The snooty restaurant review has always amused and bored me. My advice to any affronted reviewer who was not properly greeted or did not receive an appetizer along with the main course? Get over it. Drop the angst-ridden clichés and be happy you're not responsible for the tab.
Who needs all of this pretentious nonsense anyway? When I ask a friend if a restaurant is good, I usually receive a concise "yes" or "no," with possibly a recommended dish or a caveat about slow service. This is all the information I've ever needed, and I consider myself a healthy, well-adjusted eater of food.
Reviews would be much more entertaining if the critic was responsible for footing the bill. Maybe this would bring some perspective. After all, food usually isn't nearly as bad as the culinary élitists would lead us to believe. I can remember only a handful of truly bad meals in my entire life, and none were consumed at restaurants, only school cafeterias.
To demonstrate how superfluous the bulk of reviews are, I wrote one about a neighborhood haunt:
The giant yellow arches near the Seattle Center caught my attention. Located just blocks from my home, and with reasonable prices plastered on the exterior windows, the place enticed me to give it a shot.
McDonald's has an extensive selection of items, but surprisingly they do not have individual menus; there is just one large menu conveniently posted behind the waiters. The entrees include several types of hamburgers, a variety of salads and chicken - served grilled, breaded with Cajun seasoning or in nugget shapes. In addition to the main courses, several appetizers are available, including French fries and a garden salad.
This diner markets its products quite cleverly. In addition to the yellow emblazoned M, other unique characteristics include the restaurant incorporating its name into such items as Big Mac, McChicken and Chicken McNuggets.
Rather than being seated prior to placing an order, customers are expected to place an order and wait for their number to be called. On the day I visited, the ordering line was long, and my waiter did not want to engage in conversation. Ignoring my questions about the special of the day and what his favorite dish is, he pressed for an order.
I finally chose a combination meal that consisted of two cheeseburgers, one serving of fries and a dark, sparkling beverage. Rather than complimenting me on my fine choice, the waiter once again refused to make small talk, asking only if I would like to order larger portions before having me prepay for my food.
Upon placing my order, the service was quick, although there was some confusion. They did not heed my request for a glass of ice water with a lemon twist. Also, I had advised the waiter that I wanted to dine inside the restaurant but was handed a paper sack rather than a tray.
Although it was a Saturday evening, there was still plenty of seating available. The tables can be described as sparse at best. No tablecloths, no napkins, no candles; not much atmosphere in general. The only entertainment to speak of was a security camera looming over the dining area.
Each of my cheeseburgers was individually wrapped, and the first thing I noticed upon opening my meal was that the bun was significantly larger than the patty. No lettuce or tomatoes covered my slice of meat. The only garnishings were a stale, Velveeta-looking slice of cheese, a pickle slice and a dab of ketchup and mustard accompanied by a couple of onion droppings.
Taking my first bite, I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn't the best burger I've ever had, but it tasted much better than a soy patty acquired from a glaring cafeteria server wearing a hairnet. The French fries were even better. Although not piping hot or even remotely warm, they tasted good cold.
Overall, I enjoyed my experience at McDonald's. I tried something new, fed myself for under $5, and although the service was lackluster, at least the waiters didn't seem to expect any tips; there wasn't even a plastic cup on the counter to throw coins into. Even if this restaurant doesn't improve anything and relies on its clever marketing, fast service and tasty fries, I think they might do OK.
I believe my McReview encapsulates the dining experience at this restaurant. Of course, I could have saved a few words and written: It's cheap, and the fries are good.