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Do you give a restaurant a bad review?

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A fairly high profile pair of amateur restaurant reviewers in the UK recently had what was described as the worst dining experience in their three years of writing a blog.

The issue? A meal of lobster in a London restaurant with wine sold at £14 (very cheap) turned out to be a lobster burger with only 33% lobster.

The restaurant got an absolute slating which I personally thought was a bit over the top. You can read my review of their review here -

http://www.thecriticalcouple.co.uk/bl...

This couple have had a couple of spats with celebrity chefs and the media in the past and it does seem to be more common with other bloggers to give a bad reviews to create interest.

Now I don't do a review blog but I do contribute to Trip Advisor. However, if I have received bad service, then I don't bother with a review. Personally I don't think it is fair to do that on one visit - unless it was seriously bad - ie bed bugs in a hotel - which thankfully I have never experienced.

So would you give a bad review on one visit?

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  1. I know people who are professional reviewers, for a big newspaper, and they never give a thoroughly bad review. They just don't give a review at all which is punishment enough!

    As a side note, here in the US you can't call something "lobster" unless there is more than 50% lobster meat in it. But how did they know the exact ratio, I'm wondering?

    Also wondering, if they like to review restaurants, why did they both get the same dish? That is a big no no when writing a review too.

    2 Replies
    1. re: coll

      Actually they didn't have the same dish. One went for the hanger steak - which looked really nice in the photos - but got no mention in the blog.

      1. re: PhilipS

        That's so sad. They must be the type that thrive on negativity!

    2. Thank you for raising this. I'm amazed at how blithely people trash a place after a single experience. I generally try not to write a review on food if I've eaten only once as I've hardly touched the range of a menu. I will write if the service and management issues are bizarrely bad (no response to a complaint of a creature in your soup, no apology for seating you an hour after your reservation) just as I'll write a good review when service and management responds appropriately to a bad situation (very sorry for the delay, please let us pay your bar bill, etc.). I appreciate people who handle unpleasantness with grace. But I do feel most restaurant people work too hard to be trashed on my single eating of a few things on a big menu.

      1 Reply
      1. re: teezeetoo

        Quite right teezeetoo! Well reasoned and nicely stated.

      2. The promotion alone would tick me off "Steak or Lobster" would immediately incline me to believe it's "Lobster" not a lobster burger.

        This actually reminds me of a recent let down I experienced. There was a local restaurant which I frequent the bar/lounge often, but not really the restaurant. Never being to fond of the food I enjoyed cocktails and ambiance more than dining. Anyway....last year they ran a summer seafood special their catch phrase was "We See Food Differently" and it was promoting a new summer seafood menu. Outside the building where they had a HUGE sign advertising the new summer seafood menu with the slogan, and a cooked/steamed lobster, as the main photo on the back ground.

        I love an occasional lobster dinner and after seeing the sign, I vowed to myself I was going to have a nice lobster dinner there one night. Several weeks pass and finally I've got my "lobster hunger" on and it's off to this establishment I go.

        Once seated I waived off a menu already knowing what I wanted, what size lobsters do you have, I asked. The bartender said, "We don't have lobster tonight" (outside of sushi), confused I said, "oh, my bad, can I see the menu". Figuring that perhaps they only offer lobster on certain nights, I get the menu turn to the "Sea Food" Summer menu page, and............no lobster!! None!! Not one lobster dish on the entire menu!! Add insult to injury........do you know what the first entree was on the Summer Sea Food menu....???? Chicken Parmesan!!!!

        I called the bartender over and asked, why don't you have lobster on the Sea Food menu, he asked me why I thought there would be. I said look at the sign out side advertising it!?!?! See the 6 foot lobster back ground?!?!?! I then pointed out that the first entree on the menu is actually Chicken Parm!?!?! I finished my drink and left. lol

        If I had a blog I would have written to no end about that, boy was I pissed. lol

        2 Replies
        1. re: jrvedivici

          You should read this thread. Sadly tells you why chicken parm is the first dish on the menu.

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/871933

          1. re: jrvedivici

            Especially since lobster is in the name of the restaurant.

            Hopefully the biscuits helped make up for the disappointment.

          2. Hi, Phillip:

            Yes, I definitely would give a restaurant a scathing review if they were caught passing off a dish containing a small % of lobster as lobster.

