Yelp and I are friends. It had never disappointed me... until it recommended Chico's Tecate Grill. 4 stars. Please! With around 20 reviews, it felt safe - but it wasn't!!
First, let's talk methodology. Every now and then people's friends, acquaintances, family, or hired guns will over-hype average places. Sometimes, even, poor places. Crowdsourcing is a great way of combatting this. Generally, the aggregate has it. The masses. Like voters. Normally, you can expect a republic to function because the bulk of the populous are not bleating morons. So with Yelp, I always consider what the average response rate is for a given area. In San Francisco, it's generally 300-1200 for a decent place, New York sits around 200, Seattle around 50-100, Kennewick-Richland-Pasco is about 20. That's your base. If there are fewer responses than the average, by a standard deviation or two, the review is out. I consider the responses unreliable. If the responses are within a standard deviation from the expected output according to the area, and it's rated 4 (sometimes if I'm desperate a 3.5), I'll try the place out.
If you will allow additional digression. A very good friend of mine runs a small business. She has 5-7 five star reviews from clients. Of those, 0, that's right zero, show up on Yelp. Their "filter technology" filtered her real client's positive reviews because they seemed too good. Automatically. Her clients contacted Yelp, as did she, and all for naught. I might suggest, given the 4 rating of Chico's, that there are more problems than just my friend's issue with the system. YELP. FIX THIS!
Ok, so my wife and I are hungry for Mexican. The Tricities are good for that type of food, much better than the Western half of the state! After Yelp'ing, we landed on Chico's. It's a sort of fast casual establishment. When we arrived, I opened the car door and found a pile of vomit on the ground. This should have dissuaded me. But, four stars, right? We got inside, and there were a bunch of high school kids, with one tatted up person in their early 20's running the place. They all sat around talking, the cutest girl was at the register (of course), and we could see - see - microwaves in the back of the place. That should have dissuaded me.
Now my wife is accustomed to my antics. Ducks hanging in windows of Chinese restaurants promises authenticity and deliciousness. Mexican places where the staff doesn't speak English, that look slightly dingy, are hallmarks of tastiness. Plus, could Yelp be wrong?
Yes! The food, when it came, when the high school staff got around to nuking it, was disgusting. Burrito. Gross. Beans. Nigh unto rancid. Chips. Stale. There was one saving grace, a single salsa that tasted good. The rest, I would honestly best describe as putrid. They were clearly old, not moldy or anything, but not fresh and tasty. And someone, someone!! please tell me how you can nuke food and it still be cool (temperature-wise cool, not high school-wise cool).
My wife took three bites. I took four. Then we did something we never do. We said, let's chalk this one up to experience, and threw out the rest. We left, and found a better place for dinner - after our stomachs had recovered from their disgusting Mexican gut-bomb.
I really can't put too fine a point on it. This was the worst Mexican food I've ever eaten! Think of one of those places that Gordon Ramsey visits to save, before the saving. Think of a cool (not lukewarm, but cool) pile of brown and grey on a plate.
Chico's Tecate Grill
7704 W Clearwater Ave
Kennewick, WA 99336
.5 of 5