Rating System

Each restaurant that appears on Short Exact is given a star rating (on a scale of 1 to 5) that indicates our overall impression of the restaurant. Many factors go into this star rating. Certainly the product is the foremost consideration. Is the food high quality? Are fresh ingredients used? Are there any unique creative touches? How is the plating/presentation? When it’s relevant, we also take into account the degree to which a given restaurant is successful at portraying the authenticity of its cuisine.

Quality of the food (and everything that implies) is the largest factor we consider in assigning star ratings. Nonetheless, other factors are also considered to produce the overall star rating. Personally, Short Exact is generally forgiving of all but the very worst service, and a restaurant staff would have to commit quite a few blunders before we would be truly vexed. Nonetheless, it’s also true that service is an important part of dining out, and for many people, it’s every bit as important as food quality. So that our star ratings are meaningful for as many people as possible, we definitely incorporate quality of service into the star ranking. Other factors we take into account is the extent to which the physical space of the restaurant is a pleasant place to dine, and if it has a good vibe/ambience/atmosphere.

With this in mind, here are our interpretations of the star rating scale:

Extraordinary: This restaurant provides a unique or exceptional experience, bringing diners to new heights, and provides flawless execution on all fronts.
Excellent: This restaurant generally excels in all areas. It produces a consistently excellent product, while providing a dining experience that encourages repeated and frequent visits.
Good: This restaurant has tasty and generally well-prepared (though perhaps somewhat inconsistent) fare, and provides a pleasant dining experience. This is a restaurant we would be willing to visit again, or which we have visited repeatedly, in spite of any flaws.
Average: This restaurant offers a lackluster but acceptable dining experience. While we might return here again if pressed (or perhaps in the hope that there has been improvement), we would not lose any sleep if we were unable to repeat the experience.
Poor: This establishment offers a poor dining experience, which we will not repeat again. With so many excellent restaurants in the Bay Area, why bother with these duds?

In addition, each restaurant is given a cost ranking (on a scale of 1 to 5) that indicates how expensive it is. This scale is indicated by each dollar signs, and each rank is associated with a certain cost range. That range approximately indicates the total cost per person, including a “reasonable” number of sides (such as beverages or appetizers), as well as tax and tip. It’s a bit fuzzy, but it’s just intended to be a general indication:

More than $40 per person
$30-40 per person
$20-30 per person
$10-20 per person
$0-10 per person

Please note that for both star and dollar sign ratings, we will often use a half-star or a range of dollar signs, when appropriate.

Short Exact does not have much in the way of visual arts ability, nor do we possess a graphics program more advanced than the lowly Microsoft Paint, so we did not create the stars and dollar signs that are used above, and in every review on this site. Star and dollar sign images are courtesy of Jeff Vaters.

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