Do you like to base your restaurant decisions on a numerical value assigned by a metaranking site? Well, today you have more options to do so than ever, as Dinevore, Jeremy Fisher's new restaurant ranking and recommendation site is now live, live, live. The obvious comparison here, is of course to NBC's Feast, which also incorporates a ranking system. But the first thing you'll notice about Dinevore, apart from the fact that there's no news blogs component, is a variety of social networking capabilities.
Every restaurant page not only features a list of reviews from the city's top critics, but also buttons to click if you've eaten there, if you want to or plan to, as well as links to the restaurant's OpenTable page. Users build a profile page, somewhat like Foursquare, and they can create maps of recommendations. A user's icon shows up on a restaurant page if they've recommended it, you can choose to "follow" a user, etc. Feast of course has a similar user profile component, but Dinevore's is slightly more geared towards building a community.
That's all fun and all, but the question remains: can you really determine a numerical score for a restaurant based on reviews from the city's often fickle, sometimes elusive critics?
The Dinevore metaranking for restaurants (the 'Dinescore') seems to be based on a percentage of positive or negative reviews, like Rotten Tomatoes, as opposed to a strict average of numerical values based on critic star or number rankings, like Metacritic. This makes sense, especially considering that a NYT one star review is a recommendation, overall. But, like Feast, there’s a behind-the-scenes factor at play as well, as a critic's influence on the rankings changes based on whether users “agree” or “disagree” with them, via on screen buttons on the reviews. So, who knows how much Sifton has pull in the rankings versus Platt or Sietsema, etc.
This is slightly different from how Feast generates its rankings, as a restaurant's score can go up or down based on a certain buzz factor, which is monitored by a closely guarded algorithm. For comparison's sake, here's how five restaurants rank on Dinevore v. Feast:
Torrisi Italian Specialties: