1/2 Star - Poor. Not recommended This is considered to be unsatisfactory and should be avoided.
1 Star - Average or mediocre. Has not achieved a level above other similar restaurants in its class.
2 Stars - Above Average. A good restaurant, above most restaurants in its class.
3 Stars - An excellent restaurant, usually a destination worth the extra distance to travel to.
4 Stars - Best in Class. An exceptional rating given to the top restaurant in its class and geographic area.
The Executive Chef - The Executive Chef and his/her talents and ability to control the food ingredients and sourcing.
The chef's qualifications and experience including the chef's formal culinary education and where and who they honed their culinary skills under.
Also, does the chef have any industry wide acclaimed credentials that are setting a high bar for others to aspire to.
Quality of ingredients - The source of ingredients used in menu preparation. High value is placed on the use of fresh farm to table seasonal ingredients or from sustainable agriculture systems and methods. Value is also given to the use of rare or uncommon ingredients not readily available in supermarkets.
Food Preparation - Does the food preparation respect the quality of the ingredients. When quality ingredients are used, do they shine through the preparation or are inferior ingredients enhanced with the use of heavy sauces?
The level of originality - Does the menu reflect originality and the chefs unique style?
Service - Based on the hostess, sommelier, wait staff and" bus staffs". Are they well trained, polished, welcoming, anticipatory, and knowledgeable? if wine is served, do they have a non-pretentious sommelier that is knowledgeable and helpful.
Ambiance/Decor - Reflects an investment in a restaurants concept, attractiveness, scenic views, etc., and in updating and maintaining a clean and fresh look
Amenities - Table presentations, rest rooms, bar service, parking, and more.
With over 20,000 restaurants in New Jersey, it would be an impossible task to create and keep-up with an informative, in-depth analysis of a large number of restaurants.
Restaurant consumer posting platforms, such as Yelp, etc., do a decent job with one & two star restaurants, where consumers tend to post short, cursory, anecdotal comments about a one nights experience with food taste, cost, ambiance, and service. The downside is that reviews are written by people who aren't culinary experts, and fast-food restaurants such as McDonald's are listed alongside high end, upscale restaurants.
Consequently, we have chosen to focus on upscale restaurant reviews that are not adequately represented by consumer posting platforms.
Chef-Inspired Fine Dining:
Chef-Inspired Casual Dining:
It must be acknowledged that dining patrons, based on personal preferences, tend to have specific views what constitutes a quality, average, or poor restaurant. If their mind set and experience doesn't fall in line with our review/analysis, then they are likely to disagree. This is to be expected.
It is not uncommon for restaurant owners to disagree with our restaurant reviews. This is certainly understandable. However, this is a service for our viewers who seek a brief summary based on an independent analysis of a restaurants performance.
Many of these restaurant owners also say that they don't take much stock in restaurant reviews. For the most part, they are correct. They shouldn't rely on a review from just one restaurant critic, or a review from a popular diner comment driven restaurant review site. Despite this, they are quick to put up the plaques at the entrance of their restaurant that provide favorable commentary from either a single restaurant critic or popular restaurant review site, even though the review maybe dated, (from past chefs and management) or is not arrived through a careful analysis of what the savvy dining public has to say.
While we attempt to do extensive research and analysis to ensure the most objective and representative review of a restaurant, often times we consider input from restaurant patrons, restaurant management, PR firms, and other sources that may have a stake in the game. Similar to movie and book critics, our reviews should be taken as informed opinion and not fact.