I’ve written more than 130 restaurant reviews, and received many votes on my reviews. Sometimes my friends ask me, why this restaurant is a 4 star and that one is a 5 star? So I want to answer the question here. I tried to stay consistent with my ratings and here is my rating standard for restaurants on Yelp:
Great authentic food. Authenticity is the most important thing when it comes to the difference between a 4 star restaurant and a 5 star restaurant. Serving regional cuisine is a plus, for a restaurant, instead of Mexican food, serves traditional Mexican food from Chiapas and Oaxaca; or a Chinese restaurant serves food that I’ve had millions of times cooked by my dad and mom at home in Changchun, China. For restaurants other than Chinese, Japanese and Mexican, I usually have some people from that region to determine its authenticity: I would rate an Indian restaurant 5 star only after several Indian friends said so, or a soul food restaurant 5 star when my African American friend said, “this is so good, I’ll take my parents here next time.”
Everything is great – food, atmosphere, service and price, but lacks authenticity. A Chinese restaurant with 4 star is still a great Chinese restaurant, and most people who are not from China probably give it 5 stars, but to me, there is always something missing. For example, a Lanzhou restaurant may have a Cantonese chef making hand pulled noodles – and it serves really great noodles, but with braised beef slices and beef broth, where all the Lanzhou hand pulled noodles I had in China were served in clear noodle soup with diced beef.
A OK – decent food and service, but nothing stands out.
Food was below average, and I’ve had much better ones else where.
Something about this place is seriously wrong, sloppy food, dirty plates, very long waiting time, rude staff, or even put additional charges on my credit card. These places are disasters, avoid at all cost!