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Is it normal you have different opinion on the restaurant which is highly (not) recommended by the board?

  • p

I like to read review but never write one. The reason behind is either nothing to write home about or it already been mention by our broad member. In fact, I don't like to write a negative review, no high-end restaurant as wells (since it supposed to be good, of course not always the case) .

One thing I found very interested me is I hold different opinion on so many restaurants suggested by members. I am wondering if this just happen to me or it happens to everyone. Some cases can be extreme. For example, I have tried a new suppose-to-be-high-end Chinese restaurant, I found their Dim Sum is very medicore. Some dim sum should be small but they serve them big, some should be big but they do it small, you can forget about the taste.

Just want to check if there is other member want to share his/her similiar experience.

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  1. It is all personal taste and opinion.. and in many ways in this business what mom fed you..

    I have had dim sum maybe 3 times in my life so I may go to a place and LOVE it for the unique glavours and tastes yet someone who eats it since they were an infant would think that it is bad and not tradionally made..

    Thankfull I am dutch so there is not much food that I grew up with that people serve in restaurants that is capable of being screwed up!

    I like it when people say "I am cantonese and restaurant xyz serves very tradional and tasty cantonese food" I hate when people say "I hate when they make fancy poutine because it is not traditional" well I bet there was a first guy who threw curds on a plate of gravey fries and all his friends thought he was nuts.. but now it is a tradition.

    Food is meant to be exprimented with. Hopefully the results taste good..

    My all time fav expriment was "Munster cheese creme brule" - But half who tried it spit it out the other hald wanted more... personal taste..

    1. If your opinion is different, go ahead and post it! I have no problems saying something negative about a restaurant that is highly reviewed. I recently got called an idiot on a local board for saying I did not enjoy the food at one revered Chinese restaurant in the area, but I think every review is equally valid if you have some specific reasons why you didn't like the restaurant.

      5 Replies
      1. re: queencru

        Wow did they really call you an idiot queencru? It makes me unhappy when people can't be civil. I know it's easy to get passionate about food but still. I started a thread awhile back about Trader Joe's culture and it is just now turning a bit ugly. Even a frequent poster I respect and like scolded me for carping. What really bugs me is that kind words seem to get removed more often than attacks. Great idea for a thread par72. I'm usually the one praising a restaurant and having people disagree with me. Differing opinions keep things interesting here on chowhound but sometimes I'm surprised at what people find fault with. I sometimes write about my favorite diner and a poster I enjoy reading criticized the place partly because there was a display of hummel figurines. I think part of the reason people often disagree with me is that I like to be grateful for normal everyday pleasures, so I write often about places that aren't desination restaurants but just little hidden treasures for people living locally or passing through to try.

        1. re: givemecarbs

          We have two restaurants in my hometown about 1-2 blocks apart that people are pretty passionate about. One person commented that he found one to be disappointing and I said I agreed and recommended the nearby restaurant as something I liked better. Someone actually got so riled up that he scheduled a showdown between the two restaurants in response. I think he had some requirement that the only people who could come had to be "long-time" posters. I've been posting on here for two years, so it's not like I was just some random person coming onto the board to slam one restaurant and leave.

          I do get annoyed when people move into a smaller city from a large metropolis and then proclaim that every restaurant in the smaller city is terrible.

          1. re: queencru

            Oh my gosh your hometown sounds interesting to say the least queencru! I've always enjoyed your posts. It doesn't sound like those people who have moved are doing much to make themselves happy in their new locale.

          2. re: givemecarbs

            There is a weird "bent," if you will, towards the negative when reviewing restaurants. As if to establish one's bona fides as a critic. I am afraid I have been guilty of it myself at times.

            I have also perceived a real lack of sense of humor lately. Some fellow 'hounds have reacted with a level of defensiveness bordering on downright venom to what were clearly tongue-in-cheek insults. I vascillate between thinking that those individuals are just ridiculously uptight or that they simply don't bother to understand what they read.

