One of the more irritating things about having your phone know the location you go is that you get bugged for reviews for everywhere you go. Google has a not very subtle way of trying to convince you that one’s reviews are popular and that you should take the time to write about whatever place it is that you stopped by to eat and so on. I find this rather creepy. If my phone is reporting where I go to enjoy dinner or something else, it is almost certainly reporting other things to other people. Some people enjoy that, but I must say that I do not appreciate it.
As I was being reminded for the third time to review the place where I had dinner on Saturday, I was reminded why it is that restaurant reviews, more than other reviews, are a bit of a crapshoot, especially when someone is a regular at a place. If you eat at a place one time you can give one snapshot of the place and how it operates. Maybe it was having a great day or maybe it was having an off day and you didn’t realize it because the place had one chance to impress you and it either succeeded or failed. If you are not a professional reviewer for a newspaper, people are not going to know and then plan accordingly, but simply give you whatever service they do normally, which is more honest, but also more highly variable depending on the staffing and logistics of the restaurant that day.
If one eats at a place every week, though, it is a lot harder to give a review. How does one comment on what one does the same–if one has a regular order–over and over again? Would anyone want to read fifty reviews or so of the same places over and over again? And would I want to write them? How many ways can one say that one got the chicken parmesan with salad with balsamic vinaigrette and a vanilla ice cream along with mizrahi cheese bread, or six chicken tacos without tomatoes and with a large plate of black beans and rice, or one of the other dishes I regularly get over and over and over again? Who wants to hear about how quickly my pitcher of ice water was brought or how long it was for my check to come or something else of that nature. This is especially so when one is dealing with restaurant staffs that are in the main rather understaffed. It seems rather rough to be hard on those who are doing the best that they can when there are simply a lot of customers and not a lot of people to serve them.
Ideally, one gives reviews of things that one is experiencing for the first time, or something where one has new thoughts about them since one has examined or experienced before. There are certainly times where my whole impression of something changes after I have experienced it once, but once I am a regular at something then I tend not to think of much in the way of change unless the menu of a place changes and that which I used to get I no longer can, but must find some sort of item I like almost as much as what I previously enjoyed. As someone who tends to be a regular at place precisely because I am a creature of habit, this tends to be something I do not appreciate, but unless a place changes itself drastically or significantly for the worse, my opinion of them is not likely to change too much.