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Toronto Life - Mega-downgrade of restaurants!

Charles Yu Apr 12, 2007 08:26 PM

Reading the latest copy of Toronto Life, I noticed quite a few downgrades of some pretty well known restaurants. Some of these downgrades were simply 'BRUTAL'!! A few stand out include:
- Hiro Sushi from 31/2 to 1 star!!
- Omi from 31/2 to 3 now to only 1!!
- Il Mulnino from 31/2 to 2 stars
- Bymark from 31/2 to 21/2
Chiado and Sushi Kaji, both long time 4 stars are now only 31/2.
Most interesting! These should provide some pretty interesting conversation during tomorrow's Chowhound Meet at Phil's!

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  1. OnDaGo RE: Charles Yu Apr 12, 2007 08:30 PM

    But if you read the beginning of the magazine they explain (and use Bymark as a sample) that they just changed thier system and the new 2.5 stars for Bymark is the same as the old 3.5 star rating.. and that they will be re-reviewing 35 restaurants a week till they do their next restaurant guide...

    1 Reply
    1. re: OnDaGo
      Charles Yu RE: OnDaGo Apr 12, 2007 08:42 PM

      Ooops! Didn't read the beginning! Thanks for pointing it out.

    2. b
      bennymoto RE: Charles Yu Apr 12, 2007 08:34 PM

      Check out the editor's page. They've decided to "upgrade" their rating system.

      * one fair
      * two good
      * three very good
      * four excellent
      * five exceptional

      * one: good
      * two very good
      * three excellend
      * four extraordinary
      * five perfect

      7 Replies
      1. re: bennymoto
        Vinnie Vidimangi RE: bennymoto Apr 12, 2007 10:01 PM

        The rating system looks like it was devised by a committee from a Faculty of Education.

        1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi
          pimentdespelette RE: Vinnie Vidimangi Apr 13, 2007 05:15 AM

          Looks to me like a pretty good faculty of education at least.
          From their website:

          Our Restaurant Star Rating System

          Reviews are conducted anonymously whenever possible; restaurant bills are paid by Toronto Life. Reviews have absolutely no connection to advertising. Stars are awarded for food and wine quality and presentation, service, atmosphere, ambition and originality.

          NOTE: If a restaurant does not have a star rating, it is pending re-review under our new rating system.
          star GOOD

          * The food should be consistently good at a one-star restaurant.
          * Ingredients that should be fresh—produce, meat, fish—must be unquestionably fresh. The food should be cooked properly.
          * The service is, at minimum, efficient.
          * There should be something special about the place—location, decor, service, the style or originality of the cooking, the scarcity of similar restaurants, or the prices.
          * Restaurants that meet most or all of these criteria, and where diners can eat well for $30 before tax, liquor and tip, will be eligible for our $30 Gourmet designation.

          starstar VERY GOOD

          * A two-star restaurant shows flashes of excellence. The kitchen demonstrates some ambition. It’s striving to be better than its peers and in many ways succeeding. It uses novel, time- consuming (but worthwhile) or uncommon techniques and ingredients.
          * Dishes are nicely plated, flavours work well, and if the kitchen has cut any corners, diners can’t notice it.
          * Service is knowledgeable, friendly and efficient. Decor should be pleasing.

          starstarstar EXCELLENT

          * A three-star restaurant is a rare thing, and it is clearly better than its peers. The food does something extra. Flavours and ingredients complement and build on each other, and at least some of them come as happy surprises. Desserts are house-made.
          * Service meets every expectation. It is never snobbish. If there are any problems or shortcomings (and at a three-star place there probably aren’t), they are corrected quickly and professionally.
          * Decor, setting and mood aren’t accidents here; they’ve been carefully thought out, designed and executed.

          starstarstarstar EXTRAORDINARY

          * A four-star restaurant presents one of the most exquisite food experiences a diner can have. Here, diners eat with their eyes first—the food is almost as exciting to look at as it is to eat.
          * With very few exceptions, a four-star kitchen doesn’t follow everyday recipes or faithfully render classics; it breaks new ground, innovating, inventing, extracting and pairing ingredients and flavours, colours and textures in novel ways that not only work, but wow and inspire. In addition to presenting luxury ingredients in interesting ways, a four-star kitchen transforms everyday ingredients into extraordinary tastes and textures.
          * Service is impeccable; floor staff anticipate every desire, but they don’t hover and they’re never intrusive. They answer questions knowledgeably, make excellent recommendations and enhance the dining experience.
          * The atmosphere—decor, sound level, lighting, table settings—should leave nothing to be desired. Decor is anything but generic; it’s inspired.

          starstarstarstarstar PERFECT

          * A five-star restaurant consistently presents a flawless, utterly original and unparalleled dining experience.

          Unless otherwise stated, a restaurant is licensed. recommendations allow one person to dine well for $30 or less, including tax and tip; they are not star rated.

        2. re: bennymoto
          pescatarian RE: bennymoto Apr 13, 2007 05:16 AM

          if One = Good, what's the rating if it's not good?

          1. re: pescatarian
            julesrules RE: pescatarian Apr 13, 2007 07:54 AM

            Maybe they will only publish reviews of places they like? I don't mind that approach myself - just ignore the boring & substandard, save space for the finds. But, it doesn't let them review much-hyped places that aren't that great.

            1. re: julesrules
              pescatarian RE: julesrules Apr 13, 2007 08:22 AM

              True, but I guess using that logic we could assume tht if they are not reviewed, they are not worth the hype?

              1. re: pescatarian
                Jacquilynne RE: pescatarian Apr 13, 2007 02:41 PM

                Possibly no-star reviews will exist for all those places that aren't worth bothering with?

                1. re: Jacquilynne
                  hungry_pangolin RE: Jacquilynne Apr 14, 2007 01:19 PM

                  Previous editorial policy was to publish only good reviews. If the resto was bad, there would be no review. If the review for a previously published resto was bad, the listing was dropped. I believe that that aspect of the policy has not changed.

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