            I had a similar experience in a resto in Victoria, B.C., where I ordered a crab dish. What was served me was obviously surimi. There ensued an escalating scene, the hilarious crescendo of which was the maitre 'd screaming (in a crowded house): "Of course it's fake. You wouldn't want to eat our REAL crab!"

            In my book, businesses that cheat their patrons don't get a second chance. But they DO get both barrels when it comes to my review.

            Aloha,
            Kaleo

            6 Replies
            1. re: kaleokahu

              In all honesty at £14 it was very unlikely to be 100% lobster - the meal also included a half bottle of wine and fries. I also think the diner probably failed to read the small print.

              If you check out some of the general reviews on the Top Table website, the restaurant comes out quite well

              http://www.toptable.co.uk/reform-soci...

              1. re: PhilipS

                Hi, Philip:

                Here in the States, lobster prices can plunge steeply, so the low menu price might not be as telling in USA as in UK. Many times I've had a fat lobster roll for considerably less than £10.

                It may be that these amateur reviewers were hypercritical, myopic a-holes, or had some concealed problem with the resto. And yes, the consensus of the toptable reviews for the place is positive.

                However, if I was served a "lobster burger" or crabcake that was only 1/3 the advertised crustacean, I'd be a little....crabby myself regardless of price. If a resto is resorting to 2/3 binder/filler for such things, it is borderline deceiving its customers to call it lobster or crab, IMO.

                If the same resto was offering beef hamburgers ground with only 1/3 beef, would you feel the same way? And if the burger cost £1, would you be sanguine upon learning it had been ground merely *in the presence* of beef?

                Aloha,
                Kaleo

                1. re: kaleokahu

                  I understand what you are saying, but here in the UK it appears that our beef has actually contained some (and occasionally a lot) of horse. Personally I wasn't particularly upset about this. I can't often afford to buy top quality steak mince (ground beef) from the quality butcher - so it is value range from the national supermarket. To be honest, once it has been converted into a lasagne with herbs and tomatoes, then I would be struggling to taste the difference between horse and beef.

                  Additionally when you buy ground beef, it is likely to contain beef heart, tongue and other parts of the cow. I wonder if every consumer is aware of this.

                  1. re: PhilipS

                    Hi Again, Philip: "Additionally when you buy ground beef, it is likely to contain beef heart, tongue and other parts of the cow."

                    Yes, perhaps, but at least it's all beef, not 1/3 beef with the rest Soylent Green filler.

                    I've got nothing against horsemeat, but I'd be screaming murther most foul if what was sold to me as beef hamburger contained it. It would be, in one word, adulterated. In another, a fraud.

                    What's next? 1 part foie gras, 3 parts digested Trafalgar pigeon feathers?

                    Aloha,
                    Kaleo

                2. re: PhilipS

                  Anyone who believes that a lobster burger,fries and half bottle of wine for £14 in central London is going to be 100% lobster is at best a little naive.
                  I've eaten at the Reform Bar and Grill and found it mediocre and with brazen upselling (the look on the waiters face and intake of breath when we said we didn't want starters). Won't go back but didn't see the point of posting. Unless it's really good , spectacularly bad or a well thought of place that has gone down hill or vice versa (less likely as why would I go back to a poor place to see if it had improved).

                3. re: kaleokahu

                  That's hilarious!

                4. Yes.As I see it, a restaurant has one chance to impress and try to create a regular. So one truly negative experience matters. Even a series of one visit negative reviews can show a pattern. I would use specifics and give more details for a one visit negative review, and if possible give some positives.

                  Friday went out to a local favorite and had horrible service and was unable to get any food. I wouldn't write a negative review because it was a busy night (graduation celebrations) and they were apologetic. But even though our experience doesn't seem to be the norm for the restaurant, we don't plan to return.

                  Yesterday had horrible service and bland food at a local touristy restaurant. However, they offer free parking and their prices are reasonable. I wouldn't recommend the restaurant, but I won't write a review because my experience was on par with what I expected based on other Chowhound posts. Though I probably will warn people and suggest alternatives if the restaurant comes up in the future.

                  1. Yes, I review on one visit.

                    With regard to the 300+ restaurants I've eaten in and reviewed in the last 6 years (for Chowhound, egullet and the Good Food Guide), the vast majority have only seen us eat there once. That's simply because these were places we wanted to try and never really had an intention that they would become regular spots for us. There are now around 30 that we now intend should become regular places and, because of that, I probably will not review regularly, as there won't be that much to say about them.

