When you are thinking of eating at a new restaurant, what is the first thing you do? Maybe you ask a friend who has been there to tell you about their experience. If you do not know someone, then maybe you scour the web looking for information. This is why you are here now because you are someone who not only loves food, but you like to be prepared. If a restaurant review is not good, then you may not bother eating at that particular establishment.
As a chef, I have years of experience both creating and tasting all kinds of cuisine. When I review a restaurant I use all of this knowledge to create a review. I review a wide range of eating establishments from high end restaurants to wallet-friendly buffets. Most of the eating establishments I review are within the New York City area, but as I travel I will review the occasional restaurant elsewhere.
What to Expect From My Restaurant Reviews
Here is just a quick note on how I review a restaurant, or any other gourmet food product. I believe my reviews are unique because the ultimate deciding factor is if I would order the meal I have tried again, at the price I paid for it.
When I evaluate a restaurant I am concerned with certain factors that make up my overall review. Some of these factors hold more weight than others. Here is a list of what I may be looking for when I review a restaurant:
Front of House
Cost and value
The appearance of a restaurant is a part of good service. If it appears unclean, then it leaves me to wonder about the quality of their food. In addition, I note the layout and decorations used in the dining area. These play a role in the atmosphere, which is important because all of your senses are involved in eating. Taste, of course, is most important, but what you see, smell, hear and touch is important as well.
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When arriving at a restaurant, it is typical to have to wait to be seated during the peak times of breakfast, lunch and dinner, but a wait that is unreasonable is not a good start when you are dining out. This is why I evaluate how long it takes to be seated at my table.
The wait staff in a restaurant is there to serve you, and they represent the restaurant as well. Are they friendly, courteous and attentive? Are they knowledgeable about the food? Did the food arrive in a timely manner?
These are all aspects of the service they provide you that may affect your overall experience, and these are all areas I evaluate and what you will find in restaurant reviews by Chef Piquanti.
The menu of a restaurant gives you a synopsis of the food they offer. Some restaurants have very lengthy menus with a great deal of selection, while others choose to focus on a smaller menu such as restaurants focused on a certain type of food. This is information that is good to be aware of before you visit a restaurant so you know what to expect. I may highlight some of their unique menu items or point out a dish they are famous for.
The food quality of a restaurant is one of the main reasons the restaurant exists. It is why you go out to eat. If your whole experience is great and the food is bad, then it can ruin your entire meal. Included along with my food quality review, I will discuss whether the food is properly cooked as well as the presentation of the meal. The cost of a meal and its value go hand in hand. If the value is good, then paying more is not a problem.
Another factor that affects value is portion size. Do they give a normal or generous amount of food? Is the portion small? If the portion is small but the food is excellent, then paying more may be reasonable. These are the many different factors I consider when reviewing cost verses value.
After I have given a full review of a restaurant, I will tell you if I would recommend it based on my overall experience. This is a delicate balancing act because each factor above will play into my decision. However, the quality of their food will play most heavily into whether the restaurant receives a favorable review. The food in a restaurant is its heart and soul so it should get the most attention.
I feel this strategy translates to a gourmet dining experience with value.
So a good meal at $8 could get a "thumbs up," while a very good meal at $21 might get a thumbs down, because although the meal was very good, I would not order it again at $21.
Conversely, an inexpensive meal can get a "thumbs down," if I do not feel it was a good value, even at a low price.