Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Yelp Rescues Me from Bad Restaurant Food, Again and Again

In the last week I have been thrown into several restaurant situations which could have been total disasters but for a wonderful website and app operated by Yahoo called Yelp.  You can use it online at its website or get the free app for it for either apple or android mobile devices. Click on any of the foregoing links to get it now. I've written of it before but it is worth an update if you never want a horrible lunch or dinner again and/or to get ripped off price wise at a new restaurant. This first restaurant below was known as a rip off but with Yelp I managed to steer clear of their worst menu ploys.

Last Thursday in New Orleans I needed to get lunch and the only restaurant I could walk to was a Mexican one two doors down from my hotel, Superior Grill. I have the Yelp app on my iPad so entered the restaurant's name.  It came up with a disheartening three stars and lots of negative reviews.

Without a doubt the first thing I would have ordered was a margarita but there were at least 20 negative comments about the overpriced margaritas (over ten bucks) which absolutely outraged these diners.  Whenever I hear of a restaurant using its booze like this, I get bottled something to get control.  In this case I chose only a bit overpriced Tecate beer with lime.  First problem solved. 

Many entrees had been ripped apart by diners in their Yelp reviews but oddly about ten of them raved about a dish called Brisket Tacos.  I could hardly even picture these two in combination but as I read all of the ingredients in these reviews, I realized that I did like every one of them. Brisket Tacos ended up being one of the very best Mexican dinners I've ever had.  So I ended up having five star food in a three star restaurant and all because of Yelp.

The next restaurant was also in New Orleans when my sister took us to a local hangout famous for its deep fried seafood and Po-Boy sandwiches, as pictured.  I looked up the restaurant on Yelp. It was better rated than the prior restaurant and was not a rip off joint. However, it was a challenge to find lighter fare here. 

After wading through one deep fried entry after another I came to about five reviews of the sautéed trout with steamed shrimp and crab across the top of it, with vegetables and red potatoes to the side.  I read it aloud to the table and those of us who were older mainly got the trout.  The trout was excellent and we all returned late to the hotel, none of us with upset stomachs.

Today I was back in Cleveland and Rebecca and I decided to try another Indian restaurant on the West Side for lunch, Udupi Cafe. Once again I consulted Yelp beforehand.  Far and away the outstanding choice was the luncheon buffet, according to just about every diner who filed a review. We got the buffet since that was the hands down winner on Yelp. It was excellent and that way we were able to sample a lot of different foods. I usually eat ethnic food with Rebecca since she is a vegan.

You do need an internet connection to use Yelp.  So the best place to put it is on your cell or mobile phone as you are always connected with your phone. Many restaurants still do not offer internet connections and if you need a quick consult with Yelp, your phone will connect to it without the restaurant's having its own internet connection for diners. If your iPad has its own internet connectivity, it is better for being able to read the info if you are a senior with vision problems.

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