables go into making something good or bad, but the way FD describes his last meal there, I just have to wonder what the heck was going on in the kitchen for them to have botched it so badly.
However, one thing I would never ever do (nor do I think other reviewers would either), is to talk with the owner or manager before the review comes out to ask them what has been going on. That’s just not done with reviews. Although, now I’m really curious as to what happened.
Still, I do think FD should go back at least once more. I offer to put some money in the coffer to help pay for it.
You’re wasting time and money going back. You’re searching for certainty where there isn’t any. It’s not a movie you’re reviewing, it’s a meal. Things are in a constant flux. If a restaurant is only as good as its worst meal, then all restaurants are bad because all restaurants screw up. All of them.
You can’t assure your readers that they’ll have the same experience as you. That’s why subjective reviewing is useless. Terms like “good”, “delicious”, “gross”, etc, have their place, but they shouldn’t be the foundation of a review. The review should be based on objective and inter-subjective language, such as describing textures, flavors, and appearance, along with concrete examples of why service was good or bad, always referring, either explicitly or implicitly, back to standards and traditions of good food and service. That way, the reader can know what to expect and can make allowances for their palate and desires vs yours and also make a reasonable conclusion as to whether their experience matched yours or not.
You want to believe that there’s a trend or progression in how a restaurant functions — that it goes from good to bad or bad to good or stays about the same on an even line. Sometimes that’s true, more or less. Change in chef. Change in staff. Whatever. But by and large, each day is a new day and each ticket is a new ticket, and each dish is a new dish. That’s the problem with your little arrows. They assume that a place actually goes in a direction, as opposed to it just being your last experience. Podnah’s could have been making the best brisket in its history, but you got the one plate that shouldn’t have gone out, and suddenly it gets a down arrow. Or maybe the smoker was running cold that day. Who knows.
While you’re contemplating returning for your 7th and 8th trips, you could be discovering that some place you went to once and had a bad meal has been kicking ass in general or that some place you really love is also going to put out a bad meal now and then.
It seems like an especially bad meal, but I can’t think of any restaurant in town that I’ve been to more than three times that hasn’t really blown it here and there.
Make allowances, don’t give the pretense that you’re omniscient, be fair, be honest, be concrete, and move on. It’s a blog. People have the chance to say how their experiences have differed and you have the chance to update and explain. If the readers are too naive to understand the limits of restaurant reviewing, screw ’em. As long as you recognize them.
I agree with everything you say here. EXCEPT this is for Restaurant of the Year Runner up, rather than just a typical review. That 6th meal was so mishandled that it calls into question the entire operation. This is a tough situation.
This is well said.
You must have an alternate runner-up? Is it close?
This is really dramatic.
Since such a long shadow has been cast over this restaurant I think it’s fair to add at least one other to the Silver. Or add a Bronze.
Food Dude says
Yes, I have an alternate.
FD – at this point I think it is only fair for you tell inform readers exactly which restaurant you’re talking about – readers should know and then make up their own minds to try it, avoid it, or post their own experiences. Out with it Dude.
This thread reminds me of another older thread on this site where you led into your review with a pre-review disclaimer of sorts. I can’t remember the restaurant, I just recall the whole thing coming across as entertaining, but ultimately hyperbolic. The end result then, as now, feels similar to being on a jury pool exposed to a media blitz moments before deliberating a case. At this point, whatever restaurant you name, and whatever qualifiers you attach, the primary element I’ll retain is that you had a bad dining experience there; and this, mind you, before even reading your review.
FWIW, my wife went there recently w/ 3 friends, and they also *all* had bad meals. She reported that the appetizer (sashimi?) was fabulous but all 4 main courses were bad enough that nobody finished them.
So I guess I approach this problem from a slightly different angle. Is the purpose of the “runner up” award to look forward or back? If you think of the award as a retrospective, then sure, give it to them for last year’s performance. But if you think about it as a proxy recommendation for future meals, then go with the alternate. Given that Jack Yoss is leaving, and whoever is taking over in the kitchen is lacking his quality and consistency, it seems like the odds are dropping that people’s *next* meals there will be great.
Went WHERE recently? Ten01 or the mystery restaurant?
Ten01. How would we know if we went to an unnamed restaurant?
Well, I’m pretty sure my comment is not going to be popular here, but I’ll throw it out here anyway just for the sake of being the devil’s advocate…
Reading this whole trail proves to me that reviews don’t work. I find that my most trusted critic is myself when it comes to judging a restaurant (or a movie). I went recently to a place that has pretty good reviews, only to find that my meal was just OK. I don’t think it was a bad night as there were only 2 tables (mine and another one) and the owner was cooking and actually knew me! It’s not that the food was bad, but I found it poorly executed from the core and the concept just not interesting. Now, that’s just my opinion. But Joe Blow might LOVE that place… Does this make the place bad. No. Does it make it good? No. I just didn’t care for it.
What about if Food Dude would have had 5 bad experiences and 1 great one? What do that say? Should he go back to look for another great experience?
Should a reviewer trust himself only or others as well? Would those others have the same taste as he does? If you hit a place 3 times and those 3 times are stellar and you miss that “off” night? Should you keep going back to a place until you have a different experience? What about if FD didn’t go back that last (bad) time?
I’m not trying to create a stir here, just food for thought… Want to see what you guys look for in a review.
Maybe it’s not the reviews but how you read them. You shouldn’t read a review and think of it as a thumb up or thumb down. It’s really about the descriptions of the food, etc, and whether those things that are described meet your desires in a restaurant. You may like thin crust pizza and hate thick crust pizza. The reviewer may give the place 5 stars, yet they make thick crust pizza. That’s a simplistic explanation of the process, but the point is that it’s not a matter of you liking the same things as the reviewer, it’s a matter of you being able to decide from the review whether you would like the place or not. That should be the primary function of a well-written review (and well-read review).
Kim Price says
I think what I (and many others) said about making one more visit was misconstrued. One more visit will not change anything about the previous visits, but as reviews are for people who will be dining in the future, I think it is important for Food Dude to ascertain whether visit #6 was just a bad night, or if it was his first visit to a restaurant on the way down hill.
I think you should just roll with it, Dude. And rewrite the review with the caveat – or not, as this has turned into about as big of a deal as one ‘off’ meal could be. All those ‘4’s for the food are too much to ignore; the low service numbers can easily be changed (this is not an invite for a BOH/FOH peeing match). Food of that caliber stands out. And I’d like to know who it is. If your third alternate remains solid, maybe they’ll be the best next year.
Consistency is key, yes, but I think a place can still be consistently good if they have an off-night once in a very long while. (Who knows what the extenuating circumstances might have been?) Give them another chance.
How about if you just make a decision already? This navel-gazing is getting a bit out of hand.
Food Dude says
Oh, I did a long time ago. People are just continuing to comment. I suppose I should make a new post about something ;)
I always try to talk to them. Ask the waiters if there was a change in the restaurant new chefs and stuff, why did they make the change and if I see that they are covering or something like that I don’t go there any more.