An excellent topic that Amy & I discuss every time we find some RF potential in an unreviewed place…I agree with much of what’s been said, and again, it depends on the place, how often I can get there, and my first experience. Sometimes we walk into a place and know immediately that we want to review it (but will we? that depends on the food) — it just exudes RF. Others, one bite of the food and we know, "This is awesome and we want RF to know about this place!" Based in CT/MA/ME but having roots in both CA/AZ/NM and NC/SC/GA, we tend to visit unreviewed places 2-3 times, sometimes to get more pics of different items (this comprises most of our reviews). But if we’re traveling, one visit is sometimes enough (e.g. Val’s Burgers in Hayward, CA), especially if there are no RF-reviewed places on that section of the map. We do lots of research before even getting in the car, as we pour through others’ reviews/references and trust some opinions (RF.com) over others (TripAdvisor, Yelp).
Unlike Davydd, I’d be the first to tell anyone where NOT to eat, and I’ll say so in a review, too — a review that’s mostly positive, however. Even my favorite places have off days, but I’ll always say so in a positive way.
And there are yet other places that I really, really want to love — the RF potential is off the charts — but the food is so consistently mediocre that I can’t bring myself to spend the time to review it. I’d definitely talk about those in a trip report, but that’s all. This gray area is one of the reasons I love writing logbooks so much: it’s already been reviewed formally, and I’m just adding my two cents about my visit.
Honestly, our opinion of this issue changes a little with every place we visit! [:)] Chris