            1. re: MGZ

              Heh, so true MGZ. I admit to using the negative technique to score a better grade on my term papers. It is so easy (and sometimes fun) to rip something to shreds whether it is a theory or a restaurant. We are being bombarded with so much information these days that I think people can't always be bothered to read thoroughly. I can be a little defensive about my beloved little diner. I think of it as the old folks' diner. The management and staff are so helpful and kind to their many elderly customers that sometimes the place just seems to glow with happiness. But people don't really want to read about that so I try to keep a lid on it. I don't get it about the many humor-ectemies that have been performed lately. Life can get pretty grim without our help.

        2. Your opinion is valued, especially if it is counter to the collective wisdom. It also sounds like you have some specific expertise to share (e.g. re: Dim Sum).

          1 Reply
          1. re: HDinCentralME

            You right on. I worked at executive level in a well-known land developer in HK. I need to travel a lot, mostly Asia. We were regular for those high-end restaurants. Finding a good value restaurant (quality AHAP with ALAP in price) was the pride in our colleaques. During my semi-retirement, I invest into serval restaurant/food(Chinese, Vietnam, Thai, Shanghai, Hong Kong Westernize, frozen food) business with a few buddies. I gained a lot of knowledge in food industry from them. I sold everything before I retire in Toronto.

            I did open a Chinese restaurant before and the kitchen usually run by two different team, dim sum and banquet. Regarding dim sum, some of them are showcase the skill of the chef such as shrimp dumpling. The labour cost of some dim sum is much high than food cost. Sometimes when you look at the presentation of dim sum, you know how much effort the chef to put it out. Taste only rank second in my book.

            In general, I appreciate those restaurant run by a owner/chef with heart.

          2. With regards to Chinese Food, I do not mind a difference of opinion, but I am often amused by others who think a place is good only if they like it and the place is terrible if they do not....also, their tastes are of course, better than yours and everyone elses too.

            There's a saying in the restaurant business about someone who does not care for a place or suggests the place is in fact no good at all, while contrary to their opinion, the restaurant in question by all others is perceived as great and very successful....the saying is.....two thousand people are wrong, but you think you are correct.

            1 Reply
            1. re: fourunder

              Or people who know little or nothing about a particular type of food - Chinese being the example here. Those who lump everything into "Chinese and Sichuan" never realizing that there are so many other regions. And THEN don't admit they don't know.

              Please share your valued opinions. Thanks for asking this question.

            2. A major strength of chowhound is the diversity of opinions. That can be due to different tastes, variation in the quality of the same dishes from day to day or variation in the quality from dish to dish.

              In particular it's important to post contrary opinions, because it's the antidote to lemming-like group think. There are no sacred cows.

              5 Replies
              1. re: limster

                What limster said :-). If I don't love a place that others are keen on and I've only been there once, I'll still post but make sure I specify that was my experience on that day. If it's a place I've tried several times and don't love, I will specify that as well. I try to avoid using "best" and "hate" and "worst" because it is all so subjective. I think there are ways you can get your point across without deeply offending the fans, while still adding to the Chow database.

                1. re: grayelf

                  It can be intimidating to post a negative opinion about a local restaurant that the more popular chowhounders recommend all the time to out of towners. I let people do the negative critique in their trip reports, that does seem to carry more clout.

                  I did read for hours on the Texas board when I first moved to Dallas; over time, I was able to discern the opposing opinions on certain popular places and make my decisions and take my chances. Being of a highly sceptical nature, I won't try a place based on one person's high praise, that's too risky imo.

                  1. re: superbossmom

                    Good point, sbm, and conversely I won't necessarily 86 a place because of one negative comment.

                    1. re: grayelf

                      I've also found that there are those people for whom the glass is half empty and rarely love anything. Over time I've identified some of them and simply ignore their opinions.

                    2. re: superbossmom

                      It can be intimidating, but it's always worthwhile to post, and you might find more people agreeing with you than expected. In some of the "contrarian views" thread on the Boston board, the number of people with "contrary" views on a given place appeared to be as many or more than those that held the "general" opinion.