                    1. Yes--I think people are always looking for the truth when it comes to trying new restaurants, and the popularity of review sites reflects that.

                      I recently wrote a relatively bland, 2* review of a place that used frozen fried oyster patties in their signature sandwich. For $13, I felt like I'd been ripped off--who uses frozen oyster patties??? The owner wrote back a very nice apology, asking that I give them another try since they went back to their original oyster vendor. Well, I did, and the 2nd sandwich was even worse. The oysters were somehow mealy, flabby, cold, and bland all at the same time. I wrote an update to my review saying that, after 2 bad sandwiches, I wouldn't be back. I don't think that people should go there looking for fresh, fried oysters! *stepping off my soapbox*

                      BTW, the owner's response to my updated review was anything but nice... and sent to my home after she googled my name from my credit card and wrote me a scathing letter informing me that she'd posted my photo in her restaurant and kitchen...

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: sarinaL

                        And this is what scares me about posting bad reviews. If a place truly sucks, there is likely some serious dysfunction in the kitchen and/or management, and I wouldn't want a psycho owner to hunt me down just because of a bad review of a single bad evening.

                        This may seem like a cop out, but I value my privacy, my family, and my life, and there are some very twisted people out there. (We had a very nasty experience a few years ago with a crazy house painter from hell, so I'm a little burnt from that.) If a restaurant or craftsperson is that bad, I just warn people verbally.

                        1. re: Isolda

                          Hi, Isolda:

                          If bad behavior by bad restauranteurs quells honest reviews, all is lost. Depending on what the owner wrote in his letter to, and posted in the resto about sarina, I would sue their pants off and rid the locale of the problem once and for all.

                          A much better piece of advice for those who value their privacy is to protect it by not posting every photo and event of their lives on the web.

                          Aloha,
                          Kaleo

                          1. re: kaleokahu

                            I'd rather not be in the position of needing to sue someone to get them off my back! Sooner or later, seriously whacked people do get what's coming to them.

                            1. re: kaleokahu

                              "A much better piece of advice for those who value their privacy is to protect it by not posting every photo and event of their lives on the web."

                              In a nutshell. It is a bit like celebrities who moan at being photographed in public or being stopped in the street for an autograph. If you court fame, then you have to understand that involves some loss of privacy.

                              1. re: PhilipS

                                I'm sorry, but my writing a review that a restaurant sells frozen oysters in their $13 signature sandwich is hardly seeking fame. I don't "post every photo and life event" online--the vast majority of my reviews (all but 2) are all positive.

                                I review restaurants online because I live in a suburb with nothing but chain restaurants and I want people to know about the cool neighborhood spots that pop up. The owner went out of her way to figure out who I was based on my order, track me down based on my credit card information, and contact me at home. That was WAY beyond inappropriate (yet somehow, not illegal). The interesting thing is, my review wasn't even as bad as most of her other bad reviews. I don't want to threadjack, so msg me if you want to know anything else about this.

                          2. re: sarinaL

                            My e-mail is in my profile, always has been, and restaurant owners have invited me back gratis. I decline, saying I'll be happy to return sometime soon on my own dime. The place usually folds before then.

                            If I'm writing a bad review, they are doing something really wrong that has nothing to do with how many people follow advice on Chowhound.

                            1. re: sarinaL

                              I would call the credit card company and report her misuse of the privacy policies. She used the information she had access to (from being a merchant that accepts cc) abusively.

                            2. "So would you give a bad review on one visit?"

                              The corollary is: who goes back to an expensive restaurant when they had a lousy meal the first time? Aside from a professional restaurant critic, most other folks will give up on a place pretty quickly if it is expensive, far away, or unusual.

                              I think the important thing, whether a review is negative or positive, is to avoid overstating your case. Handing out blanket recs or blasts based on one visit is misleading.

                              I know people who will harp on a place for years just because they went once and didn't like the one thing they ordered. On the other hand, a place can receive praise for years based on one good dish they once served.

                              That is why blanket statements are often unreliable.

                              1. If the food or service in a restaurant is really horrendous I'll give them a bad review. Otherwise they get a pass and a second chance.
                                We recently tried an UWS place for brunch and the service was painfully slow, we didn't get 2 appetizers but they were on the bill and most of the entrees were bland at best.
                                I probably would have given them a second shot but when the server dropped my straw on the floor, picked it up and put it on the table it was the last straw! Pun intended.

