BooRah: New restaurant review database taps into dining scenes nationwide

Want to exercise that inner restaurant critic in you? There’s a new site out there called BooRah that is looking to tap into a lot of reader-generated content about the restaurant scene in your community.

BooRah is a restaurant aggregator that culls the best restaurant reviews from across the Web and puts them in a easy-to-search database, each entry described in terms of boos and rahs. You can search major metropolitan areas or you can search for a specific town. This site seems to be pretty deep in terms of picking up obscure communities. For a test, I searched Old Hickory, Tennessee (where my father grew up) and came up with reviews of Dairy Queen, Subway, Hardees and Sonic.

O.K., hardly great. That is kind of my problem with a lot of user-generated restaurant sites. I’m all for hearing what you have to say about a new Village eatery or the best place for Sushi in San Fran, but do we really need reviews of McDonald’s and Taco Bell? Also, sometimes these “reviews” can be frustratingly general, of the “I had a great steak here!” variety.

Still, I like this site, mostly because it seems pretty comprehensive and BooRah is growing and adding new cities regularly. I searched the Boston suburb I called home for five years and found one of my favorites — a little Italian gem called Tullios in Quincy — prominently listed, along with several other good local bets.

The site says it has 1.2 million restaurant reviews, 250,000 restaurants profiled, and 150,000 menus uploaded. Not bad.

Foodies might not find everything they want here, nor those acutely tuned in to their local dining scene (you’ll know the best places to go). But I can see BooRah being very helpful to the business traveler or road tripper who likes to eat well, even in Topeka or Spokane.

Anyway, check the site out and see what you can contribute.

Citysearch rates best restaurants and bars of 2007

The annual list of best restaurants and bars was posted by Citysearch a few hours ago, highlighting the new food and drink hotspots in the nation’s top cities.

So get your “Oh, I’ve already been there; I’m way over that” snide statements ready and check out the guides to

Or you can check out the bars on the Citysearch blog here. I did a cursory search through the New York and Chicago bars and restaurants and have to admit that I haven’t been to any of the 40 establishments. Nothing like a hipster best-of website to make you feel like a social invalid.

I’ll be playing dungeons and dragons in my parents basement if you need me.

Exotic food from around the world

Having traveled pretty extensively over the last few years, I’ve had the opportunity (read: been forced) to taste some truly delicious — and truly disgusting food. My reservations and weak stomach aside, I’ve always at least tried some of the local fare, even if it was called “Birds Nest White Fungus” or involved sauteed reindeer.

Along the way, I had the opportunity to take some shots of the exotic fare and in hindsight I’m glad I suffered through some of the tough dishes. Though they may have not been the most appealing at the time, they are definitely memories that will resound in my mind — and gastrointestinal system — for many years to come.


Off the beaten foodie path in New York City: Studiofeast

With so many good places to eat in Manhattan, chefs are continuously trying to outdo each other in complexity and presentation of dishes. To that effect, eventually one beings to pay for elegance and setting as much as for the food itself. Is it really worth two hundred dollars a person to eat at Morimoto? Really?

For a different type of dining experience, where you won’t have to worry about what shoulder your Y-3 sweater is hanging from or the appellation of your Côtes du Rhône, try Studiofeast.

Recently slated in the New York Post as a having “code names, mysterious meeting places, a cult following and the intoxicating whiff of illegality,” Studiofeast is one of the numerous underground eating clubs that have popped up in the city over the past few years. It brings a unique, intimate air to dinner, where you can mill about a random Williamsburg or Red Hook studio, converse with the other diners, bring your own bottle of wine and not worry about the pretense of a normal awkward dinner on the LES.

Read the Post’s stub about Studiofeast here or check out their website. I’ll be at the November 3rd feast with my Y-3 cable knit sweater zipped all the way up. I should note that I met the creators a few years ago and have been regularly impressed with their fare and general zeal. My opinion aside, it should still be an excellent meal.