                2. i'm often more interested in a negative review of something, as long as there are specifics than a positive one - we learn more from failure than success.

                  reviews are opinions. opinions vary. i had a button made once (and need to make a new one) that read "seems to me"

                  when asked i told people that i was automatically placing that in front of everything they said, and hoped they were doing the same to everything i utter

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: thew

                    LOL -- I think you could sell more than a few of those buttons, thew. I actually go a bit further and refer to my posts as "reports" because the word review carries (it seems to me) the weight of possibly repeat visits and I'm often reporting on a single trip to a resto or food emporium.

                    1. re: thew

                      I'm afraid I see it inherently differently. I would never think that anyone could accept my comments as Gospel Truth. I certainly don't treat their posts that way. No explaination necessary.

                      Which reminds me - I hate when "IMO," or worse, "IMHO" is employed! No sh*t it's your opinion . . . Are you really self-important enough to think that I would mistake it for something else? (I much prefer the "seems to me" colloquialism.)

                      On the broader point - post your thoughts and try to use specifics. Avoid ultimates like "the best" but feel free to detail what you liked, i.e., "juicy," "tender," "well-balanced," etc.

                      1. re: MGZ

                        I agree with you about the IMO bit - however I always feel the need to add it, because on more than one occassion - certain folks will feel the need to immediately jump down my throat if they disagree.

                        There have also been a few comments made by certain folks regarding reviews -who have actually said "I am more likely to trust the opinion of an educated person over someone who's ability to write is less than perfect"
                        Which is complete hogwash!
                        Just because someone is educated and maybe has more money to frequent "better" establishments - it certainly doesnt mean thier palate is more acute than someone elses!

                        1. re: NellyNel

                          NN, you are so right. I have seen people cyberspatially eviscerated for expressing a contrary point of view -- yikes. And agreed about the "ability to write does not equal great palate" comment too. I happen to have a couple of degrees in English and mostly manage to string together decent sentences but that DOES NOT mean my opinion is worth more than someone else's.

                          1. re: grayelf

                            Thanks grayelf-
                            I'm the opposite - I may not be able to write very well, but when it comes to food - I have to say - I know my stuff!!

                    2. Yes it's normal to have a different opinion. That's what makes this board great to read. Individual thought.

                      1. P

                        Learn slowly to write the reviews. People really appreciate the insight and eventually it will really help you understand the food. There is nothing more helpful than thinking what you might write as you eat. It almost makes you hyper-focus on all the flavors.

                        1. Normal?

                          There is no such thing. There are opinions, point of view and interpretations. Sometimes other people have similar opinions, points of view and interpretations and sometimes they don't.

                          No one is more accurate or valued or the TRUTH than another. It's just how it occurs to you or how it occurs to someone else. If you like it, you like it. If you don't, you don't. Be proud.

                          1. And it might just happen in the end that someone else on the board have a similar opinion of that restaurant, and didnt post it up until the moment you took the plunge and decided to voice your opinion.

                            In the end it's a matter of opinions, and don't be afraid to voice your opinion even if it's contrarian

                            1. I think it's okay to post contrary opinions as long as you state the reasons why and you're polite about it.

                              TBH: I rarely take CH's advice anymore. I have different tastebuds than most of the popular posters. But I still love reading their reviews. If anything, it piques my interest about a certain region or food that I haven't known before.

                              1. I posted a negative report about a single visit to a restaurant (when I was travelling) where 3 consecutive dishes were far too salty to be eaten, and I considerd it one of the worst in the area because of that. What I did not realize was that it was a sacred cow on that board. I got attacked, with some people accusing me of being a shill because of my moniker (I am not a chef, just a good cook). The CH Team cleaned out the thread, unfortunately also deleting all of the posts supporting me.

                                I have had differences of opinion on a few much-loved restaurants on my "home" board, but fortunately the Chowhounders there are a more mature bunch who take it in stride, which is as it should be.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: souschef

                                  Yup, beware these sacred cows. You may get jumped on. But I really like reading dissenting opinions.

                                  1. re: janethepain

                                    It is very funny to me just how defensive some 'hounds get when it comes to criticism of their favorite places. As if every plate that ever came out of the kitchen there is perfect. Dissent and be prepared to justify your reasons with detail!

