How the Stars Align
The ambiance is the initial area of engagement between a restaurant and its guests. Upon entry, the overall theme should be communicated and the decor should reiterate the concept of the restaurant. I love to step into a place that immediately draws me into a specific aesthetic. Whether it be lighting, color story or the view from the building; the mood should be clear by the time you take your seat.
Service is a driving factor in deciding whether a restaurant is a recommendation worthy place or not. I want to be treated like a valued guest from the valet stand to the farewell at the end of my meal. A biggie for me is having a server who is knowledgeable about the dishes on the menu and able to truthfully recommend pairings, substitutions and tie breakers when I'm unable to decide on a dish or cocktail.
For me, the presentation has to be on point! Before we begin to literally eat our food, we eat with our eyes. You should be able to imagine the party on your taste buds when your waiter approaches your table! The plating needs to be so dope that you just have to share a pic with your Instagram fam! One of the restaurants I'm most excited about on my bucket list is Barton G's. Their food presentation takes your senses to over the top levels! I can't wait to check that place off my list in the near future!
This should go without saying, but the quickest way to subtract stars from a dining experience is to lack cleanliness. In my opinion, this goes for the cutlery, the dining area, and even the restrooms (yes the restrooms). This all factors in. I can't genuinely enjoy my meal if I keep thinking about how unkept the bathrooms were when I went to wash my hands. I need to see that the sanitation of the establishment is held to the same standard as the other elements.
Great lighting and pretty coasters can only go so far, How does the food taste? The restaurant has to seal the deal with the taste of the food. After the pictures are posted to social media, the question everyone asks is “Was the food good?” A restaurant can't make it to 5-star status without a finger lickin' good selection. I mean it's kinda the whole point!