Write Your Own Restaurant Review

16:00 March 03, 2016
By: Phil LaMancusa

Okay, logically and intellectually, I am not, I repeat, not a superstitious person. But you know .. one side of my brain thinks that it’s kind of not such good luck to tell people what restaurants I do or don’t like, or tell which place I saw the waiter picking his nose or scratching his crotch, or where the waitresses with open shirt fronts and short skirts serve food that they’ve never tasted and don’t like anyway and read daily specials from a pad after giving you the “hi, I’m Heather and I’ll be your ‘server’ tonight” spiel. If you ask me, and nobody has yet, waiters in steak houses should come to the table with blood dripping from their fangs. Waitresses in vegetarian restaurants should wear Birkenstocks and have braided armpits, and “servers” in seafood houses should be wearing hip boots. AND NONE of them should be allowed to stand outside and smoke. But what do I know? 

I don’t know why I’m reluctant to tell you where not/to eat, or even which side of the brain it is that screams “danger, Will Robinson!” when I start to recommend a restaurant, approach a ladder, spill salt, or see the number thirteen. I do know that the left side of the brain thinks that that kind of thinking is moronic, and wants no part of it. But, there it is and I’ve got to live with them both.

So, in an attempt to assuage the two sides of the brain that will, I feel, forever remain strangers (did I hear “dichotic siblings”?) AND my Editor, I will not write a restaurant review .. you will. I provide the outline to write your own restaurant review; just like the pros, you’ll Xerox it and give it to all your friends, and maybe send one to me, c/o my Editor. Ergo, you’re writing, this review, not really me. Ready Po-boys?

What I’ll do is give you a rough outline with multiple-choice answers and a series of blanks to fill in. Don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of it soon enough, and before you know it you’ll be applying for a job as a restaurant critic, just like I did (but that’s another story). Here goes.

TITLE: Snappy title and name of a restaurant – i.e (a) Harrah’s – Good food at a casino?  Or (b) Café Burning Desire – The reoccurring features of a Cuisine from hell


TEXT: A visit to (name of restaurant) is like a trip

  1. Down memory lane
  2. Into a combat zone
  3. To a country villa
  4. Into the bowels of my cousin Bernie’s refrigerator


This (give location here) Street

  1. Bistro
  2. Grease palace
  3. Tax write off
  4. Slum,

Is a study in

  1. Early Spanish architecture
  2. Gastrokitsch
  3. Bad taste
  4. ‘60s flashback decorating


And we were duly

  1. Impressed
  2. Surprised
  3. Taken aback
  4. Disgusted


Our waiter (name here: i.e. Rex), dressed in

  1. A Greek sailor outfit
  2. A gold lame tuxedo
  3. Thrift store rejects
  4. Early Bob Marley attire



  1. Attentive and courteous
  2. Surly and abrasive
  3. From a non English speaking country
  4. Obviously medicated


Upon his/her suggestion we started with (first course here, i.e. Spanish pate on blue corn toast points) which we all agreed was reminiscent of

  1. Sunrise on the Seine
  2. Lunch at a high school cafeteria
  3. A study in miniature food portions
  4. Frito pie


The small but

  1. Eclectic
  2. Overpriced
  3. Naïve
  4. Food Stained,


Wine list yielded a provocative (wine here i.e. Pinot Nunzio) with a nose likened to

  1. Cinnamon and chocolate
  2. The La Brea tar pits
  3. Grapefruit and tangerine
  4. A wet dog


With overtures of

  1. Oak and early fruit
  2. Grass and chamomile
  3. Italian salad dressing
  4. Horse liniment.


Our entrees arrived and we noticed how adept the chef was at

  1. Creating a juxtaposition of textures and colors
  2. Using that orange wedge/parsley sprig garnish
  3. Getting his fingerprints (all ten) around the edges of the plates
  4. Serving food that had gone out of style thirty years ago


A duck with sauce

  1. A l’orange
  2. All around
  3. By the pound
  4. On the ground


Caught the attention of the diners even at the nearby tables, as the waiter

  1.  Deftly de-boned and thinly sliced it
  2. Managed to keep it from sliding off the plate (with his thumb)
  3. Mistook it for veal piccata
  4. Had more sauce on him than on the duck.


Poulet a la

  1. Arkansas
  2. Celestine
  3. Drano
  4. Mode,


Was served

  1. On a bed of arugula
  2. With feathers attached
  3. To the wrong person
  4. Face down in a pool of gravy


To the

  1. Amazement
  2. Delight
  3. Horror
  4. Revulsion


Of all, while the Pike in

  1. Wine sauce
  2. Biblical proportions
  3. A boil and serve bag
  4. Oil slick



  1. Murmurs
  2. Gasps
  3. Screams
  4. Cries



  1. Appreciation
  2. Incredulity
  3. Horror
  4. Fainting Women


We concluded our meal with a salad

  1. Of baby lettuces
  2. Of smothered greens
  3. That should have been served either
  4. Obviously made days ago


And a cheese board from

  1. Local farms
  2. Third world countries
  3. The back of the refrigerator
  4. Hell.


The flaming Café Diabolica was a hit, especially when

  1. The house lights were dimmed
  2. It was made at the table
  3. The waiter set himself on fire
  4. The smoke alarm went off


Overall we would give (name of restaurant)

  1. Two stars
  2. Six months
  3. A wide berth
  4. The phone number of a support group,


And would suggest our readers

  1. Visit soon
  2. Warn your friends
  3. Forget you heard about it
  4. Avoid it like the plague


Signed: Thank you,

  1. Julia Childs
  2. Groucho Marx
  3. Michael Jackson
  4. Your name here.


P.S. Feel free to

  1. Use
  2. Adapt
  3. Destroy
  4. Ignore


This form to suit your individual

  1. Tastes
  2. Motives
  3. Mischief
  4. Bird Cage.



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