I know there are many Chowhounds that don't like the star ratings and don't use them.
One of the arguments is that a restaurant may have nothing but swill on the menu but one spectacular dish may be the reason that restaurant deserves to exist.
My own personal reservation is the cumulative nature. A restaurant that may start out five stars, does a downhill nosedive but those great reports keep it with a high star rating ... or visa versa ...new owners, new chef, etc.
I also would have preferred a rating on a scale of 1-10. This is a frequent complaint on yelp. Sometimes a restaurant is 3 1/2 stars and there is no way to do that. A 1-10 scale would be better.
That hs been my struggle ... what to do with a place that is 8 on a scale from 1-10.
I've finally gotten a grip on this and use this system.
1 star - don't bother.
2 stars - below average
3 stars - average
4 stars - above average
5 stars - destination worthy
For some reason this just makes it easier for me to rate. I do think rating is important. Not everyone is a Chowhound and if we want our favorites to live, giving a rating might just push more business to a particular restaurant.
As to the one dish wonder. I rate it five stars. There's a place recently with spectacular Israli mint lemanade and I gave it five stars. I did note in my report the reason for those five stars was based on the lemonade.