Websites like Yelp! have empowered the everyday eater to become their local neighborhood's New York Times food critic, praising and damning behind the anonymity of a computer screen.
Some peeved restaurateurs have argued Yelp! is little more than a "forum for the uninformed," a digitally-savvy clan of unsophisticated palates with little-to-no culinary education.
True or not, the reviews listed on the website unquestionably impact popular perception. Will you dine at a place one newspaper critic gave a dazzling review to if the same restaurant was scorned by the unwashed masses? Maybe. Maybe not.
So how does the average joe rank the many restaurants in Ridgewood and Glen Rock?
Based on Yelp!'s star ranking, we count down from #5 down to #1 on Japanese food. (Click here for the top 5 Italian joints.)
Many of the restaurants accrued the same star rating, so in the case of ties the restaurant with the greater number of reviews is ranked higher. A minimum of five reviews is required to qualify.
5. Gen Sushi, 3.5 stars, 19 reviews
"The atmosphere was quite pleasant and the setup allowed for people to eat either at the hibachi grill, sushi bar, or looking out to the middle of Ridgewood," said commenter Brian G. "Being a Chinese Japanese fusion restaurant, it was good in the variety of each offered. Not sure how I would feel if the place needed to stance solely on one cuisine.
The staff was very friendly and our waters were refilled literally every few minutes. Easy to get a table. Would definitely go back and ill remember to come thirsty."
4. Kumo, 3.5 stars, 34 reviews
"Kumo is consistently good and never disappoints," West Milford resident J.B. said. "The sushi is fresh and the special rolls are always exciting and changing. While its right down from Sakura Bana, a Ridgewood legend, it certainly holds its own. Definitely recommend."
2 (tie). Tani 3.5 stars, 44 reviews
"This is my farorite restaurant. Food is excellent and the service is wonderful," said Ed, of Allendale. "Hot and Sour soup is the best I've had.
Hard find anything on the menu that isn't excellent. Each item is beautifully presented and the decor is at once relaxing and eye-catching. Not sure how anyone could rate this restaurant less than four stars."
2 (tie). Masago, 3.5 stars, 44 reviews
"Sometimes one just gets an extreme craving for sushi, but if you're like most sushi-lovers, fulfilling those cravings can get expensive," chimed in Pifferella. "Fear not, sushi fanatics, for Masago offers 30% with cash Monday-Friday, and a whopping 50% off Saturday and Sunday.
Honestly, it's not the best sushi I've ever had... but still very good, and with these prices, I really can't complain."
1. Sakura Bana 4 stars, 50 reviews
"For NJ this is about as good as sushi gets," commenter Thomas R. said. "They have a very healthy selection of rolls, sushi and sashimi as well as the typical Japanese entrees. I did see a hint of Thai influence in the menu but its not like this was a fushion joint. Very well execute sushi by chefs that seem to care about the food they serve.
Its expensive for NJ standards but other than Masa in Allendale its pretty much the best around."
Do you agree or disagree with the Yelp! top 5 list? The notable snub here is Wasabi, which has received solid scores from critics – including Patch reviewers. Wasabi received 3 stars. Rock Sushi in Glen Rock and Ridgewood's Sushi X also did not make the cut.