by The Great Foodini
So I recently received a bit of a critique of my own–Someone who did not agree with my assessment of a restaurant challenged my article.
I thought it would be pertinent to take a week to focus on why I do what I do and how I go about doing it.
First of all, The Gazebo Gazette runs my columns weekly. I typically have full creative control over my reviews of restaurants. I also have a food segment on Supertalk MS radio 103.1 and they also host a podcast.
Okay, here is the answer to the question of why I do this. Restaurants are amazing. Even mediocre restaurants offer an escape from the office or the kitchen. Great restaurants offer even more. It is a moment of slight decadence. Often it is a moment of feeling special. Sometimes it is a moment of celebration. But almost all the time. It is a moment worthy of helping you escape into a delicious meal, with excellent service where you are treated like you belong and you are wanted no matter what else is going on in your life. A great restaurant will treat you like their best friend.
I don’t write bad reviews. If I have a bad experience, I let the manager know and I also let them know that I will not be writing a review. My reasons are simple. 1.) I could have easily caught them on a bad night. Even in the best of places, it happens. 2.) I write my reviews to give my readers a place to escape on Friday nights or whenever it suits you. If I were to write a bad review. No matter how scathing and descriptive of where not to go, then I haven’t answered the question for my readers…Where to go for a good meal and a good time.
Now to answer the question of how I go about reviewing restaurants. It isn’t an exact science, but I have a system that seems to work every time.
The first thing I mentally rate is that I take into account of the greeting and seating. And how fast my order is taken. Was the service friendly and inviting or did the waiter look bored, stressed, irritated…etc.
The second thing is the ambiance. Most
importantly, does it look clean. Is it decorated nice. Are the tables situated in areas where natural light is occurring…etc.
The third thing is the food. This is just as important as the service. As a good friend of mine (Jerry Dodge) frequently says. I would rather have mediocre food with excellent service any day. When I am judging the food. I am simple looking at the portion for the price. The amount of attention that was put into the portion and how it is presented. Then the taste and texture is last…very important, but not most important.
The very last detail of a restaurant, which usually is a big thing for me. Do they use maple syrup or nasty high-fructose corn syrup? Same with their tea…and yes I can taste the difference. Is there butter or nasty vegetable spread on the table? If it is not butter, then I know that I am dealing with someone who doesn’t care about their restaurant beyond trying to make a buck off of me. Cutting corners always closes restaurants doors forever.