Today we debut a new rating system for the restaurants we review. The goal? To offer readers a quick assessment of a restaurant’s strengths and weaknesses alongside Times food critic Helen Freund’s comprehensive reviews.

For each restaurant, we’ll look at three categories — food, service and atmosphere — and assign each a value from 1 to 10. Those numbers will get averaged to determine a score on our Freund’s Fork scale.

Food is judged on taste and presentation. Service examines the overall dining experience by evaluating how restaurant employees communicate with diners. And atmosphere encompasses noise level, comfort and general accessibility.

In general, restaurants will be compared against others in similar categories. For example, a restaurant that advertises itself as accommodating for families will likely be compared to other kid-friendly restaurants, while a late-night gastropub won’t be judged as harshly on noise level or ambience as a romantic bistro might.

Got questions? Suggestions? Email [email protected]