Ratings changes at the New York Times
The NYT has changed the rating system of its suburban restaurant reviews (CT, NJ, LI & Westchester) from the timeless (Extraordinary), Excellent, Very Good, Good, Satisfactory, (Fair) & Poor to:
"RATINGS Metropolitan has changed its restaurant rating system to: Don’t Miss, Worth It, In a Pinch, Don’t Bother."
(Note: Extraordinary & Fair were not used in all 4 regions.)
Yet another brilliant idea from the offices of the NYT. Change for the sake of change. Can't wait to see what's in store for the 5 boroughs.
I like that. It's self-explanatory and isn't subject to different interpretations by reviewers.
Read the first review today in the CT section with the new ratings. Happened to be a new restaurant in my town that we've eaten at about 5 times, we like it very much. The review was pretty spot on, the reviewer had almost nothing negative to say, gave it a "Worth It", although it reads like a "Don't Miss" review.
I have to say that the categories just sound a little obnoxious (maybe condescending) to me. "In a Pinch"? What does that mean? If there is no where else to go you should go there? But the food will be bad? Then wouldn't you just stay home?
However, I disagree that it is "self-explanatory and not subject to different interpretations"...it's a review, the reviewers opinion, of course it is subject to different interpretations, same as any category designation.
Has anyone been following the reviews since the new categories were implemented?
Since the first one back in November, they have all been "Worth It". Yes, that's right, 8 out of 8 restaurants reviewed have all gotten the same rating. Is that not a red flag that maybe something is wrong with the new system?
If the old categories were in place, you would see the division of Very Goods and Goods...here, they are all lumped together. The new categories have made a complete mockery of CT dining. No matter what the reviewer says, the place is Worth It.
At least they've changed the insulting (and confusing) 3rd category of "In A Pinch" to "OK"...at least it's a little more clear what that means.
I wish they would do us all a favor and go back to something that makes sense. It's pointless if everything has the same rating.
This is because Don't Miss equates to (Extraordinary)+Excellent, Worth It equates to Very Good+Good, OK equates to Satisfactory+(Fair), and Don't Bother equates to Poor.
As you've said, review ratings were mostly Very Good or Good, with only a smattering of the other categories. I expect the trend to continue. You'll probably see a Don't Miss soon, but unless it's highly overrated, I don't expect them to review a crappy restaurant and waste the column space when there are so many better ones vying for attention.
My complaint (with the CT reviews) is that vastly different quality restaurants that I've eaten at, Nello's and La Belle Aurore, are lumped together in that same catch-all Worth It rating. The first is a nice, inexpensive, conventional neighborhood Italian joint, the other a trendy, ambitious farm-to-table place that's almost the quality of Still River Cafe, but comes up just short in a couple of areas in the review (and seem to have been addressed when I went recently).
Well that's exactly my point...everything is "worth it" in this system, but based on the reviews themselves, the difference between these places is huge. If there categories of Good and Very Good, you would see tall of those 8 places previously reviewed broken up between those two distinctions. No way would they all be one or the other. Because the other new options equate to the old Excellent or Satisfactory, everything is getting lumped into the middle category. It is a real shame for those restaurants that are working hard to rise above the rest in their food sourcing, food quality, and overall food deliciousness.