Hate the review, not the reviewer

illustration by MARK STIVERS

It’s easy to hate restaurant reviewers. Easier, still, to dismiss the reviews they write as inaccurate hogwash. We see reviewers as faceless food snobs who waltz into the hottest eateries with their retinue and eat well on the company dollar before going home to bitch. And who do these people think they are, really, to pass judgment?

For one, they’re educated. Many restaurant reviewers have worked in food for a good part of their life and have restaurant experience. They have a solid footing in what generally goes on in a restaurant and behind the scenes. And it’s generally expected that they know the intricacies of food culture, science, history and methods. Last, they have a modicum of writing talent (preferably more than that).

Of course, taste is subjective. Let’s not forget that. A good reviewer does his or her best to take a neutral stance and critically analyze the food, to be fully immersed in the vibe that the place is trying to establish and to offer readers a well-rounded opinion in order to help them find a decent place to eat. At the same time, they’re trying to offer feedback to the restaurant in question. Let’s also remember that, like the rest of us, they’re just hungry.