Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

LETTERS

Why use the little red book?

October 22, 2003

David Shaw's column on the unreliability of Zagat dining guide restaurant ratings ("Can You Believe Zagat? Not Always," Oct. 15) inspired 140 letters: 112 agreed with Shaw; 18 responded negatively, most defending a favorite restaurant; and 10 were mixed.

*

I couldn't agree with you more. Many years ago, voting took more effort, as voting was allowed only by mail, compared with today, with voting available online. Now, any restaurant owner can send out a chain e-mail to 40 of his or her closest friends and get great ratings.

Keith Yang

Encino

*

EXCELLENT piece on the new Zagat guide. I live in the South Bay and could not fathom how Restaurant Christine in Torrance and Gina Lee's Bistro in Redondo Beach could be so highly rated.

Unfortunately, I rarely get to eat outside the South Bay and I was actually almost starting to believe that L.A. restaurants were really that bad.

Alex Lee

Torrance

*

THANK you so much for pointing out this consistent problem with the Zagat guide. My husband and I sat through a dreadful meal at Christine's after being lured by that inflated score. We don't think our well-meaning but exceedingly average local restaurants should get the same scores as, for example, the Water Grill.

Noelle Giuliano

Rolling Hills Estates

*

While I appreciate your comments that my restaurant is "pleasant and thoroughly decent," I take exception to your conclusion that Derek's is not excellent or fantastic as described in Zagat.

Many of my customers are sophisticated people whose lives are surrounded by excellence. They can't be fooled and I wouldn't even want to try. I've dedicated my life as a restaurateur to provide the best possible dining experience and I'm honored and gratified that my clientele agrees.

Derek Dickenson

Owner, Derek's

Pasadena

*

I have participated in the Zagat Survey twice, including this year. It has always been clear to me about the built-in bias in Zagat's, but rather than treating it as a limitation, I simply try to adjust. I know from experience that a food rating of 14 in a Paris restaurant is often better than a 22 in Phoenix. So, I agree with your main point.

I do not, however, agree with your assessment of Christine. In more than a dozen lunches and dinners there, I have always had interesting food, fairly priced, with professional service.

Dan White

Manhattan Beach

*

I find Zagat's rankings of Chinese restaurants similar to the phenomenon you described with barbecue places. For example, Yang Chow is listed as the best restaurant in Chinatown. I know Chinatown has seen better days, but there are better places there than Yang Chow, which I consider very good Americanized Chinese food, but not truly authentic.

Larry Kaplan

Silver Lake

*

I'm sorry you had to trash two of the South Bay's decent restaurants in order to make a very valid point about how food rating results are skewed in Zagat's.

I've been eating at both Restaurant Christine and Gina Lee's Bistro for years, and I've never had a food experience like the one you describe. I agree that they don't deserve as high a food rating as restaurants like Melisse, Matsuhisa, etc., but there was no need to carve them up.

We do live in a "gastronomic wasteland" in the South Bay -- so leave the few decent restaurants we have alone!

Nora Perren

Torrance

*

Evaluating restaurants, like reviewing movies, is a job for qualified experts, not a popularity contest.

John Pleshette

Hollywood

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|