No matter how much a restaurant’s buzz affects your expectations, try to keep an open mind when dining somewhere you’ve never been. People too often patronize new restaurants unduly influenced by other people’s opinions. They’ve memorized the menu, having studied it in advance online, read every food blog and Yelp review. By the time the meal begins, expectations have become so inflated they’re unattainable. Restaurant menus change quite often, so it’s possible that whatever dish you keep hearing about is no longer being offered. Learn to trust your own palate. Solicit servers or bartenders for their input rather than relying on faceless Yelpers. The waitstaff has much more empirical data on customer likes and dislikes and, at most reputable restaurants, they’ve tasted through the menu. Trusting their insights can pay dividends even if you might risk being led astray. Stop googling menu items under the table and start asking questions. Make decisions based on what you like not hearsay. There’s a reason that people’s opinions about restaurants differ so dramatically. The act of dining out is a singular, unique experience. For it to be successful many elements must act in concert. Your participation in essential. If you approach your role passively and with prejudices, chances are you will be disappointed.