Commenting on Restaurants

August 13, 2010Katie

With restaurant review sites cropping up all over the place, this article by Ken on Urbanspoon made my smile in satisfaction. It’s an article on what not to do when commenting on a restaurant on Urbanspoon.

When I first started writing restaurant reviews, I really had no idea what I was doing.  I just knew that Mr. Wonderful and I love to eat at off-the-beaten path restaurants and we knew a lot of our friends hadn’t a clue about these places.

I too used to have what I call “chainrestaurantitis”.  I never ventured off the beaten path of national chain restaurants.  I could trust them..they were safe. 

Then one week while visiting Michigan, my brother and his wife and us went to Toronto, Canada for a few days.  My favorite chains weren’t located around our hotel, and we pretty much walked everywhere.  There was a little Italian place (I can’t remember the name) right next to our hotel, and we’d visit every morning for cappucino and breakfast. There was a little rotund Italian chef and owner who sat us on the trellis covered patio each day and said the same thing “You no need a menu!  I make you anything you like!”  All of this while his cat weaved in and out of our legs rubbing all over us while he walked.

I loved it…well maybe not the cat, but I loved the quaintness of this place and the different feel of it.

Toronto was where I was first introduced to Bruschetta as well, and every restaurant had a different version, some with just olive oil and chopped tomatoes poured over an entire loaf of fresh baked bread, and some with sliced and toasted crostini with it’s garlic-rubbed crispness and a side of delectable, chopped tomatoes, basil, olive oil and balsamic dressing.

Needless to say, I came home and no longer loved chain restaurants.  And when I visit out of town?  I will not be caught dead in one.  It’s like the ultimate no-no for me.  I usually ask a local and we’ve eaten at some amazing places by doing so.

This began our quest into local dives (I love a good diner), ethnic cuisine and places of interest that may not be widely known.

You’ll notice I don’t have a lot of reviews on my site that are negative.  There have been many places I’ve visited, taken pictures and chose not to put on, simply because I wouldn’t recommend them to others.  There are places that do that like Urbanspoon and others and I leave you to the critics there.

My goal is to introduce Oklahoma City and it’s surrounding area to the fantastic, perhaps little-known places to those with “chainrestaurantitis” and get you out of the boring groove of those.  I like to help promote local places and bring people in who might not be so adventurous.

Check out Ken’s article however, if you’re one of those who love to comment.  I like how he asks us all to play nice on commenting on a restaurant. 

Since hosting the segment on Rise & Shine, I’ve really seen the inner workings of restaurants, talked with owners and chefs and seen the incredibly long hours they’ve worked and the effort they go through.

Some recommendations I would have? Remember that just like you, every place, waiter, chef or cook can have a bad day.  If you’ve heard good things about a place, but your experience was bad? Give it one more try. 

Contact the owner or chef and relay your experience politely.  Let them try to make it up to you.  If your second or third visit is still unsatisfactory..then you may have a point.

Above all, be kind and do unto others my friends.  Remember the whole “until you’ve walked in someone’s elses’ shoes” thing.

You have hundreds of choices in your city to pick from, so try some new places!  Some you’ll like, some you’ll dislike, but at least you won’t die not having known.

Don't be afraid to comment! I LOVE to hear from my readers!

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