We've been thinking about how we grade restaurants a lot lately, and wanted to see what you thought.
Currently, our weekly staff review on Serious Eats: New York assigns restaurants a grade: A for near-perfect, A- for pretty awesome, B+ for pretty good, B- for a qualified positive, etc. But we think there might be a better way to describe these scores, especially if we were to think about all the places we write about as having some kind of grade, not just our formal reviews, and possibly if it could be searchable.
One option is go the way of the New York Times and like-minded publications, and have a star system that works on an almost absolute metric (which sees, for example, a really successful fine dining restaurant as inherently more star-able than say a kick-ass pizza place). Recent Times critics seem to shaking up these ideas, though.
Another is to be more semantic: to rate places as Top Pick/Best in City or Class, Recommended, Recommended with Reservations, and Not Recommended. The idea is to score each restaurant against what it sets out to achieve, so a taco truck and a fine dining restaurant can both be Recommended or Top Pick if they're great at what they do. The Recommended category would be pretty large, possibly for better, possibly for worse.
If we were to assign stars (or SE logo-smiles), we wonder if that reads (and functions in peoples' minds) as too much like the formal newspaper system, or if we could make it our own.
What do you think? What kind of scoring system would be most useful to you?