Tom Sietsema’s ratings code

October 13, 2011
Stars Key

Ratings are based primarily on food quality but take into account service and ambiance. Restaurants that earn no stars are rated poor.

* (one star) Satisfactory

Restaurants that are useful to know about if you are nearby; they may have only a few dishes or a single quality, such as a view or atmosphere, to distinguish them.

** (two stars) Good

Restaurants with generally appealing cooking, service and settings; they tend to be worth driving across town for.

* * * (three stars) Excellent

Rewarding destinations, no matter where you’re coming from; they typically blend high-quality cooking with the environs.

* * * * (four stars) Superlative

An unsurpassed dining experience; these restaurants do what they do extraordinarily well.

Decibels key:

Quiet: Under 60 decibels

Conversation is easy: 60-70 decibels

Must speak with raised voice: 71-80 decibels

Extremely loud: Over 80 decibels

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