Links to Reviews of Restaurants
(Click below for reviews/rankings of exemplary restaurants in the DC area and abroad from our travels)
Martial Foodie's Yelp Reviews (Reviews of Restaurants & Food Shops, Updated Infrequently)
Martial Foodie's Restaurant Rankings (Up-to-Date Rankings in Multiple Categories)
Martial Foodie's Joy of Fine Dining Guide (Archived Articles for Culture Mob)
Why We Dine Out
As foodies, dining out is such a passion because it not only satisfies our appetite, it also provides the opportunity to expand our taste horizons, our cooking repertoire, and understanding of people as well as their cultural traditions. During and after dining, we will compare our experiences to each other's, to other visits to the given restaurant, and/or to other comparable restaurants. We try our best to order enough variety from the menu to get a taste for the restaurant's repertoire, its strengths/weaknesses, etc. This is especially key for evaluating special occasion restaurants or those far away from home because of the uncertainty of the next visit.
Rationale Behind Restaurant Reviewing
When reviewing restaurants, we evaluate the following in descending order of importance: quality of food, service, and ambiance. With regards to food, people have different tastes because of varying experiences, preferences, and dietary restrictions. However, there are universals regardless of how fancy/casual or the cuisine a restaurant serves. Note that we will not review a restaurant that is unsatisfactory in cleanness (for food or ambiance) regardless of its reputation.
Basic Criteria for Food
Cleanness: On the most basic level, the restaurant should take to heart the health and well-being of its diners.
Quality of Ingredients: A restaurant should do its best to source the best quality ingredients possible for its price category and let their inherent flavors shine in each dish.
Balance: While quality of ingredients may vary greatly, balance is independent of a restaurant's cost scale. This includes proper seasoning (saltiness; assertiveness of flavors), harmony of ingredients in each dish, proper texture/temperature, portioning of hearty and refreshing components (i.e. reasonable ratio of protein : starch : non-starch vegetable), and presentation (overall visual appeal including color and assembly of components). While it depends on the cuisine served, also considered are the balance of savory, sweet, sour, bitter, spicy, herbie, and/or floral flavors.
Hospitality: Above all, being courteous and attentive (especially for fine dining) to diners' needs are vital. Should a mishap or something unsatisfactory occur, the way servers or managers handle the situation will show their mindset towards customer service.
Timeliness: In addition to being available to tend to the diner's needs, making sure the food and beverages arrive on-time is tantamount to the diner savoring the best experience possible in terms of the dish's temperature, flavors, aroma, and texture.
Knowledgeable: Servers should know the menu (including having tasted the food) in order to be helpful when ordering. Should they not know, they should be able to get a clear answer to food questions from the kitchen.
Cleanness: Again, ensuring a safe eating environment is fundamental. It starts with good sanitation in the kitchen, dining room, bathrooms, and everywhere in between.
Fresh Air: The proper air circulation (without being a noticeable draft) is necessary to let the food's natural aroma and flavors shine without having to compete with extraneous odors or fragrances.
Inviting: Proper lighting (the days of dimly-lit dining rooms is long gone; premium on ample natural lighting), room temperature (reasonable so that the food does not get cold too fast), and decor (layout of dining room/seating areas, furnishings, other decorations).
Tae Kwon Do