Up until Jonathan Gold joined the staff of the paper this year from the Los Angeles Weekly to write restaurant reviews The Times had used a Star system to accompany the restaurant reviews of S. Irene Virbila. This changed with the arrival of Mr. Gold. The Times no longer uses Stars.
Russ explained the logic of this change.
Russ also talked about why it may not be a necessity anymore for a restaurant reviewer to be totally anonymous while dining in a particular restaurant which is being reviewed. Mr. Gold, for instance, makes reservations under another name and pays for his meals using a credit card with a name different from his own.