Why I Don’t Go Negative: Some Thoughts on Restaurant Reviews

Gentle Readers, lean in, it’s confessional time. Sometimes I go out to review a restaurant, take the requisite pictures, and then throw it all away. It’s true, there is food that I’ve eaten that you’ve not seen in photographic form.

The Remains of the Day: Dessert Graveyard

The Remains of the Day: Dessert Graveyard

Shocking as it may be, I decided early on that my taste was my own, and I would happily sing the praises of things I found to be wonderful, and occasionally curse a well-established flavor (eyes on you Nutella). No real damage done there. But unless I am actively abused or sickened by a place, I don’t mention it if I don’t love the food.

Chocolate hazelnut (blech) bacon sea salt dessert. The bacon made me do it.

Chocolate hazelnut (blech) bacon sea salt dessert. The bacon made me do it.

Would I be doing the world a favor by warning you off certain places? Perhaps, but you might truly like them and then that would be an opportunity missed. Every restaurant has bad days, and I’m not a paid critic with time to go back several times in disguise with large parties of varying palates.

Google's take on the best restaurants: Good research fodder!

Google’s take on the best restaurants: Good research fodder!

Three times in recent history I’ve run into this problem. Each time with Waldorf (coincidence?). Ironically, the only time we truly agree is when we both violently hate something. Which wouldn’t make for that interesting of a review, though one place had bread so bad even it was inedible.

La Farm Bread: I <3 You!

La Farm Bread: I ❤ You! (Highly edible bread!)

If you ask me privately about a particular place, I’ll be candid in my answer. If you see a restaurant listed in my reviews section, you can assume I’ve eaten there enough to want to go back. Why bother going negative, when there are so many place to be positive about? In my private life, I vote with my wallet.  I’ll let Yelp and UrbanSpoon cover the masses.

The Practical Cooks Junior at Work: Shake Shack Reviewing

The Practical Cooks Junior at Work: Shake Shack Reviewing

How do you feel about negative restaurant reviews? Have you ever posted one? Post your comment (negative or positive) below!

Kitchen confessions, questions, and spare coffees can be sent to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

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