'Bero' - Toronto Life started coverage and gave it a 1*. WT.......??!!
I just noticed one of our Chowhound's favorite new find, Bero, just received coverage by Toronto Life with an unbelievable 1*!! Yes! A lousy 1* for cuisine beautifully executed and plated!
At the same time, Bruce Wood's new restaurant 'Woods' got 3* for serving Spaghetti with meat balls and Bison burgers!!
What type of incompetent reviewers does Toronto Life hired, I wonder?? And how the hell did TL managed to dig them up??!!
Surely, seasoned chowhounders like TorontoJo, Estufarian, Fickle, Jlunar and myself.....etc cannot be all wrong in our palette, review and feedback??!!
My first meal at Bero was really bad - if you recall, when TorontoJo first suggested it was my type of place, I begged off commenting as I may have had defective tastebuds that night (although AmuseGirl's reaction was similar). My follow-up visit was more in line with your (and other) views.
After reading the Alan Vernon piece (and in that thread) I commented that perhaps my tastebuds weren't off (after all) as his experiences more closely matched my first visit.
Guess it's time for a third try!
Its even worse when TL also started coverage on 'Ten Ren's Tea Time' - A Taiwanese Bubble Tea House cafe chain that serves mediocre, run-of-the-mill snacks and fast foods. Guess what? they also gave them the same 1* rating!!
I haven't been to Bero yet but 4 of us ate at Modus and we all agreed it was our worst meal and experience ever. We still laugh about it 2 years later.
One star is pretty darn harsh in my opinion. Well I don't think it is a destination resto at the moment my meal and service was solid and it is a very welcome addition to the my hood. I'm hoping most will take the review with a grain of salt as I do with most TL reviews these days.
For reference, this is how Toronto Life explains their star system:
1 star GOOD
A one-star restaurant offers consistently satisfying food and good value for the money. Ingredients are fresh, dishes are well prepared, the room is clean and comfortable, and the service is efficient
2 star VERY GOOD
A two-star restaurant displays ambition and occasional flashes of excellence. It strives to be better than its peers, and in many ways it’s succeeding. The kitchen uses creative ingredients and surprising flavour combinations, and there is some attention to decor and ambience. Service is efficient and knowledgeable.
3 star EXCELLENT
A three-star restaurant stands above its peers. The flavours and ingredients complement and build on each other, and many dishes contain happy surprises. The mood and decor have been carefully planned and executed, and service meets every expectation.
4 star EXTRAORDINARY
A four-star restaurant presents an exquisite food experience. The food is exciting in taste and presentation, and the chef routinely breaks new ground. Service is impeccable.
5 star PERFECT
The elusive five-star restaurant presents a flawless, original and unparalleled dining experience.
TL also got rid of their cheap and cheerful "$30 dollar gourmet” category earlier this year, so good cheaper restos are eligible for the same one star rating as good higher end, better quality, better service, arguably more innovative and more interesting restaurants that didn't happen to wow the reviewer with occasional flashes of excellence, whatever that means. All these ratings are subjective, anyhow, so YMMV from TL's.
I've never been on the same wavelength as TL's reviewers re: the star ratings. I've almost always liked the 1 and 2 star restos in TL better than the ones that have been given 3 or 4 stars.
re: Charles Yu
Having been a former regular at N44, notice I said former, I can completely agree with a 1.5 rating. This is not the place it once was and frankly, is not nearly as popular as it used to be. Mark McQ had little time for hands on that place anymore. I think he makes most of his money in the catering world now.
the room is tired, the menu boring and the staff, which used to be consistent, now changes faces monthly. There used to be a time when the customer was always right, but that's changed as well. We purchased a bottle of wine for approx $125.00 and it was corked, clearly and unmistakenly corked! Our friends, who have forgotten more about wine than il ever know, concurred. We told the waiter and asked for another bottle, not cancel the order, but another bottle. We wanted the wine. Instead, the Manager came over and said he thought the wine was fine and then started the next sentence with the follwing: "Maybe as a neophyte wine drinker".....and then went on to tell us about letting wine "open up"! Again, our friends have travelled the world drinking wine and had been doing it before this Manager was old enough to drink!
Out food was mediocre, the service average and the prices, outrageous. If you are going to charge these prices, then the meal and the experience, has to be memorable, for the right reasons! Sadly, we will never go back there, which is unfortunate, as we live so close to the restaurant and loved the convenience. Mark McQ should get back to looking at the shop and to remember the quality he used to produce and the loyal customers he used to have. Both, have sadly disappeared!