Beginning January 1st, 2013 L.A. Weekly will publish restaurant reviews with star ratings. The publication's dining critic, Besha Rodell, explains the reasoning in a lengthy article, arguing that "It's a benchmark, for chefs and consumers." Despite the fact that assigning a star rating can add a layer of "deliberation and anxiety," writes Rodell, there's a "starless vacuum" in her city, since the L.A. Times made the debatable choice to stop assigning stars at the beginning of 2012 when Jonathan Gold came on board. And Michelin pulled out of town in 2009.
Rodell adds that even though starring different restaurants can be akin to comparing apples and oranges, readers enjoy ratings. Furthermore, "It's one thing to be high-minded and talk about the ineffable qualities of a meal, but in the age of Yelp and Rotten Tomatoes, when everything is rated or 'liked' or favorited, why shouldn't professional critics be part of the discussion?"
She'll be evaluating restaurants on a five-star scale which curiously takes into account driving time (so if traffic is especially bad, does the restaurant get demoted?). Her main considerations: "What is this restaurant trying to achieve? How close is it to that goal? And how enjoyable is the outcome?"