I know the answer seems obvious but.......
Let me start by saying that Chowhound has not failed me in the 4 or 5 years I have been watching and posting. And...I'll add that I'm a pretty positive person overall. So, when I do my research here to find a new spot or recommendation, I arrive with possitive expectations.
Last night, I experienced 2 separate instances where I think attitude affected 90% of the outcome.
First, I had made arrangements with another couple (she's a non-chowhounder and a Mayven) to try a new place that i have heard rave reviews about in San Rafael on the the SF Bay Area board (thanks rworange). We had to cancel but our friends decided to go anyway. I returned home to an email explaining how disappointed this couple was with this restaurant and what a poor choice it was to try a spot so new. She had not read the reviews, often comes off as an expert and frequently nit-picks and finds fault in experiences that I've enjoyed (other than that, this couple is a pleasure to be with).I can't help but think that if we had accompanied them, our experience would have been different. We would have gone expecting good things, not looking to be hyper critical.
Second, we needed to cancel this engagement because we needed to transport our kids into SF with 3 hours to kill around dinner. I did a search and decided that Plouf was a good choice. I was excited by the consistent positive comments. All who know the restaurant know that the tables are very close so you can overhear many conversations. We sat next to a group of 4 who were served by the same waiter and ordered some of the same dishes.
We Loved it! The service was fun and energetic (I'm not sure if it was standard practice or just our waiter's preference to determine if you spoke French so you could speak it the whole meal.......this from someone who does not speak French...it was presented in a fun/not snooty way). His recommendations were right on and food was wonderful. The table
next to us however, could not find a positive thing to say!This was too salty, this was too spicy, the portions were too large/small, the waiter was slow/not informative ....etc.
Here were two sets of diners having nearly the same experience and coming out with completely different takes on the situation.
Is all about attitude?????