Well. On the other hand most of the good places I know I found out via reviews. I particularly like this one. http://www.notquitenigella.com
Starting this harvest I'm a starving startling artist/
Lyrical arsonist it's arduous spitting this smartest arsenic/
And as far as reviews... I worked at this small, no reservations, hole in the wall restaurant when I was living in Southern Cali. The owner was extremely involved, working the dining room almost every night, making an effort to go around to tables and being personable. He was passionate about his restaurant - he had worked a long time in the industry to open his own place - and it was cool to see that. Very knowledgeable about wine and beer, could jump back in the kitchen if needed (although the Chef was a bad mofo so that never had to happen)... the best owner I've ever worked for.
He also was obsessed with Yelp. A lot of folks like to dump on Yelp - many reviews are ill informed and overly critical, and that can hurt when you put so much energy into this thing. But it had a very, very visible effect on business. The restaurant was and is packed constantly. And it doesn't look like much from the outside and is out of the way in a industrial type area of the town. Yelp is a lot more popular in California than it is here in NC but it opened my eyes to the power of online reviews. I think it's important to pay attention to them, even as a cook, not just because it's one way to get feedback on what you're cooking, but they have a real effect on filling seats. Not everyone reads a critic's reviews in the local paper or what not, but chances are, if you're in a new or unfamiliar area, you're going to look at Yelp, Opentable or Trip Adviser and see what's in the area. It's easy to brush them aside because of spiteful and ill-informed reviews, but in this digital, social-media filled age, they are crucial IMO - especially for young & out of the way restaurants.
Where I live, the food critic is vegetarian when she's not reviewing restaurants. However she once went on a 20-plus tweet rampage about how she disliked avacados. Also, I had a college short-stories writing class with her, and she is still terrible at constucting something inviting with words.
How she inherited her job? I have no idea… Would I love to take it for the money and free meals? Yes for the latter, but having worked highly scrutinized hard-core kitchens, hell no.