                                1. I review restaurants on Yelp and Trip Advisor, but I usually only do so if I have mostly positive things to say. If a restaurant is so horrifically bad that I have zero confidence in their ability to do anything right, then I just won't go back and will warn my friends to stay away, but I won't post anything.

                                  On occasion, though, when a restaurant seems to have gone downhill, I will review it and mention what I've observed. And like others on this site, I tend to look at the food more than the service, unless that is consistently poor or rude.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: Isolda

                                    Why limit reviews to only positive experiences? A review is an information nugget for a future diner to judge whether they should invest their time and money in an establishment. If yuo only post positive reviews, the establishment gets a skewed reputation.

                                    1. re: Danybear

                                      If I'm looking for reviews of a restauarant I'm thinking to visit, and don't see any, I will pass it by. No news is not good news in this case. I want to see raves!

                                      1. re: coll

                                        Ugh. Too bad you have cut yourself off from the great pleasure of discovery. Some of the most significant meals of my life have been such, though in this age that is becoming a rare treat.

                                        1. re: Steve

                                          Oh I like to discover hole in the walls on my own. But for an expensive meal, I can't afford to take any chances (sadly).

                                      2. re: Danybear

                                        But if my positive review is my honest opinion, how does that skew the reputation of the restaurant? I'm not the only one reviewing.

                                    2. I don't review restaurants much anymore, but when I did, even if a place wasn't good, I would still try to find something positive to say, even if it was just "I liked the decor". If the service was bad I would try to say "maybe it was just an off night". It's the happy fun time optimist in me :)

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: juliejulez

                                        Yep, balance is good.

                                      2. I don't understand the logic behind giving a place you've been to once a review only if it's good.

                                        Yeah, I'll give a lousy review to a place I've been to once. I'll also give a good review to a place I've been to once. That's fair as far as I'm concerned. I'm equal opportunity.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: LMAshton

                                          Exactly. I don't go back to a place that's bad on the first try.

                                        2. I rarely give a bad review. I try to think of the consequences as this is someone's living and the potentially paying several mortgages/rent.

                                          Dining out is s service provided by humans with a wide opportunity for error. We have no idea what is going on with the staff in their personal lives. Even the most professional of servers will find it hard to be chirpy when their Dad is dying of cancer. OK - a bit of a dramatic example - but it does happen.

                                          Actually I always dismiss the bad reviews on Trip Advisor as well. My nephew runs B&B. One weekend he had a load of guys book in who were on a stag night. They broke several items in the room and at one stage he had to call the Police. He rightly charged their credit card for the damage. But all the guests then decided to write bad reviews on the web. Thankfully my nephew managed to find them and wrote a careful reply giving the facts and negated the damage. But that was many hours out of his week that could have been used more pro-actively.

                                          I just think people should consider the consequences before bad mouthing on the internet.

                                          Perhaps it is time for the restaurant industry to review the diners......... ;)

                                          7 Replies
                                          1. re: PhilipS

                                            I find Trip Advisor useful when it comes to hotels but all but useless when it comes to food. Hotel reviews tend to include sufficient actual facts to allow me to decide on the quality of the place. However, restaurant reviews are usually vague -the "best ever place" comment will be followed by the "worst ever place" comment, without either telling you about what they actually ate.

                                            I recall reading one TA review where the place was criticised for having formal service and fancy food (I paraphrase). Of course it did - it was a Michelin 3 star restaurant.

                                            1. re: Harters

                                              But when you see a review like that, you know not to take it seriously, or even to view it as a positive thing. I know that when I read that "portions are too small," I'm likely to try the place because places that serve large portions tend to serve mediocre food, at least in the US.

                                            2. re: PhilipS

                                              <I rarely give a bad review. I try to think of the consequences as this is someone's living and the potentially paying several mortgages/rent.>

                                              I want to see bad reviews so I can decide where to spend my money. I would rather support those who run their businesses well and are responsive to customers than those who do not. And I find it suspect when a business has no bad reviews. Especially on Trip Advisor and Yelp.

                                              <Thankfully my nephew managed to find them and wrote a careful reply giving the facts and negated the damage. But that was many hours out of his week that could have been used more pro-actively.>

                                              A bad review with a nicely written detailed response from the establishment being reviewed is just as helpful (maybe even more so) than a positive review. To me it shows that they care about their business and smart enough to not ignore criticism.

