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What Restaurants Have Lived Up To All The Hype?

As a response to the recent thread about popular restaurants that don't stack up, I'll ask the obvious return question:

What restaurants are popular on this board, but still lived up to expectations when you finally got there and ate? I ask because it's hard for restaurants to live up to hype, but very impressive when they do.

Previous thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

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  1. Really hyped places are born to fail at some point. They crest, get overwhelmed by demand and just can't live up to the experience that initially drew the big crowds. Right now, though it's expensive and hard to get in on weekends, I think
    Cut is delivering good steak and sides. How long this will be maintained is a matter of conjecture. On the other hand, there's less chance of disappointment at a place that doesn't create potentially unrealistic expectations. An example of this would be the modest but tasty breakfast and sandwiches served at Europane in Pasadena. Or, just their coffee.

    1. I had the most wonderful birthday dinner at Firefly in Studio City, thanks to recommendations from this board. Amazing calamari, skate, filet, mojitos, atmosphere, etc. It's our new favorite place in the valley!

      1. ...dare I say Sushi Zo? god, I wanna go back there soon...! mmmm!!!

        1 Reply
        1. re: annagranfors

          Agreed!! It was excellent!! Yumm!! :)

          --Dommy!

        2. I am rolling pennies for a return trip to Providence.

          1. the omakase at irori definitely lived up to the recommendations that were posted on this board.