Everybody loves food, no?

If you don’t believe me, just scroll through a few dozen Instagram profiles and you’ll find that people love food so much they’ll use precious, limited characters in their bio, to say how much they love food or call themselves a “foodie.”

Such Tom-foolery is usually followed by “travel” and “free spirit.” Oddly enough, I suppose I can identify with those adjectives…

But, then again, who can’t?

What separates me and my reviews will be discussed in this compilation of complete and incomplete sentences. My aim is to entertain and provide value.

Feel free to live vicariously through me as I travel, eat great food, meet awesome people and post crazy cool pics on Instagram. Ask anybody close to me and they’ll tell ya it’s quite difficult to keep up with me.

But, if you’d be so interested, the best way to keep up with my daily ventures is SnapChat (@NLaToof) and Instagram stories.

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A few Tennessee friends sharing a meal at Texas de Brazil in downtown Nashville, on my birthday! Pounds of meat were consumed. (Jan 30, 2015)

As a (self-proclaimed) restaurant critic, it’s about much more than the food. For me, a great dining experience is about the atmosphere, the service, the quality of the people serving you, the location (‘raunts with a good view will probably always score a bit higher), use of social media and finally the food.

Obviously, the food will make or break a review but if a place can hit a home run in all six categories, it’s sure to make one fine “Nick’s Picks!”

I will attempt to keep the review short and too the point utilizing the following criteria. I hope you enjoy the reviews and that they can bring you some sort of value.

Scoring

Scores will be made on the 10 point scientific scale with decimals. Any rounded score will be considered a rookie score and not taking too seriously. It probably also means that I wrote the review while jet-lagged and/or intoxicated. Nonetheless, I don’t foresee this happening all too often.

Score of 1-3.9
God-awful. If a restaurant receives a score in this range, they’ll wish they never let me come in. With such a low score, the food wouldn’t be worth giving to your dog.

Now, I live in Los Angeles and some people’s dogs eat better than my friends back home in Northeast Texas, no offense guys. I probably wouldn’t even finish my food at a place warranting such a piss poor score.

But, you better believe, that I would certainly not send back my food or break the Cardinal Rule!

Score of 4-6.9
While a step up, a restaurant receiving this score is one I’ll probably not visit ever again. I’ll probably finish the meal at this one but won’t be happy about it because it’ll be viewed as wasted macros… sad face.

Places with outstanding service but piss-poor food will more than likely fall into this category…

Score of 7-8.9
Solid score for sure! Probably not too many things here that could be improved on. Really just nit-picky stuff. A score within this range is a great score and should be a serious  consideration

Score of 9-9.9
I wouldn’t expect too many scores within this range. This is top notch and damn near perfection in all areas! Very hard to do but a place that can pull it off, will be well rewarded with the “Ole LaToof Stamp of Approval.”

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You’re not crazy. It’s not a video. Just a screenshot snagged by a friend who captured this hedonistic sushi ravaging on SnapChat.

The Criteria

1. Atmosphere
What does the restaurant feel like? Is it cramped or comfortable? Loud or quiet? Romantic or casual? I wouldn’t count on too many romantic restaurants, as my love-life has been quite non-existent, as of late.

What? Been busy. Sorry. Plus, I always get in trouble when I share my love life on the internet. I’ve learned my lesson and will do my best not to get myself into any more trouble.

2. Service
Was the waiter/waitress friendly? Did they try to make jokes that weren’t funny? Did they dramatize menu items with words/phrases like: amazing, best you’ve ever eaten, wonderful,

Really?? Is that aioli (AKA spicy mayo) really full of wonder??

Now, don’t get me wrong. If the server uses words or phrases like these it won’t hurt the score too much and could make it a nice topic of conversation for the table, bringing further enjoyment to the meal. However, in most cases, that will be a stretch.

3. View / Ambiance
I’m an absolute sucker for a great view. If I can have a view of a mountain, ocean, city skyline, I’m going to be one happy diner. I’ll certainly appreciate the view no matter what but it’ll hardly make up for shitty service, bad atmosphere, or poor food.

4. Social Media
Come on. I mean, it’s 2017 after all. If you’re not on Instagram, you don’t fucking exist. That’s the bottom line. If I can’t make a reservation without speaking to a human being, I’m probably not gonna eat at your place.

Step up your game and start acquiring customers in the most cost affective way there is (at least for now).

