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Feb 5, 2010 11:38 AM

Would you ever not visit a restaurant based solely on negative reviews on chowhound?

I see this often on my home board where someone (or multiple people) will post reviews about a place and even if that place has received glowing reviews from other posters, inevitably, people who have never been will chime in to say that they will never try the place based on the negative reviews. I guess I could see it if a place exclusively gets terrible reviews, but I'm talking about places that also have great reviews.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

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  1. If I get a positive or negative from trusted chow sources that have been spot on in the past, yes.

    Interesting enough, I spoke to a well known and BUSY chef last evening and he said he follows all the local food blogs. This is nothing short of genius. Instant feed back where you can make corrections over night based on free market research.

    2 Replies
    1. re: DallasDude

      I'm inclined to agree with DallasDude. Just like movie reviews, I don't always agree with chow reviews; BUT, a trusted reviewer would probably tip the scales for me unless I was more curious than interested in a positive dining experience.

      1. re: DallasDude

        In PHX, we have such a restauranteur. He follows CH, and other food sources, and reads all reports. He has made some changes, based on CH reviews, and they have been for the better, IMHO. CH is a great venue for feedback, and it's nice to see that some "in the business" read it, plus other sites.

        OTOH, I tend to run contrary to many on the boards that I frequent. Just different expectations and tastes.

        That can be confusing to both a chef, and to a poster, asking for recs. When possible, I try to link to my reviews, in hopes that they can see the details of my reviews, and either judge, or decide on my perspective.


      2. Depends.

        There are certain posters that I trust, and if they post a negative (and well substantiated) review, I won't visit.

        Then there's just the buzz from the peanut gallery, which I'll listen to, but not necessarily pay much heed to.

        3 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          Good point. I feel like the usefulness of chowhound largely depends on how long one has been reading the boards and thus been able to figure out which posters have similar tastes. For example, if you like a place, I know I'm very likely to also enjoy it.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            Exactly. There are professional reviewers whose judgement I don't put much store in, and a lot of posters here who seem to have taste buds from a planet unrelated to my own. Tweech his own. Seeing how much I agree with a poster over time allows me to know if I should give any weight to reviews from that person, seeing what components of a meal and flavors matter to them lets me know if we're after the same sort of experiences.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              "if they post a negative (and well substantiated) review, "

              That is what I try to base my choices on, and try to offer to others. If I do my job well, they can see where I "am coming from," and then make their own decisions. I try to cover my preferences, and my biases, and give them something to contemplate.


            2. I'm swayed by democratic action. If a place received overwhelmingly negative reviews, I wouldn't chance going there. If, OTOH, it received overwhelmingly glowing reviews, I would be more inclined to give it a shot.

              1. I've only been around Chowhound for a year.

                My experience so far is with NYC and CT restaurants. Those that tend to be highly recommended by CHers that we've tried have all been excellent.

                However, 'hounds have skewered several of our favorite dining destinations. I've stuck up for them for the most part. Of course, if I have a closer-than-arm's-length relationship with a restaurant I can't talk about it. That's what gets really frustrating.

                If, let's say, a trusted friend told me to go to a place, I'd go even if I discover Chowhounds have panned the joint.

                1. It depends on the reviewer. After a while, I've pretty much figured out who has the same tastes as I do. I read their reviews more closely than from others. If those reviewers generally like a place, I usually like it as well. As for the others, it's a hit or miss.