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Philly Mag Critic Throws Shade on the Star Rating System

Calling it "stupid" and "broken".

Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

Last week, Philadelphia magazine gave Stargazyglowing three-star review. And after noticing this comment:

So what about this doesn't say four stars? The fact that it's stuff-yourself delicious, worth going out of your way for, has value or that each of your experiences has been a win? Sounds like a straight flush to me. A rarity for Philadelphia, or anywhere for that matter.

Sincerely,
A Confused Glutton

Philly Mag critic, Jason Sheehan, explained why he hates the star system, but uses it because it's the publication's tradition to do so. And like many of Sheehan's posts, you may not completely agree with his thought-process, but at the very least, it's a great read.

The answer is simple. Stars (or bells or thumbs or forks or any other kind of rating system) are stupid, subjective short-hand added almost entirely as a tl;dr for people too lazy to read actual words. I've known a lot of critics in the nearly 15 years that I've been reviewing restaurants and not one of them ever had a defense for them more nuanced than "we use them because we use them."

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