Today I spent a lot of time on Yelp because I had this strong cravings for dumplings. I searched for Chinese food options around where I live, and I realized that most of the businesses had lower than 4 out of 5 stars. Usually when I'm at neighborhoods that I've never been to, I trust Yelp religiously and go for the best-reviewed restaurants--after all, if the data is telling me that this place is awesome, the chance is that I'm going to enjoy that place.
But today, I realized that some of my favorite restaurants around here (Nikko, for example), had really bad reviews and stars. I found it interesting that a newer restaurant (La Salle Dumpling room) with a more hip-vibe had four stars on yelp, while I wasn't impressed by their food the two times I visited there.
Database like Yelp definitely helped me choose what to eat for so many times, but today I reexamined my restaurant-decision strategies: Yelp reviewers are just a small sample from the restaurant's customers, and they do not necessarily represent the general public's taste. People write Yelp only if they are SUPER impressed or if they had bad experience. OR if they are one of those "Elite" reviewers on Yelp, a.k.a foodies. That's why local restaurants like Nikko, that are reasonably priced and yummy, but not fancy or super impressive, fail to get 4 stars.
Side note: while our local restaurants are lovely, tomorrow I'm making a trip to midtown to get soup dumplings from Joe's Shanghai that got high reviews on Yelp. I think I deserve a premium dumpling experience after all these analysis.