                                              1. re: PhilipS

                                                Agreed. The mood of the diner can vastly alter the message of the review. Sometimes, while checking out a new restaurant, I have to check myself out and consider what is my state of mind; am I jonesing for a dish to be EXACTLY a certain way, or am I more flexible and open-minded on what I'll be served (and how it's served) while staying within certain perameters (which is how I should be when reviewing a restaurant).
                                                What makes the question tricky is that often a restaurant will make one or two dishes that are so-so, while the rest of the menu is generally wonderful (or vice versa). If you order one of the so-so dishes and base your review solely on that, you will be missing out. Case in point: we ate at a Oaxacan place that served several types of mole -all of which were to die for- but the tamale on the side was..okay. Had we based a review on the tamale only (and discounted other things like the impeccable service), we would have given the place two out of a possible 4 stars. As it is, we know to go there for mole, not tamales.
                                                On the other hand, a dish should be as it is described on the menu...and if it's not described on the menu, you should have your server describe it *especially* if the price is too good to be true, such as the "lobster" burger situation.
                                                IMHO, there is room for bad reviews, but the save the negativity should be indicated for the element of the dining experience where it belongs, ie: the food vs. the service vs.the atmosphere/decor vs. the cleanliness vs. the value vs. did I feel welcome, etc. The slams should be for the places that do poorly in all the factors AND who show no iota of caring.
                                                As to service: while everyone has bad days, there's still a criteria for service (there's a big difference between a slammed [very crowded] server and one who makes you feel like you should feel privileged that they are even talking to you). I was waiting tables while my mother was dying of cancer. While there were definitely times when I couldn't smile all that brightly, I never let my situation affect the service I provided. The only complaint I ever had was from two regulars who were the kind that felt that they were entitled to free food like an extra side salad, free beverages, extra toppings, everything super-sized which they fully expected to be given all the time and free of charge "because we come here all the time" (while leaving an 8% tip! seriously!) I'm sure they would've given the restaurant a scathing review......and then continued to go there.

                                                1. re: PhilipS

                                                  Hi, Again, Philip: "Actually I always dismiss the bad reviews on Trip Advisor as well."

                                                  I'm all for taking bad reviews (especially of consumer products) with a grain of salt, but you must have a lot more time and money than I do to ignore all negative reviews on TA.

                                                  Case in point: I defy you (or anyone) to ignore this review and stay at this terrible "hotel" on Rarotonga: http://www.tripadvisor.com.sg/ShowUse...

                                                  Aloha,
                                                  Kaleo

                                                  1. re: kaleokahu

                                                    As far as bad reviews go - this one is excellent because it mentions very specific problems (as opposed to phrases like 'poor service' or 'disappointing rooms') and also gives an alternative of who to seek for a better arrangement.

                                                    I understand that people's lives are tied to businesses and all that - but ultimately businesses are not charity. Bad businesses deserve to be called out. Where Trip Advisor frustrates me is when the negatives aren't detailed beyond generic descriptions - so I can evaluate whether or not I want to be led by that review.

                                                    1. re: kaleokahu

                                                      The fact that it only has three reviews would probably put me off. But, it is a good "bad review" with a number of specific points raised. You can tell the issues were a lot more than "really didn't like the manager's moustache".

                                                      The scoring system for TA is pretty good as it does have a summary which is where I normally start. Noting the percentages in the good and also the numbers of reviews.

                                                  2. I recently went to a brick and mortar restaurant that started out as a food cart (we have a lot of food carts in Portland).

                                                    The food was great but the way the place was run was terrible.

                                                    I'm on Yelp but I never post, I just go for reviews.

                                                    In this case I plan to write a very nice letter/email to the restaurant owner praising the food but also mentioning the shamble of the service. One, I don't want to publicly humiliate. Two, I think the owner will respond to a letter better, especially if it contains some good news too.

                                                    1. I have to agree that with Trip Advisor particularly, I'm hesitant to give negative reviews because of my experience trying to use it to gain insight. I live in Jerusalem - and as an American I find the vast bulk of service provided to be subpar. However, I also now know that by local standards - "it is what it is".

                                                      So when I need to find a hotel or restaurant in the region, looking at reviews by non-locals when I see comments about poor service, I feel like I need to read between the lines. Is it poor service in the sense of serving someone a plate of food with a live cockroach on it and then making them pay for that dish/not comping anything (true story)? Or is it poor service where your server sneers at you, answers their cell phone, ignores you when trying to porder/pay?

