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Apr 24, 2005 06:58 PM

Throwing Down the Gauntlet (rant)

  • l

I'm mostly a quiet and reserved person. But my hackles are up after reading post after post from people spending exorbitant amounts of money on mediocre food, and being happy with this. Maybe it's because I'm a former restaurant employee, working both in kitchens and the floor. But, if I'm going to pay over $100 for two (without drinks)it better be a damn good meal; something I would rave about, and something I couldn't do with a little time in the kitchen trolling through my fridge. And very often it's not the case. Maybe it's generational (never thought I'd ever say that!) or my inflated food ego or money just not being worth what it used to, but almost every time I go to a recommended restaurant I walk away disappointed. I admit I'm not a fan of french cuisine (I lived there and it's more verbiage than substance, good bread though. Take away the butter and wine and they are in big trouble). I'm usually happier with simple places, ethnic places that do their best with limited resourses.
Anyway, sorry for the long rant, it's probably indigestion, but I just think we should all have higher standards and demand more (and pay less) from these mediocre establishments. Peace - Out

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  1. Maybe I'm not reading enough threads, but I rarely, if ever, see a post where someone is happy after spending a boatload of cash for mediocre food.

    1. i appreciate what you're saying. while i would note that tastes are different--what you find mediocre might be amazing to others, i have been disappointed to find that much of the discussion here focuses on the most high-end places, rather than the (often) cheap and interesting gems that this site was originally created to celebrate.

      2 Replies
        1. re: kristen

          Amen to that. There also seems to be an operative rule that the more expensive a place is, the longer the post will be, and the less likely will the review involve the use of one's critical faculties. Everyone who goes to The French Laundry seems to be under the impression that no one else has ever been there, and serves up a long, adoring paean to the same dishes that have been described a hundred times already.


        2. Have to agree with the French thing, good bread. There was an article in either the nytimes or latimes a little while back about how similar the menus are at all the high-end places and why they all taste alike. Part of it is that they all use the same suppliers. They may use a higher grade of supplier, but they're the same suppliers. Another is that customers demand the same food through their ordering patterns. If tuna tartar is hot, then fighting it just loses you revenue. And of course, most of the chefs have all been trained in the same techniques.

          My personal experience bears this out. And it seems the more expensive the food, the more likely it is to hold true. Besides small ethnic places (and that includes a greasy spoon or a que shack, American is ethnic) I have found mid-range fancy to sometimes have a hidden gem or two. While most of their menu will hold true to the above, they may have one dish, technique, sauce, etc... that is performed to perfection. That is what I mainly scan the nice restaurant review posts for. Though I'm not sure I've ever found one here, it is usually dumb luck or a local with knowledge that leads me their.

          1. I read a post not too long ago where someone complained that another poster had used the term "yummy" in describing a restaurant's food. I can't imagine why this is offensive because sometimes food is just plain YUMMY with no need for fancy adjectives!

            6 Replies
            1. re: Becky

              I think the point was that if it is the only descriptor used continously for each restaurant that one posts about without some indication of why is was "yummy", it is meaningless unless you are privy to that person's likes and dislikes.

              1. re: PolarBear

                Exactly right. I was going to post on this myself but you've summed it up much more succinctly.

                "Amazing" is thrown around in the same way. If a poster tells us *why* it's good we can then decide if a dish appeals to us. Tell us more about the food.

                1. re: Bob Martinez

                  "Yummy" is annoying and not informative but it is better than "yum," the noun; as in " full of yum " or "lots of yum."

                  1. re: Karl

                    A suggestion? Give an example. It might be more helpful to explain exactly what you find to be more informative rather than calling a person's word choice 'annoying'. That would lead many to immediately be defensive and perhaps disregard what you are saying - even if it has merit. Perhaps some of us don't have the extensive vocabulary or experience with posting details like you do: so show us what you mean, please (without the judgement)?

                2. re: PolarBear

                  While we're at it, can we put a moratorium (appropriate word) on the expression "to-die-for." Along with being a cliche and fairly meaningless, I also find it to be a somewhat offensive hyperbole. Whenever I hear it, I envision a huge mouse trap with a "to-die-for" chocolate eclair sitting on the spring, awaiting . . .

                3. re: Becky

                  Not the first time this has been discussed. See the link below

                  Mea Culpa.


                4. "Take away the butter and wine and they [the French] are in big trouble."

                  Take away butter and wine and we're all in big trouble, as far as I'm concerned.

                  1 Reply