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Doing Away With Stars For Restaurant Reviews


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Ryan Sutton (he of the recently written EMP review) of Eater writes a long piece on the abandonment of stars for restaurant reviews. Obviously not the first to do so (See Wells, Rao, Ho, et al.), as many shifted their emphasis during the pandemic. I've never liked stars or numbers or whatever; I prefer reading reviews to help form an opinion.


He does make some good points overall.


We’re Getting Rid of Starred Restaurant Reviews at Eater



If only those stars, however in demand they are, were more useful stand-ins for the complex workings of restaurants — or more equitably doled out. Two stars for two different restaurants rarely mean the same thing, even when doled out by the same critic. That’s a problem, even if a reviewer claims they’re assessing a venue on its own merits — or with regard to its direct peers — because stars inevitably lead to countless baffling and unfair comparisons.


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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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I find that stars provide me a way to interpret the review.  I'd rather read the prose, but a  positive-ish reading review that gets only **  tells me its not horrible but not great either.


Stars alone are no good. Prose is better with the stars...to me.


And there's the issue of stars not saying the same  thing in different types of restaurant. A 4* pizza place isn't equal to a 4* fine dining place...but it does say that the pizza is about as good as it can be.

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