Yelp! and Why I Loathe It

I know I have been a slacker – there is no excuse for it.  Perhaps absence made your heart grow fonder?

When it comes to choosing new places to try, I don’t put a whole lot of stock in the populace’s opinions of food.  Here in Vegas in the Review Journal’s “Best of” issue, Joe’s Crab Shack was named best seafood restaurant. Get the picture?  I don’t trust people I don’t know when it comes to their opinions on food.  If I know you love Joe’s Crab Shack and think it is expensive, I really don’t want to hear what you have to say about Bartolotta’s at the Wynn. And before you can say anything, yes, I know I am a snob.  We’ve already covered that.

So here are a couple of examples why, if you LOVE food, you should stop using Yelp:

  • Let’s just say I just opened my new restaurant and I want to get some people in the door.  I can call, email or otherwise contact everyone I know in the area to go on Yelp and write a review.  You never have to have eaten there.  I know this is a fact, because I just did it (and deleted the review).  I even overheard a new restaurateur TELLING friends, “Hey don’t forget to go on Yelp after we open the doors and write a good review.”  Accuracy?  I think not.
  • While dining out with a group of friends one night, the service was TERRIBLE.  The food however was very good.  One of the members of our party was in a snit about the whole experience and proceeds to say very loudly, “This place sucks!  I am going to tear them a new asshole on Yelp!” This person went on to decry the food which wasn’t the problem and made the bad service sound worse than it was. Authenticity?  I think not.
  • Everyone raved about China Mama and when I ate there the food was blah at best and the service was a little too perfunctory for me.  For a long time I refused to go back.  Then I got to thinking, “Maybe I just ordered the wrong thing?”  Yeah, that was it!  I love that place now.  Had I written a review of China Mama after one visit it would have gotten just 1 star. Professionals eat in a place at least three times before reviewing it, so what makes an amateur review after one experience worth anything?

So, for me and mine, I will continue to ask the opinions of people I respect and admire in the food world.  They know me, I know them and we know what each other like to eat.  Trust professionals if you are on vacation, don’t use Yelp.  I know for a FACT that if I trusted some online site full of amateurs to pick my vacay food and it sucked I’d be pissed off!  If you don’t care too much about your food, go ahead, keep on using Yelp. They love that shit!

If you are in Vegas and you want to see me do a live demo, go to the Springs Preserve on Saturday July 19th.  I will be joined by guest Chef Beni Velazquez.  We’ll be making hot weather cocktails and desserts to please a crowd.  Beni will be showing us how to make his Peach Sangria!

And just for  your amusement – THIS.