Everybody hates it, but I love it?
Given the amazing response to the "Rave reviews, but I don't get it?" thread, I think there may be room for the inverse. How about it, 'hounds? What are the places that your fellow chowhounds (or reviewers in the media or other forums) hate, but you secretly love (or at least don't dislike)? And *why* do you love the place? Does it bring back memories? Is it the atmosphere?
If it's the food you love, this thread might be your chance to set your fellow hounds straight on what the *right* things to order are at the places that get bad reviews - the "secret" dishes that they get sublimely right in an otherwise barren menu wasteland.
Sweetwater Tavern...not that there is universal hatred for it, but I love the place for what it is. Service is typically excellent, the meats are always cooked exactly to my specifications, and in general the stuff just tastes good. The one time we had a very minor issue due to an inexperienced server and miscommunication with the kitchen...an issue we didn't even raise...the manager came by and more than made amends for the situation, which we didn't even have a real problem with.
And the crab fritter appetizer? One of the best things I have ever put in my mouth. Seriously.
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I've come across some disdain for Zed's Ethiopian Restaurant on the board, but it's been a favorite of mine for many years. Maybe I always get the good, spicy stuff, because they're familiar with me...or perhaps the folks who don't like Zed's are fans of Meskerem (which I don't like very much). Who knows?
Ruan Thai gets all the raves, but one block west is Dusit Thai. If Ruan didn't exist, I think people would appreciate Dusit more. I just love their seafood talay.