In light of mostly-negative reviews such as this one I wonder how the SeriousEats staff feels about the practice. In this case the restaurant was already a busy and respected place. Would the reviewer have hesitated if that were not the case? If the "bad review" could adversely affect a restaurant that other people enjoy?
I've noticed that other mostly-negative reviews here have been subtler, masked by noncommittal statements of how the food was interesting, or just describing ingredients rather than passing judgment.
Clearly part of this may be dependent upon the attitude of the particular reviewer, the writing style, and his or her relationship, if any, with the restaurant, the cuisine, and/or the proprietors.
But as the SE staff is "known" and they participate in food related events, their opinions matter. I don't know that it's a NYT style Zero Stars Kiss of Death or anything, but for certain places in certain niches it just might be.
So, to the SE staff -- how do you handle it?
To fellow SE yakkers -- how do you think they should handle it?
Personally I'd love for them to be ruthlessly honest at all times (including using a rating scale), but I realize that's not always reasonable or even always the best thing to do.
(P.S. This is not about the other reviewer's dilemma, which is overloading a good restaurant by printing a rave review. I don't think that's really a big problem.)