What makes a good restaurant?
When I go to a restaurant, I look for a meal that is better than I can make for myself at home-- I cook a lot at home and do pretty well, if I say so myself. For that reason, I will rarely go to a meat and 3, because (other than fried chicken which I am incapable of making well) I always make food better than a meat and 3.
Next, I want a sign that someone cares--that person can be the chef or that person can be the owner, but food without passion is just food. I have found that if the food is mediocre and doesn't hit the right spot, I overeat. I think I am looking for something in the next bite that I didn't find in the last one.
I am not well traveled or fed enough to determine whether a food is true to its ethnic origins. I have some sense about Mexican food, but have no idea whether a pasta dish is "true" to Italy, or a Vietnamese dish is "true" to Vietnam. Nor do I care. All that I care about is that someone with a passion for food, assembled this dish and wants it to taste good.