The New Jersey food reviewers for the New York Times had a respectable star rating system: Extraordinary (4 stars), Excellent (3 stars), Very Good (2 stars), Good (1 star), Satisfactory (no stars).
Recently, however, the New York Times has abandoned the star system in New Jersey for the following new ratings:
Don’t Miss – Worth It – O.K. – Don't Bother
Apparently, “Joisy” restaurants don’t merit no serious culinary respect no more. “Don’t Bother”? “O.K.”? Show of hands, how many people want to rush on over to an “O.K.” restaurant? And, if a restaurant is really deemed “Don’t Bother,” why are you reviewing it? Not so long ago, it was an achievement to be selected for review by the New York Times. You had to at least be satisfactory to be in the running. For that matter, does “Worth It” get anyone excited? And what about “Don’t Miss?” Is the joint about to close?
Are we really supposed to take what they have to say seriously anymore?
Top ten signs The NY Times new rating system may not be working:
10. Top rating includes the word don’t.
9. Chain restaurants applaud New York Times for new beige word review concept.
8. Previously ranked three-star chef commits suicide after receiving new Don’t Miss rating.
7. Study shows pandemic of giant cement horses linked to Times O.K. rating.
6. Vince Lombardi turnpike rest-stop receives Worth It rating…high praise for spacious bathrooms.
5. Table of vegans receives preferential treatment over Times reviewer…at a steak house.
4. Chuck-E-Cheese rated a Don’t Miss. Times reviewer opines, “Ultimately satisfying our quest for the sublime.”
3. Wall Street billionaire abandons restaurant, organic farm, brewery, vineyard, theme park project after learning stars are gone.
2. New York Times reviewer requests a garden table and is lead out to a dark ally.
1. Jerseyans prefer mob rating system….To Die For, Freaking Great, Good as Mom’s, Forgetboutit and Are You F*ing Kidding Me!
And so…To the New York Times food reviewers: Review Za Restaurant of Pennington, New Jersey? Don’t bother. Your new ratings should be filed under new Coke.
Mark Valenza, Chef/Owner