Rating Restaurants Like I Do Poker Hands

Rating Restaurants like Poker Hands

To date, my restaurant reviews have not contained any weightings to differentiate what place are worth a special trip versus places that merely register as decent and so on.  I could replicate the Michelin Guide and assign star ratings or the five star scale that Yelp and other services use. But then I would be constrained by a similar rating schema and not be able to define my exact feelings about a restaurant. So that got me thinking and Theresa said why don’t you rate restaurants the same way you rate poker hands? Now that is a great idea.  Visiting a restaurant, you can rely on Yelp reviews, recommendations, etc, but like a poker hand, you will not know anything concrete until the hand plays out.  So my ratings will be based on how I as a poker player would act if I were to play the hand the restaurant dealt to me and if it is worth putting any or more money out there.

My System  (low to high)

Fold- Like a poker hand that has little to no potential to win the pot, this place should not be counted on for much. Even if it may look good, circumstances require that I release the hand, as it would require a lot of help to improve. Pass on this. It’s not worth the investment.

Call – Experience delivered good and/or reliable results, with no real surprises. There maybe an occasional miss here and there, but worth investing again.

Raise – All indications are a positive expected value is on the horizon. Any player should be willing to put more money in the pot when given the opportunity

Shove all-in – Willing to put money down time and time again without much hesitation expecting the experience to hold up under a vast majority if not all situations

I will be instituting these ratings in future restaurant blogs. As a reference, I have rated all the restaurants I have blogged about and categorized them below.

Shove All-in

Raku (Las Vegas)


The Restaurant at Wente
Napa Rose
The Walrus and the Carpenter (Seattle)
Smoking Pig
The Girl and the Fig
Anchor Oyster Bar
Bacchanal Buffet @ Caesar’s Palace Las Vegas
Hash House a GoGo (Plaza Hotel, Las Vegas)
Belgo (London, England)
Hogg Island Oyster (Ferry Building, San Francisco)


Grub Shack
Pacific Catch
Beast and the Hare
The Table
Blue Line Pizza
Kicking Crab
Bazille (at Nordstrom)
Hash House
Norton’s Pastrami and Deli (Santa Barbara)
San Pedro Square
Super Duper Burger
Max Brenner
BonChon Chicken (Sunnyvale)
The Counter (Mountain View)
Sauced (Livermore)
Umi Sake House (Belltown, Seattle, WA)
Palace Kitchen
Lola (Seattle)
Mango Garden (Cupertino)
Jang Su Jang
La Boedguita Del Medio (Palo Alto)
Bill of Fare
The Boiling Crab
Habana Cuba
Alotta’s Deli, Los Altos
Asteria Grill
TGI Sushi (San Jose)
Anh Hong (7 courses of beef)
Pho 24
Sweet Cup (Milpitas)
Tong Soon Garden
Little Lucca (S. San Francisco)
Holstein’s  Shakes and Buns (Las Vegas)
Pho Bosa (Las Vegas)
Earl of Sandwich (Las Vegas)
Mesa Grill @Casesar’s Palace Las Vegas
Sendai Sushi (Milpitas)


The Melt
Clay Oven (Vacaville)
Steins Beer Garden
Red Crawfish
Raising Cane’s
Capital Grille (Las Vegas, Fashion Show Mall)


Leave a Reply