The little book that long ago helped hook us all on using a “star” rating system for restaurants is getting low marks these days.
It’s the 100-year-old Michelin Guide to Britain and Ireland, and it has been labeled “increasingly irrelevant” by Wall Street Journal writer Paul Levy in a chatty inside-baseball kind of story. (“I question the three stars given to the [London] Waterside Inn since 1985, if only because it has never been as good as the two-star Gavroche, which is run by a different branch of the Roux family.”)
Levy’s observations made me wonder where the art of restaurant reviewing is headed next. There’s a generation of diners who have only relied on consumer reviews as the way to pick eateries, rather than the thoughts of reviewers, that is, professional journalists who write about restaurants.
I predict that soon we will all use instant services that mimic Pandora and Genius. Algorithms will sort our choices and suggest places to try.
That means there will also be a lot of people lying to their restaurant-picking service just the way they mislead Netflix. (Did you like Debbie Does Dallas? Nope, hated it.) Who is going to admit that the drive-thru Hotdog Hut is her idea of heaven?
Michelin may be outdated, but at least it didn’t put us on the spot.