Members of the Yelp "Elite Squad" in New York City recently received a chiding e-mail asking them, among other things, to stop acting like greedy trolls; to stop freeloading the grub; to quit auctioning off their event RSVPs to the highest bidders; and to quit bringing their entire families to Elite Yelp events to sponge the edibles.
According to the Yelp website, Yelp restaurant "reviewers," especially the "Elite Squad," are supposed to be "the most passionate Yelpers that makes [sic] our community so funny, useful and cool."
In addition, Yelpers are expected to "always have lots of reviews of great local businesses and services, but more importantly the Yelp members who get in are known for having reviews that are insightful, engaging and personal (aka useful, funny and cool!)." There are an awful lot of people, however, who don't believe that Yelp reviews are any of those things, including, you might remember, Scott Parker, the chef at Table 6. We recently perused the restaurant reviews on the Denver Yelp site and came up with a little list of the five most ridiculous Denver Yelp restaurant reviews.
5. Category: Useful.
Bruce W. wrote about Sexy Pizza:
They overcharged me because I was drunk. That's some very non-sexy behavior. Unless Denver has the mf'r of all sales taxes, they clearly ripped me off. Pizza was decent, not sexy.
This short but succinct review is useful because it lets other Yelpers and the general public know that you can trod your sodden ass into any restaurant, be too hammered to read a bill or a menu, and still be given your shining moment via Yelp to review and star-rate any restaurant you want. Is this too much power for the common person to wield with impunity? Not if you've had enough to drink.
4. Category: Cool.
Oliver M. wrote about Japon:
Japon isn't bad, but it's not going to change your world. They have a long list of specialty rolls with some bizarre creations. I had the Montana roll and it was tasty, but I can't really say it was Japanese. Most disappointing thing are the non-sushi offerings. The salad was strange; it had tons of fresh mint in it. The gyoza were also kind of weird. I think Japon tried to make them fancy by using beef. I would have preferred the traditional pork. Another oddity of this place is that the sushi chefs and servers use a mix of Japanese and English greetings. Although I like the effort, it comes off strangely to yell thank you at customers. For some reason arigatougozaimashita doesn't sound as harsh. The worst part of the whole experience was the host. She was really snobby and acted like we were putting her out for asking for a table. I don't understand this treatment, even at high end restaurants. At local joints, it's even more unforgivable. Next time, I'll just grab a couple take out rolls and avoid the attitude and the yelling.
This review is definitely cool, because nothing in the wide expanse of the universe is cooler than an ignorant American sense of entitlement. The Montana roll didn't seem Japanese enough? The gyozas were weird? People spoke to you in English? I bet the hostess felt so guilty over not kissing your bottom enough that she just cracked and went hysterical at the end. We should all thank our individual gods and goddesses that Oliver M. had the wherewithal to codify his experience, otherwise other hostesses in other local restaurants might suffer the same guilt-ridden fate.
3. Category: Funny.
Drew O wrote about La Fondue:
This place does not even compare to the melting pot! food was slightly above average. Wait staff below average decor and atmosphere well below avg too. Ceiling tiles missing, uneducated and very slow waitstaff.
It's a good thing Drew O. managed to keep her sense of humor through what was an obviously taxing situation. Missing ceiling tiles? How barbaric! It's also super funny about rating the waitstaff and décor as below average, and she cleverly added extra funny by forgetting to mention what standards she was judging the restaurant by. No...wait...extra super-dooper funny: The Melting Pot. Her cleverly circuitous wit was truly captivating, and Denver Yelpers should be privileged to have such a hilarious reviewer among their ranks.
2. Category: Useful.
Rick L. wrote about Rodizio Grill:
I like meat. They serve it here. I can have a lot of it. It is good. They also serve things I don't like. I don't have to eat those. Ham good. Ham better with pineapple. Vegetarians should call PETA. PETA should go get more chicks to pose naked in their ads. After I eat here I club girl over head and yell ooga. I am all that is man.
This review is incredibly useful, because it lets Yelpers and the consumer public know that idiots do have a voice that should be heard. Yelp is clearly a forum for this, and syntax is not really that important. And PETA's goals and purpose should be immediately taken in a different direction, because Rodizio Grill serving unlimited meat to some people causes them to desire naked women, and then hit them.
1. Category: Cool.
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Kathleen A. wrote about Wendy's:
Ok, I rarely review chains, but I was just too darn excited after coming here today. I ordered a six piece (yes, six piece, not five) of the chicken nuggets and a small chili. Simple enough, yes. But one of my biggest pet peeves is when I ask for any sauce, like ketchup, etc, I get only one packet. Not this Wendy's, though. They gave me TWO sweet and sour sauces for my little six piece, and 4 packages of crackers and hot sauce packets for my chili. That almost never happens. It's the little things in life that make me happy, I guess.
This review is just too cool for school. She got six whole chicken nuggets, two whole sweet and sour sauces and four packets of crackers. Let's just hope that Wendy's executives aren't avid Yelp readers, because Wendy's employees giving out too many free condiments is likely to land them in a hot pot of chili if this gets out. It truly is the little things in life that make everybody happy, like the comfort of knowing that reviewing fast-food chains gives really bored folks something to do besides post pictures of their feet on Facebook. We can all sleep warm and happy in our beds each night, comforted by the knowledge that anyone and everyone can be a food writer and restaurant reviewer, no matter if they are educated, trained, or even qualified.