In an article today, Bon Appetit's Andrew Knowlton asked some of the most respected food critics across the nation what they thought of Yelp.
Now, some may have thought this question would result in a good old fashioned rumble a la West Side Story or Anchorman (we would obviously play the part of Will Ferrell.) But you know what? We really can get along!
San Francisco Chronicle's Michael Bauer noted that "There's room for everyone. All these voices create buzz and increase interest in restaurants. While there's a lot of white noise out there, the most cogent voices will emerge." Meanwhile, LA Weekly's Jonathan Gold mused that Yelp is a great resource for discovering cuisines and gems you may never have thought of before: "[For] the first time in history, it is possible to discover what Taiwanese teenagers in Hacienda Heights think of a restaurant in Hacienda Heights aimed at Taiwanese teenagers. How could that not be useful to the dialogue?" And an award goes to Miami New Times's Lee Klein for pulling out a Marx Brothers reference: "I think it was Groucho Marx who said that if 10 out of 10 people tell you you're dead, you had better lie down. If 10 out of 10 yelpers/bloggers agree that a restaurant is good or bad, you can pretty much take it to the bank."
But perhaps Atlanta Magazine's Bill Addison had the best insight in that he "looks for those who write strong prose and who bring a sense of trustworthiness to their critiques. Employed critics and independent bloggers alike eventually distinguish or discredit themselves with their audience, and I trust that readers can--and do--form their own conclusions."
What we loved the most about this round-up is that the majority advised what we've always said: Take each review with a grain of salt and look at the collective whole; there are going to be some reviewers that speak to you and some who don't, just as there are certain critics whose tastes or writing you prefer over others. Not everyone is going to agree -- and that's OK.You can read more about what dozens of critics thought of Yelp here, or watch the man, the myth, the legend, No Reservations's Anthony Bourdain and his take on Yelp below: