for quite some time i've posted food reviews here @ my blog. i also post them at sites like fresno famous and yelp. lately, a revamped version of taste fresno (see sidebar for link) launched, and it has my interest piqued.
now, i'll openly admit that the new taste fresno isn't my favorite. it has a very nice look to it, and feels very accessible, which is good. i really like that james is trying to put together a community cookbook based on local recipes. what i don't particularly care for is the review aspect of the site. there are pages and pages of reviews, which is good, especially for a relatively new, and small site. however, the site only shows four reviews per page. and, when you click on a review, it's solely the review from one user. that's standard, although it seems that other sites compile & average the scores given. i will say that most of the restaurants reviewed have only been done by one person, so there wouldn't be that many to compile. what i do like about the reviews is that they are all very honest. no one is trying to blow smoke up a restaurant's rear, or be overly critical. and, that honesty, if it keeps up, may keep me coming back to taste fresno.
you see, i love yelp. they're big. they're everywhere. they've ironed out kinks. but, there are also a lot jerks on yelp. really, here in fresno, it seems like there are regular posts from people who live in "big" cities that feel the need to talk crap about fresno in their review of a restaurant. "i never expected to find good ______ in podunk fresno," or "i'm surprised that they have (insert some ethnic food here) restaurants in fresno," or, i remember after the meet in the middle event how many travelers commented on the quality of the gay nightclubs and friendly establishments in this hick town. unless i want to flag these sophomoric reviews as abusive, there isn't much you can do to reply to the backhanded complements.
and now it seems that fresno yelp has developed it's own brand of a-hole. recently there have been several fresno yelpers that feel the need to constantly talk about how they know everything, that their palette is so refined, and that other yelpers (and fresnans) are idiots. this seems especially true of sushi restaurant reviews lately. this one reviewer has posted about several sushi restaurants, maybe most of them in town. and, in every review he goes on about how he knows sushi, how sushi has been bastardized and americanized and how sushi in fresno is about oversized roles and sauces and blah blah blah. these same statements are literally in every review done by this guy. however, his condescension and expertise don't just extend to sushi. this review is a jackhole of all trades & foods. and now, it seems that his reviews have rubbed off on another sushi "expert" who is throwing in very similar assessments in his reviews.
i know that no website or system are going to be perfect. i hope taste fresno continues to grow in reviews and is refined to be a little more usable, imho. i also hope that yelpers would stop thinking that they're some sort of real critic and just give honest review of the food and service of fresno restaurants.
UPDATE - i didn't realize that joan obra from the bee posted a write up of the site earlier today. seriously, i'm seven hours behind her. so, click over to the beehive and read what someone who is paid to think about these things thinks.