Minutes after we mourned the disappearance of a star-system for rating L.A.’s restaurants, L.A. Weekly critic Besha Rodell appears to be rekindling the format in 2013. Not only that, but she’s even adding a fifth star to S. Irene Vibila’s discontinued Death Star four-star system, which created a black hole upon its disappearance. "The Weekly has traditionally eschewed a star system," Rodell writes, who felt liberated without the pressure of rating restaurants over the last few months. "But in light of the starless vacuum that exists in L.A. today, we believe one could only add value for our readers." Of course, the great Patric Kuh still stars his reviews in Los Angeles magazine, but the skies were mostly dark for our two weekly critics in 2012.
The ratings are spelled out, with five stars indicating a restaurant worthy of a flight "from New York," to whom we apparently must always seek approval, and rather than rush in courageously, torpedoes be damned, the critic rambles warns well ahead of time, "The most common ratings, though, will be two and three stars…[which] isn’t like getting a D in school."
Whatever the pain, we think it’s well worth it to bring back a dependable, quickly-digestible guide to where a restaurant lands or falls on its mission to feed us. Sure, star systems may not be flawless, and are at their worst rather reductive, but at least stars (or turkey legs or whatever one opts to use) can put a definitive punctuation mark on a review, eliminating the wishy-washy and clarifying cautious opinions.
Earlier: Can We Live Without Sherry’s Star System? [GS]