5. Food / Drink
It should go without saying, but the food needs to be good! All the other stuff is complimentary and highlights a solid meal. Not sure what else to say here. So, I added the previous two sentences to make it look better. 🙂

6. Price
While the food may be great, price is always a factor. Nothing grind’s my gears like leaving a restaurant hungry. So, places that over-charge for small portions will certainly be deducted. I’m certainly not against fine dining but the portions should be reasonable. I mean $44.97 for a 4oz piece of seabass is a bit absurd…

Here I am enjoying a typical meal of eggs and bacon, cooked with butter. The two pretty girls by my side belong to two of my hardest working clients. We work hard and eat well!

Here I am enjoying a typical meal of eggs and bacon, cooked with butter. The two pretty girls by my side belong to two of my hardest working clients. We work hard and eat well!

Other Notable Factors

***Company – who I shared the meal with
***Context – reason for my travel
***Workout Day?

In order to give the most unbiased review possible, I will follow the following guidelines:

1. Must be my first time eating at the restaurant.
This will ensure that I have no biases and give it a score based on sentimental previous experiences.

2. I will make this restaurant’s meal my one meal for the day. (Dinner: 4:30 – 7:30 PM)
This will even the playing field and allow me to enter the restaurant with relatively the same level of hunger. Yes, one meal a day!

For those new to my methods, follow the link above. I break down why and how I only (typically) eat once a day.

3. Menu Selection – “When In Rome…”
It’s damn near impossible for me to turn down two items if they are on the menu:

1. Sea Bass
2. Crab Cakes

Although, location is everything!! I probably won’t get either one if we’re not at least in an ocean-bordering state.

Similarly, I’ll reserve most of my red-meat selections for my home state of Texas.

I’ll limit my BBQ choices to the fine states of Tennessee, North Carolina, and Texas.

I’ll limit sushi consumption to ocean-bordering states, with California and Florida being the priority sushi states. Although, I’ll entertain the idea in the Northeastern states (i.e. New York, New Jersey, etc).

Mexican food will be strictly limited to California and Texas, with rare exceptions being made on a very, very, very good recommendation. I’m talking Guy Fieri good.

Cheesesteaks sandwiches will be limited to the city of Brotherly Love.

Absurd Claims

Places making claims such as “worlds best cup of coffee,” “best t-bone steak in _______”(insert name of city here),

This could go one of two ways, if it’s written on the window or on the menu, that will be considered “official” and something that the restaurant stands behind. In which case, the critique will be taken significantly more serious.

Although I am one to be quite dramatic, I hate these types of claims. Personally, I am so dramatic to make fun of all the things the world likes to dramatize. Kind of like Mark Wahlberg’s character in “The Other Guys.”

In today’s world, everything is a “Big Announcement” and everybody is “so excited” and/or “doesn’t want you to miss out,” and/or would like to share this opportunity with 5 2/3 people who have the following criteria:

  • ages 22.33 – 35.78 (because screw old people)
  • want to make $0.25 – $75,231 extra per month working at home (because $1 mil is too much to ask for)
  • must drink more coffee than water on a daily basis and post about it on social media, especially on Monday
  • have one of those “stay calm & _____” shirts

Whether you choose to believe me or not (about my drama statement), I care not. And, if you want me to prove to you that I do it out of fun and irony, I can go back to my introverted self.

But I don’t think you want that.

Because then, you won’t be getting any restaurant reviews written in primarily sentence fragments with the occasional F-Bomb thrown in.

I believe that there is nothing more effective, for emphasizing points and/or adding shock-value, than a well placed and delivered F-Bomb.

Sounds like an all around loss to me…

Final Thoughts

I use “and/or” a lot… I know…

I understand that once this becomes a bit more popular, I’ll have people sending me requests to review certain restaurants. Why I’ll be more than happy to get some feedback, I won’t be able to visit every restaurant, requested. Those that are more frequently requested will certainly move up the queue quicker and made a bit more of a priority.

When I travel, I’ll probably ask you guys for recommendations. Be sure to follow me on all the social platforms Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. I’ll be sharing all my content there and engaging with you guys as well.

My reviews will be tough but it’s better that way. I’ll shoot it to you straight and cut out the bullshit. Generally speaking, a score of 7 or higher will be a very respectable score!

As always, post your comments or questions below and feel free to share this article and all of my articles with everyone you know and even the “friends” you’ve never met on your Facebook, especially those who just signed up yesterday and graduated from high school and college on the same day!

Thanks for reading!!

Ole LaToof out!

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