When people find out that we personally vet the user reviews on MP:Chicago, we get pretty varied responses, not always positive. We’re convinced, however, that what we do is essential. We see the underbelly, let us tell you. We see the bad reviews, the cruel reviews, the libelous reviews — and we save you from them! Having seen The Dark Knight this weekend, we’ve realized that essentially, we are Batman: we might not necessarily be the hero you want, but we are the hero you need. Allow us to share with you a story of the sorts of crap we protect you from on those mean streets of MP!
Recently, we got in this amazing, glowing user review for a steakhouse — all 5s, lots of exclamation points, a long explanation of detailed menu items and their prices. It was capped with a pretty intense exhortation: “i cannot say one bad thing about it! i love it and strongly recommend trying it!”
This smacked of shill to us, so we held off on accepting or rejecting the review until we had a little more context. Not ten minutes later — ten minutes! — in came another amazing review for this restaurant:
After hearing about [steakhouse] from few friends, it took me few weeks to finally find an evening and go to [steakhouse]. The food is superb and you shouldn’t go if you want a quick meal. The walls are red and the entire place is fabulously decorated. My rib eye was tender with a sumptuous sweet potato no need for butter or salt. Between few plates of t-bones, ribs, salmon and steaks, there wasn’t a scrap left on the table. If it wasn’t bad manners I would’ve picked up my plate and licked the bottom clean. Three hours later and I was blissfully stuffed to the gills. The service was also very friendly and professional. Definitely highly recommend!
Still a little shill-y, isn’t it? But you know, we are generous of spirit, and it was from a different IP address than the first one, so maybe this restaurant just had a really on night? Maybe these two reviews were from the two halves of a first-date couple that had a really terrific evening? So we’re about to post the user review, when thirteen minutes later we get this one, which is so freaking long that it is completely okay with us if you skip all this blockquoting and go right on to the next bit:
I ate at [steakhouse] a few weeks ago with my boyfriend upon a recommendation from a friend who said the “steak was to die for”. Being steak lovers we gave it a try. The seductive ambiance impressed us right away -colors of red and gold, ornate chandeliers and distinguished staff members encircled us. We started with the Sizzling Canadian Bacon which he loved and I liked. It was thick and flavorful (worth the $5 to try), the Crabcake was large and all crabmeat (no breadcrumb type fillers), the Classic Caesar was great (we both LOVED the dressing), the Sherry & Aged Gruyere Onion Soup was AMAZING- Differs from your traditional French Onion in all the right ways! The calamari was just average (we are not huge calamari fans, so you may disagree:). FYI: this is a lot of appetizers for two (but the left overs were great!) Ok, dinner: We split the 16oz. Bone-In Filet. I have never heard of “bone in for a filet?!, but we were told it has the most flavor this way- and they were right! Tender- Juicy- Cooked to Perfection- and Flavorful (they offer different sauces on the side for the steak, but I preferred it just the way it was- I believe he liked the [steakhouse] sauce). There is more..The Sides: You MUST get the 5 Cheese Truffle Mac (don’t miss out), we also got the Brussel Sprouts, which were loaded with bacon and the creamed spin. All three for $24 were great and nicely portioned. We clearly could not fit dessert, but I look forward to hearing how it was so post your review…..Enjoy!
Definitely a shill. Definitely a reject. BUT THEN:
I absoutely loved everything. Service=excellent. Food=delicious (from entrees to appetizers…and i must admit its the best mac&cheese; i ever had). Atmosphere=totally cool, comfortable, classy!!! Cant say one negative thing. I cant wait to go back and order up a few steaks and martinis!!!!
Okay people, it can end there. BUT NO. TEN MINUTES LATER THERE WAS ANOTHER. AND THEN ANOTHER. AND THEN ANOTHER.
All told, over the course of 24 hours, a total of twelve reviews came over the wire. All with across-the-board 5s. All with far more exclamation points than any human should be allotted in a lifetime. All straight in the trash.
Note to restaurateurs (and evildoers everywhere): We are watching you. We know. We will not let you win this war.
Note to our employers: Please let us start wearing a cape to work?
[Photo: Bat signal, via jtdgarlic’s Flickr]