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Nov 29, 2006 04:06 PM

Joe's Garage MSP, and some philosophy

So I used to eat at Joe's fairly regularly a couple of years ago. I remember fun apps and entrees, and I loved the SWG salad, but would get asiago instead of gorgonzola. Well, I went back for the first time in quite a while, and was severely disappointed. Is it just me? Or have they slid backwards? What's with all the potatoes? And it looks like they're trying wa-a-ay too hard with the apps. I ended up ordering their curried yellowfin "burger". I don't think I've ever had worse tuna in my life. Even Red Lobster and Chili's had better tuna. This was horribly mealy and dry. They still carry the SWG salad.

So the philosophy. We all have recs for a certain area, and those are usually based on past experience. I've been guilty of recommending Joe's within the past year or so to people looking for recs in the Loring Park n'hood, but obviously those recs were based on outdated info. I think it's important to keep our impressions fresh, because some places do go downhill (recent thread about Midori's Floating World comes to mind, as does Salsa a la Salsa), and some places do get better as management or chefs or menus change. Or, some places are the best because they are the first and only, and as new and better places open, we don't always adjust our standards. Also, some places give us a favorable impression because it was our first experience with something, and that tempers our expectations. So, I think I'm going to discipline myself to not *recommend* anyplace that I haven't personally eaten at within the past year or less.

OK. Rant over. As always, thanks for listening.

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  1. thoughtful. yknow, i'd like to add that ive gotten really excited about places (after only eating there once) and posted a rec for a place, only to find that other people have had really different experiences there. maybe i'll only rec a place after eating there a second or a 3rd time. sad to hear about joes.

    1. It's so funny that this should come up today: I had given a list of my favorite restos in the Cities to a new co-worker today which I had not updated in a year and she said that she wasn't sure she could trust me based on my rec of Zander. I hadn't even eaten at Zander in a year when I wrote the list, so it is based on Zander 2 years ago, and I understand it has gone way downhill since then. It can really wreck your chowhound street cred! I told her I would not eat there anymore, and bought back my reputation, but it was touch and go.

      3 Replies
      1. re: AliceS

        It is definitely funny that this should come up today. Yesterday I gave _my_ favorite restaurant list to a co-worker -- and it has Joe's Garage on it from over a year ago! Oops!

        Do all chows keep a favorite restaurant list? Like, not just in your head, but typed out, ready to be given at a moment's notice in a chow emergency?

        (Alice -- sorry to agree with your co-worker on Zander... we've had bad luck there recently, too.)

        1. re: Chris Mitra

          Yeah, I had thrown in the towel on Zander awhile back, not because of my bad experiences, I didn't have any, but since the last time I went all I have heard is bad stuff from trusted sources.
          I know Josh Resnik keeps a list, and he inspired me to do one myself, which I desperately need to update.

        2. re: AliceS

          This is why repetition can be good on chowhound. You have to constantly be mining for updated information because things can change quickly at a restaurant.

          On the Zander note, I took a group there in February and they loved the food, but the service was awful. I remember some talk of a downhill slide even around that time. Too bad; I liked that place.


        3. oh my i'm totally behind on getting my list done!!! and people call us for recs all the time! why didn't i think of this before now? we'll all have to report on our lists in a week or so. . .

          1. This talk of a best restaurants list has inspired my husband and me to start a Google spreadsheet of all our finds. I'm going to try and enter everywhere we've been and each of us will rate them 1-5. Making it in Google spreadsheet will allow us to email others the link and provide easy access for each of us to update as we can. It lacks major descriptions but will hopefully help us keep track of where we've been and where we hope to go.

            Here's my first stab at it, have been brainstorming for about 20 minutes:


            4 Replies
            1. re: katebauer

              I keep my "list" in my chowhound profile and update it on occasion, for instance, just recently for winter. It's not as fancy and comprehensive as yours, though...


              1. re: katebauer

                wow-- ambitious, thorough & inspiring.
                however it could be even more informative if you also rated service or did comparisons with like-type restaraunts-- or you & your husband could do an ebert/roeper type thumbs up thumbs down thing-- that would be cool!

                1. re: soupkitten

                  Definitely - thanks for the suggestions. I wanted to start as simple as possible so it wouldn't be a burden to update. My husband is thinking about feeding the list into a blog where we can update in more detail. We'll work on it!

                  Comparing within categories of restaurants would be good. As it is now, our ratings are based on, "does the restaurant produce what they promise?" for example, Holy Land and Cosmos could get equal ratings because they do what they do extremely well.

                  Obviously this needs more refinement!

                  1. re: katebauer

                    AH! -- was wondering in particular on Holy Land's high marks! (love Holy Land) I absolutely agree with basing your ratings on a place's ability to do their thing well. i will follow your project with interest! :)

              2. One of my good friends works there and he's repeatedly told me that the only good thing on the menu is the garlic mashed potatoes.