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Unpretentious Palate

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About Our Reviews

You’re likely wondering how we review restaurants, and where the stars come from. Our goal is to be as transparent as possible, so here’s how we do it.

They’re not based on free meals. Comped media meals let the restaurant know you’re coming, which enables them to give you an experience better than a regular diner might, and makes you feel guilty when you say bad things about them. If we do take a free meal — say, doing a meeting with the owner or for a special event — we won’t let that experience factor into our review.

We won’t review them until they’ve been open a while. There are bound to be some difficulties when a restaurant opens. We’ll likely visit during those first few months to give you a diary entry, but our full review won’t be given until at least the three-month mark.

They’re not tied to advertising. See any ads here? Nope. We went with a subscription-based model so we don’t have to worry about hurting our income when we have to tell some hard truths about a place.

Not all high-star restaurants are fine dining. We don’t compare fast casual spots to white tablecloth restaurants, because you can find good food in all kinds of places. Our star rating is based on how well that concept achieves what its best could be.

We’ll visit more than once. Each restaurant gets three visits before we write a review. We were always bad at math, but I’m pretty sure one data set leads to bad conclusions. We’ll probably do more than three visits to make up our minds, but three is our minimum.

I (Kristen) am not anonymous. Yeah, I know, the old-school writers wore crazy costumes. But I can’t get the stories I want to share with you first if I’m not interacting with chefs, bartenders, servers, owners, etc. on a daily basis. Dinner reservations won’t be made in my name, though, unless I’m arranging dinner for my brother’s birthday or something.

We take your reviews into consideration. If your experiences are different than mine, I’m going to investigate and adjust.

There are no five-star restaurants. Why? Because while there are a few places that come close, I haven’t found a place yet that does everything perfectly every time. And we’re not going to help places get there without pointing out what can be better.

And that’s how we do it! Any questions? Did I forget something? Let me know at kristen@unpretentiouspalate.com!

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