THE BUSINESS OF REVIEWING RESTAURANTS got its own book-length treatment in Dining Out, by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page, in which leading critics, chefs, and other restaurant people held forth. How many visits are appropriate? How much does the food figure into the final assessment? And what the hell is with those stars?
After all, I’m like many others who file a review each week in that I get reimbursed for one visit only. Would it be fairer to the restaurant to show up three or more times? Probably. If things go really wrong during my visit, I have to figure out what caused the problems and guess whether it’s unique or ongoing. And if my experience is transcendent, I might raise your expectations to an unrealistic height.
Last week we looked at 1998's best. Let’s start the year with a glance ahead, along with some explanation of what goes into a Metroland restaurant review.