Plating & presentation...Is it everything?

How much of a "stickler" are you about food presentation and plating? I know we "eat with our eyes" (as they say), but I find sometimes people focus way too much on the presentation of a dish rather than the actual taste and execution of the food. I know food slopped and splattered on a plate can be unappealing, but what's wrong with just putting the food on the plate without worrying *so much* about color and height and negative and positive space...? Yes, I appreciate it when the time is taken, but if it's not, I don't count it out and just conclude that the dish was "unsuccessful". I have, plenty of times, had a dish that was plated with a lot of care and attention to detail, but the actual food fell short. So it's not everything to me. How about you guys (and ladies)? Do you judge a dish but it's "cover"? Or let the food "speak for itself"?


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