Let­ters Where have all the restau­rant chiles gone? Read­ers fight back.

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Many read­ers were up­set to learn of our de­ci­sion to re­move chile rat­ings from restau­rant re­views. Here is an edited se­lec­tion of let­ters we’ve re­ceived about the change. I was sorry to see you lose the chiles for the restau­rant re­views. I am con­cerned that you will also even­tu­ally get rid of the chiles for the movie guide too. Even though you say you won’t and that there is a big dif­fer­ence be­tween movies and restau­rants, I dis­agree. I saw the chiles as an over­all rat­ing that in­cluded the re­viewer’s im­pres­sion of ev­ery­thing at the restau­rant — food, ser­vice, at­mos­phere, etc. A movie also has many com­po­nents — sound, act­ing, nar­ra­tive, script, vi­su­als, etc. In each case, many things go into the over­all im­pres­sion that re­sults in the chile rat­ing. I don’t al­ways agree with your rat­ings on movies and restau­rants, but take them as a gen­eral guide. (For in­stance, I love sci-fi, but your re­viewer al­most al­ways gives sci-fi movies lower rat­ings.)

For the restau­rant re­views, I looked first to the chiles to see if I wanted to read about the restau­rant. With no chiles, I don’t even want to try read­ing the long re­view. If you’re go­ing to keep not hav­ing the chiles, at least make the type big­ger on “The Short Or­der” and for­mat it to make it a lit­tle eas­ier to read. Now I have to use that in­stead of the chiles to see if I want to read the longer ar­ti­cle. But frankly, the chiles were very use­ful, plus eye-catching. Now I just see a huge amount of small type that does not make me want to read any­thing about the restau­rant.

— Deb­o­rah Reade, Santa Fe

If the restau­rant is not good enough to re­ceive a chile rat­ing, then give them a mi­nus chile. Read­ers are wise enough to know that a four-chile rat­ing of a food truck is not the same ex­pe­ri­ence as a 4-chile rat­ing of a fine din­ing restau­rant. We need the CHILES — IT IS NEW MEX­ICO!

— Cyn­thia Huff, Santa Fe

My wife and I have had on­go­ing prob­lems with the chile rat­ings, from our weekly Fri­day Ques­tion of “Who got the 3 chile rat­ing this week?” to the many times that the chile rat­ing and the writ­ten re­view didn’t seem to mesh. But still, they were a nice, quick point of ref­er­ence about whether or not a restau­rant was worth in­ves­ti­gat­ing fur­ther. So we will miss them for that pur­pose.

— Larry Prescott, Santa Fe

To me, the chile rat­ings say, “This is a great restau­rant, this was good, this ac­tu­ally didn’t work for me,” etc. Some­times the neg­a­tive com­ments in the re­view were in con­flict with gen­er­ous num­ber of chiles the restau­rant re­ceived, but usu­ally at a glance I knew whether or not I wanted to try that restau­rant. ... That was the great use for the chiles. And I re­mem­bered how many chiles some of the restau­rants re­ceived, and no­ticed when they went up or down on the next re­view.

— Deb­bie Cur­nutt, Santa Fe

I look at your restau­rant re­views ev­ery week and I definitely ap­pre­ci­ate the “chile sys­tem.” It tells me im­me­di­ately the gen­eral opin­ion of the re­viewer. It does NOT in any way pre­clude my own read­ing and eval­u­at­ing. ... I don’t see any dif­fer­ence in rat­ing movies/films with chiles from do­ing this in re­gard to eater­ies. Both just give a hint at the be­gin­ning what is the re­viewer’s opin­ion. From there I look at the re­view to see the high and pos­si­ble low points that guide the re­viewer’s opin­ion. ... Soooooo, put the chiles back!

— Richard Block, Santa Fe

I liked the chiles. They made me want to read the re­view. ... Isn’t it the job of a restau­rant re­viewer to pro­vide a rat­ing — back­ing it up with a de­tailed ac­count of his or her ex­pe­ri­ences at the es­tab­lish­ment? Bring back the chiles!

— Jo­ce­lyn Davis, Santa Fe

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