The Restaurant Reviewer's Dilemma: How Soon Is Too Soon?


On the Washington Post’s website yesterday, a reader berated restaurant critic Tom Sietsema for a bad review of a hot new restaurant. “I would hope that you would reserve judgment on them fully, until they have a cycled through a year’s menu,” the reader wrote.

A year? Are you kidding me?

This is an issue we face here at Sacramento magazine: how long to give a new restaurant to find its rhythm before we critique it. Chefs and restaurant owners would love us to hold off while they iron out the kinks. (Believe me, every new place has kinks.) But readers want to know right away whether a hot new restaurant is worthy of their dining dollars. Personally, I come down on the readers’ side.