                                                      One situation is above and beyond bad, whereas the other is locally within normal expectations. However, if I'm traveling and not local/familiar with the region - maybe I want to read the reviews of people similar to me with similar expectations. But after becoming more familiar with what standards are, it's more challenging - especially with hotels - how the complaints stack up to local custom.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: cresyd

                                                        With Trip Advisor I want details, specifics, and comparisions. A vague good review is just as useless as a vague bad one. But I still want to see all types of reviews to try to sense a pattern. And I really appreciate when the place being reviewed responses. My favorite bad review was for an all inclusive resort on a private island geared towards scuba divers. The reviewer complained because there wasn't enough variety at meal times, the boat ride to a larger island was too expensive and that they were lacking a spa. However the resort responded with the group was vegan and didn't give them any advance notice, their boat was a lot cheaper than the private water taxis, and they never claimed to have a spa. In this case the bad review was helpful and the resort's response (supported by other reviews) reinforced my expectations.

                                                        1. re: viperlush

                                                          Completely agree. I think that where Trip Advisor would be improved - especially from the standpoint of travelers and not locals - would be to compare experiences. If someone has traveled to other scuba resorts, "x resort in x country was amazing, whereas y resort in y country could have been greatly improved by abc" - or "I've been traveling through z country, and this is an average/great/awful experience based on the 2/3/4/5 other places where we have stayed/eaten".

                                                      2. I don't blog, I write a lot of Yelp reviews. I write negative reviews occasionally. But what I call negative reviews most of the time are very different from the example given here. This would be best explained using Yelp's rating system description:

                                                        (5 and 4 stars omitted)
                                                        3-star: A-OK
                                                        2-star: Meh. Experienced better
                                                        1-star: Eek, I think not.

                                                        In a 5 star rating system like this, 2 and 1 would be considered negative. But as you can see, it doesn't take such a dramatic bad experience to give a particular restaurant 2 stars. It just has to be a slightly worse than mediocre experience. In such a review one doesn't need to thrash the restaurant, all it takes is to say that the food was nothing special, that there are many other places in the area where I can get similar type of food at similar or lower price that are better made, and that I most likely will not come back. This evaluation applies to a lot of meals one experiences, not just one or two odd ones that had something gone terribly wrong. And from a user's perspective, you would want reviewers to give 2-stars in this manner instead of not review at all, as this will make the rating more accurate.

                                                        1. I'm NOT a professional reivewer or blog-pilot, but I DO feel my opinion matters to someone. I am also pretty tolerant of those having a bad day. However, if I experience a deliberate egregious error on the part of whoever I am deaing with, then I feel obligated to report the bad as well as the good. Example? The food preparer who ran his hands through his hair then proceeded to put my food on the flattop without washing his hands...then, when confronted, washed his hands and wiped them on his already dirty apron...yes...YELP heard from me.

                                                          1. < However, if I have received bad service, then I don't bother with a review. >

                                                            I am fairly forgiving especially during the first visit, but I do give negative reviews -- even though they are very rare. Certain foods can grow on us over time, and I understand that, so I try to be flexible. However, if you order an authentic Chinese dish and came out like Mexican food, then I don't see why you cannot point that out.

                                                            <So would you give a bad review on one visit?>

                                                            I do, but I try to point out the good and the bad.

                                                            At the end of the day, I think a negative review can be just as helpful for diner as a positive review -- in fact more so.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                              Agreed. Coming from the quality management arena, the saying goes, you learn more from disatisfied customers than from satisfied ones.

                                                            2. On CH, I look at the reviews of posters who seem reasoned and seasoned and I particularly look for reviews of interesting places I haven't tried. Most of the new or trendy places are well-reviewed in local newspapers and magazines and while I'm interested in what others say, I'll either try them for myself or I won't and a CH negative or positive won't influence that first time decision. I immediately discount reviewers who give me lists of all the "best" restaurants in town, tell me this is "the best Chinese ever", or push the same restaurants when their recommendations are not responsive to the OP (you know, someone asks for a great Italian restaurant in Cambridge and the responder says there aren't any and you need to go to my favorite one in Boston). Anyone who identifies themselves as a " food professional" or who repetitively namedrops about chefs they know will have no influence on me. I like posters, in particular, who know their neighborhood places which I am unlikely to find unless they tell me about them. Why do I need someone to tell me about Del Posto or Menton when they are covered to death?