What's the deal with the Phantom GOurmet? Can someone clue me in here? I've never really paid a whole lot of attention to it but the few times that I have seen the show, they're pushing places like Applebees.
Is this just a Boston shill or what? Is it an independent group? How does it work?
I watch it from time to time and I haven't seen Applebees on it. The worst place I've seen them rave about is the Kowloon- well maybe Sunset Grill too. I like a lot of places they find in the Hidden Jewel spot - like fried chicken at Coast Cafe. Occasionally I see some place that I haven't been to in a while and it motivates me to get there - like the Parish Cafe recently. The show is okay, it's easy to spot the crap and occasionally something good turns up.
I think it's mostly Boston area/New England area, but he has reviewed "outside of New England". Here's a link to the areas he's reviewed:
As to how it works, not sure. With some of the places he reviews, you wonder if it's advertising based?
Here's the list of food vendors at the PG Food Festival last weekend.
Nothing there that really floats my boat. I've read several accounts of people going to this thing, and it sounds like a madhouse with many vendors "selling out" early and people just not able to get through the crowd to get food/drink. Just not worth it to me.
It used to be hosted by Billy Costa and was highly rated in the Boston area. Then Costa left and started TV Diner. Dave Robichaud took over as host of PG for a while, to be replaced by the Andelman brothers who may still be on the show. One of them (Dave?) owns the show and his brother, Dan hosts.
I thought it was worth watching when Billy Costa was on it, it went downhill with Robichaud but with the Adelmans, it is too painful to watch. They remind me of the Deen boys on Food Network.
The idea is that the "Phantom Gourmet" is an anonymous critic... restaurants aren't supposed to know who he is or what he looks like and therefore he (or she) will theoretically get the real restaurant experience as opposed to the gussied-up experience some restaurants will provide if they know the person is a restaurant reviewer. It is my impression that the host(s) of the show is a different person from the critic. That being said, he is one person with his (or her) own particular tastes and tastes vary from person to person. The Phantom is not afraid of admitting that he likes to visit chain restaurants. I haven't watched the show in a very long time, but I do check out the website from time to time.
There appear to be some hijinks. Strega gets a rave next week, but they clearly have a close relationship with the fat owner, as he is on all the time.