The Indy's website allows you to comment on our restaurant reviews (and all our stories), and also to write your own. Simply log onto our homepage, then click the food and drink section and search reviews or restaurants by name. Scroll down, look for the comment and review buttons, and let 'er rip.
A reader recently wrote in asking what we look for when we review a restaurant. We're happy to share a brief overview of our philosophy, and humbly suggest that you might consider similar things when you dine out.
Though we have no formal checklist, we tend to look first at the basics: décor, service, presentation, timeliness and food quality. From your approach to the door, to your greeting and seating, does anything seem awry? Is your waiter obsequious? Your wait lengthy? Silverware unpolished, or something unkempt? Is the door drafty, or is music blaring? Are you comfortable?
Among other queries: Are the food temperatures spot-on? Do all the plates arrive at the same time? Is the dish pretty, and did the kitchen have the sense to wipe the plate rims clean? Did the menu description match what you received? How does it compare to renditions of the same item elsewhere? Would you recommend your dish to a friend? Is there a dominant or out-of-balance flavor? Do the ingredient combinations make sense? Ultimately, is it worth the price to you?
With very few exceptions, we pay two visits to each place we review, so we can test consistency and the potential for different service points or examples of food quality. We attempt to bring an open mind and neutral position, and to take into account the perceived concept of a restaurant; in other words, we don't judge a gut-bomb, hole-in-the-wall Mexican joint with the same standards as we evaluate a dining facility at The Broadmoor.
In the end, we try to write fairly and honestly, because cheerleading does a disservice to everyone: readers who spend time and money on disappointing experiences, and restaurateurs who can't be prodded to improve what's lacking.