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How Recent Should your Experience be with a Restaurant before you trash it or recommend it? How often should you have eaten thre? [moved from Boston board]

I try to respond to posters with relatively current experience that seems to fit their requests but I find I'm wondering how "current" is current? I also try not to have a hissy fit about a restaurant I've only experienced once though I may post about a single great new experience. There are a few restaurants that are regulars for me where I'm comfortable that my experiences are current and knowledgeable (though of course my taste my differ from others at least I know I've eaten through a lot of the menu!!). Anybody else wonder what's "fair" or how "au courant" you should be before jumping on a place?

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  1. It is a corollary to how bad or good the experience was.

    If I have a horrible time I will badmouth the place until it is shuttered. If I have an amazing time the inverse is likely true. I guess I would be more likely to badmouth over a long period than to praise though.

    2 Replies
    1. re: blinko1

      If you have a "horrible time" just once? I figure any place can have an off day. I really want small businesses of all sorts to succeed so am much slower to criticize than to praise.

      1. re: c oliver

        I think it depends. There's a Baltimore restaurant that I went to just once to try their crab cakes, which is what they are known for. They were awful -- among the worst I've ever had. However, they enjoy a popular reputation after a favorable Washington Post article some time back.

        I'm pretty sure that it wasn't an off night for them -- this is how they're made. I gave the place a bad review on Chowhound, and I'd continue to warn people away from there.

        Most of the time though, chefs can change and places can go up or down hill with time. I agree that online reviews can carry weight, and I don't like to trash a place.

    2. I always try to say in my comments about a place if the last time I went there was a long time ago. I think it's entirely valid to say that a bad experience (or especially a series of bad experiences) has caused me to write off a place, even if it's a long time ago - as long as I say how long it's been.

      For that matter, if a rave is based on experiences that are more than a year or two old, I'd want to know that as well.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Allstonian

        I agree. If you mention the approximate date of your visit you've given readers the information they need to weigh the comments.

        A detailed post about a visit to a restaurant two years ago is especially valuable if it jibes with more recent posts. Even if it doesn't, sometimes that level of detail provides context that's sometimes missing in very short posts.

        1. re: Allstonian

          I so agree with you. I've seen folks, when pushed, admit that it's been a few to a few more to many years since they ate at a particular place. We haven't been to NYC in several years so, while I might support someone's comments, I'll always preface it with how long it's been. I wish all would.

        2. I think current makes the most sense whether good or bad however stating when you ate there can be very helpful. It allows the poster to decide how relevant it is. Perfect example is I don't give a lot of credence to reviews from restaurant weeks, mother’s day, valentine’s day, etc.

          All that said its nice when you get even a few response, even if they are experiences that are a few months old, than dead air or links to reviews that are years old.

          1. Just personally, rather than from a moderator perspective (as there's no moderator policy on this issue), I think it varies depending on how much other feedback the person is getting, and how confident I am that my opinions are still relatively close to the mark.

            If someone is getting lots of answers to a question, I'm not going to jump in with old info. If they're not getting much, I may kick in with 'Well, it's been 3 or 4 years since I've been there, but...'

            But it also depends on the restaurant. Some places are forever preserved in amber and rarely change staff or menu items -- I feel pretty confident recommending them even if I haven't been there in a couple of years. Other places I might recommend if stuff I've heard/read recently suggests the experience remains largely the same as it was for me. But if the place was new when I tried it or current reports suggest it's significantly changed menus, staff or whatever, then I'm more reluctant to make any comment about it.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Jacquilynne

              Well said. And I'm not sucking up :)

            2. This is an interesting question since I'm far more known on CH for my posts on the Washington DC/Baltimore board, but I'm temporarily living in Oklahoma City, which is sort of a restaurant wasteland. i want to keep recommending my favorite places back home, but the truth is that it's been a year or so since I've tried them. The number of OKC restaurants I'd recommend is 2. They're mostly awful, although I have not tried many of the taqueirias on the south side of town.