Welcome to another edition of the Red Pencil Diaries, where we sift through the litterbox that is everyone's favorite social review site to come up with the festering cat-turd reviews that lurk just below the surface.
Honestly, someone ought to invent a browser plug-in that searches for ellipses, misspellings, and phrases like "food poisoning" or "Now, if you know my mom…" and filters them out. The signal-to-noise ratio would skyrocket.
One can dream… in the meantime, here is this week's lot.
Renata C.'s 1-star review of Taco Maria:
The fish was amazing; the guacamole was amazing; the chips were not, and therefore Renata C. will never darken the doorstep of Taco Maria ever again. She is also never returning to Phuket Thai in HB, and thinks perhaps she should order something that's not pho at a pho shop. Do you ever get the feeling that perhaps Renata C. leaves restaurants behind her like so much culinary carnage?
2. Catherine Q.'s 2-star review of Arc:
The bartender–who is one of the best in the county, incidentally–is shaking the drink vigorously because that is how you get things like alcohol, citrus, and egg to play nicely together. You shake the hell out of it. It has nothing to do with attention; there's not much else to look at, because the restaurant is designed to focus attention on the kitchen and bar area.
Then there's the water. Catherine Q. was so upset by the infused water that she spent 28 percent of her entire review carping about it. Add to this the 14 words complaining about the soft couches and the low seats, despite the fact that there are normal benches and then very, very tall bar chairs, and you have a terrible, almost content-free review.
3. Jack B.'s 3-star review of Mugs Away Saloon:
Jack B. doesn't understand anything about south Orange County, that's for sure. He's obviously never seen the jacked-up diesel F250s on 35s flying down Crown Valley Parkway, never seen the fit, bored sons of the wealthy and their girlfriends looking for a place to behave badly. Jack B. is an L.A. boy, apparently not a gun owner, and apparently thinks every wealthy person ought to drink in some frou-frou cocktail bar with ferns and Fernet.
Son, even frou-frou cocktail bartenders don't drink in cocktail bars with ferns and Fernet. The dive bar is a place Americans go to be overserved and get into stupid chest-butting fights in the parking lot. (Not that I'd know, ahem.)
Still, this was a good read, it gave a decent feel for the place, and then it completely managed not to talk about anything they were served. Just like it should be for a dive bar, where you drink whatever is on special.
4. Felicia D.'s 3-star review of Blackmarket Bakery:
I'm not sure what the qualifications are to be a Yelp Elite; it seems to require that you be willing to go in some kind of marauding mob from business to business, demanding free food and generally making a complete pain in the patookus of yourself. It certainly doesn't require that you write good reviews, or that you even be able to write in decent English.
Setting aside the obvious problem–Blackmarket Bakery sells mousse cakes (dessert), not mouse cakes (vermin)–my biggest problem with this review was the unnecessary clarification that the counterperson was black. I can see saying it once, in case another Yelper gets the same newbie employee, but three times? Why?
Long reviews are not necessarily better, if they're dense and hard to read.
5. Ritha L.'s 1-star review of Time Out Tavern:
If you're going to pay someone in "New York" to write barely literate Yelp reviews of your business, you should probably inform them that 5 stars is better than 1 star.