The stars have gone out over Los Angeles: yesterday the Los Angeles Times announced that the paper's restaurant reviews will no longer have stars. Dining editor Russ Parsons, who spent one paragraph (a scant 113 words) explaining the change, wrote: "star ratings are increasingly difficult to align with the reality of dining in Southern California" where, as he puts it, "your dinner choices might include a food truck, a neighborhood ethnic restaurant, a one-time-only pop-up run by a famous chef, and a palace of fine dining."
Oh, and their first non-starred review is out: S. Irene Virbila takes on Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air, the type of restaurant that normally would totally lends itself to a starred review.
So is this all food writer Jonathan Gold's doing? Possibly, maybe. Gold recently transferred to the LA Times from LA Weekly, which did not have a star system. (Gold's first LA Times article is out today as well, a brief portrait of Los Angeles' diverse dining scene using Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger's 1980s restaurant City Restaurant as a focal point; it's behind a paywall.) Gold has famously covered the hole in the wall, mom-and-pop restaurants of Los Angeles for years now, and these don't fit quite so neatly into the star system as, say, splashy hotel restaurants from the most famous of Los Angeles' celebrity chefs. Could this move be a nod to his work?
No more star system