                                2. It takes all sorts to make up the world and that same saying applies to the CH world. If you like it or if you don't like it, you're entitled to your opinion but please try and be specific about what it is that you liked/disliked. It helps to inform the community around you.
                                  I know I lurk alot on boards to places I'm visiting and it really helps to read the various opinions on a place. Gives it a more balanced perspective and like limster says, avoids the lemming like behaviour that seems to be spreading in today's society.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: bdachow

                                    "Gives it a more balanced perspective and... avoids the lemming like behaviour that seems to be spreading in today's society."

                                    as opposed to when and where?

                                  2. It seems you have some special experience and knowledge that others may not. If you have special knowledge of Chinese food, and know what you are talking about, then don't worry.
                                    Often people are misguided or ignorant, but sincere in their opinions. Perhaps they had one dim sum meal which they liked and it tasted good to them and suited their palate. They think, "This is good dim sum." Then, whatever follows is less appealing to them, even if it is authentic.

                                    As I eat "Mexican" food in Connecticut and New England I feel I am unfairly criticized when I even remotely denigrate some food as inauthentic. Even criticized by people who have not set foot in the restaurant! If people like it, it's fine with me. Some of it is tasty, enjoyable and very edible, but is a disservice to its heritage to call it something it is not or perpetuate the deception. I am a native Texan, with fifty years of eating Tex-Mex, being around hispanic people and cooking with them. I feel I have expertise regarding Mexican food and Tex-Mex. I've also eaten a lot of New-Mex. What is wrong in saying what I think, even though I am in Connecticut?
                                    I'm not saying don't eat there, or it's all crap when I point out inauthenticity.

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: Scargod

                                      I don't think authenticity is the exclusive gateway to deliciousness, though. Deliciousness comes in many different flavors--some authentic, some less so, some a blend of old and new, some a fusion of different cuisines. Tonight, for example, we had "authentic" pico de gallo, yet I found it lacking in flavor (and lacking in fresh, native tomatoes, for that matter!). My homemade salsa is far tastier to me, however lacking in authenticity.

                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                        No, it is absolutely not. I agree. It's more an issue for me of what is foisted on us as authentic, whether we are confused about what we are eating and whether we disseminate that confusion as gospel. This is unrelated to whether we like the food or not.
                                        For example, Me and Marco are amused by posts (often on Yelp), where they say OMG or OMFG! about amazing, transcendental Mexican food, like tacos.... From the superlatives they are obviously very delighted, yet never say (or don't know), that it is bastardized food. The poor schmuck that believes all this person says is often in for a rude, (but possibly enjoyable), awakening. Is that OK, in our less than perfect internet world? Everyone's opinions are superficially equal. It takes time and some knowledge and experience to find the credible few (and especially on Yelp!).

                                        You gave an example (from our Mexican meal). Mine is the mole poblana. While tasty (and I will finish the chicken with mole for lunch), I thought it authentic in Mexican flavor, but too strong/dark for a poblana sauce and coarse in texture. While authentic, I thought it a little off the mark and only a fair representation. Perhaps a milder, Americanized or fusion version is more to my taste?
                                        Last nights meal, while it did not measure up to some I have had, was authentic, freshly prepared and 1/2 to 1/3 the price of the "authentic for Gringos" places.

                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                          You might like some of the comments from this thread that support your "exclusive gateway" remark. I agree with you.


                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                            i've had plenty of authentic food around the world, india jumps to mind, that quite frankly, sucked. and a little that is transcendent. but then in almost all creative endeavors, artistic or culinary, i hold to the 90/10 rule.

                                              1. re: Scargod

                                                90% of all music, books, television, and food etc is crap

                                        2. There's been many a time that one of these lemming threads get started where poster after poster will be doing their "oh, it's such a wonderful place" thing and I lob one of my hand grenade posts saying just the opposite. Invariably there are other posters who agree with me. Seldom is there a unamious agreement about anything.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Scagnetti

                                            I like the posts where they suggest we all hold hands, sing kumbaya , think positive thoughts and love all crappy food. Phooey on that!