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May 2, 2007 11:30 AM

overrated restaurants

i thought this to be an interesting topic. of course the views will vary. just curious to see if we can get some consensus. i have some views. tell me why you think the way you do about a certain place...

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  1. wd-50: I was under-impressed with the portions, flavors and the bread bakset.
    Prune: I don't understand the big draw to this place. I found the service to be bad and the food to be worse.
    Alias: One of the worst brunches that I've ever had. I will say that their orange juice was out-of-this-world, however.

    9 Replies
    1. re: LFeinberg

      Sorry, Must disagree with anyone on WD-50. Slow poached egg appetizer with chorizo essence and black olive powder was amazing. Ditto the porc belly main which had been brined 4 days and cooked at 155 for 24 hours. Also unlike many of the other restaurants in this thread, I felt the price was more than fair.

      1. re: oliver_selwyn

        I will agree with the original poster's disappointment with WD50. We never even got the bread basket so I can't speak to that, but 15 minutes to get a menu and an hour for our food was ridiculous - we would have walked out but were too hungry not to stay ... the entrees were TINY, and while the flavors were decent, I was really disappointed overall, since I had been looking forward to the meal for months. They even missed one dish we ordered and charged us for it on the bill...

        1. re: hewn

          I've eaten here four times in the last year and it has got steadily better. The July tasting menu is great and I've always had good service there. The complaints I hear about this restaurant don't make any sense to me.

      2. re: LFeinberg

        Agree on Prune. Was very unimpressed when we went there with the food and the atmosphere. Couldnt see what could possibly cause all the hype.

        1. re: Nehna

          I like the food at Prune just fine, but I really hated sitting in my neighbor's lap! the tables are so close together that going to the bathroom is impossible, and you are forced to hear the conversations at all the tables around you.

          Not pleasant.

        2. re: LFeinberg

          I'm not enamored with PRUNE, the place is overrated and the staff rush you out as fast as possible. It seems that they want to get people in and out asap to make a buck. The neighbors frowned at us as we waited far too long outside, what do they know that we don't?

          1. re: LFeinberg

            wd-50: ditto on portions and bread. I mean the bread is amazing but its such an additional tease to the meals other portions.
            .......and every steakhouse in Manhattan that could care less about the rest of the meal which are too many to list.

            1. re: LFeinberg

              I agree with the WD-50 posting - I was also incredibly disappointed. I didn't think the food was particularly outstanding and the portions were RIDICULOUSLY small, esp for the prices! Shame...

              1. re: LFeinberg

                Totally in agreement on Prune. Had a meal there a few days ago and both appetizer and main course were totally drowned in cream, as if shoddy ingedients needed to somehow be masked. I was dissapointed because I'v enjoyed dinner there many times before, but I always got the whole roasted fish. If I return, I'll go with that dish so i don't waste $50 on a pint of cream again...

              2. Tomoe Sushi and Poke - mixed reviews on CH, but I've tried both and think that, lower prices not withstanding, they are still overrated for the price and the mediocre sushi.

                Pastis & Schiller's - not worth the wait and at least, in the case of Pastis, not worth the prices that are marginally lower that Balthazar's.

                8 Replies
                1. re: MMRuth

                  schillers is bad, i think pastis is always good. i know i am in the minority on this site with them...

                  1. re: jsmitty

                    It's not that Pastis, IMHO, is bad - more that for just a little bit more money, I think Balthazar is a lot better.

                      1. re: MMRuth

                        Is Balhazar better for Saturday lunch or sunday brunch in your opinion? Thank you!

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      TOMOE SUSHI - most definitely and by far the most overrated restaurant I have been to.

                      1. re: nokitsch

                        Really, that's not how it used to be. I first started eating there about five years ago, when it really was excellent. The quality has dropped precipitously.

                      2. re: MMRuth

                        Tomoe used to be very good. I was there recently and it was just ordinary. I noticed that the older guy sushi chef was not there. I suspect the change in sushi chef made a big difference.

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          I want to retract my opinion about Poke being overrated - went this summer and the rolls were very good and the new place is v. good looking. Sashimi was definitely eh though.

                          1. re: LFeinberg

                            Perry Street
                            Il Buco

                            those come to mind...

                            1. re: jsmitty

                              Ooh, I can't agree on Bouley. I think it's a marvel. Nor, I have to say, on Tabla, which I think is excellent in every way.

                              WD-50, is another matter, and I agree with you.

                              - Sean

                              1. re: jsmitty

                                Totally disagree on Tabla - the only downside to the place is the noise level - food is fabulous!

                                1. re: aimeezing1

                                  much like il buco referenced below, we ate multiple things and consensus at the table was "eh" for tabla

                                2. re: jsmitty

                                  I must disagree re: Il Buco. I had a lovely meal there and the prices were not outrageous.

                                  1. re: rfelicello

                                    whatever the prices are not one of 8 of us were impressed. i was , although, impressed with the room at il buco. food needs flavor at a very basic level. il buco fell short... i came to this conclusion and was comfortable only after trying multiple dishes. i think it is incomplete to judge a restaurant on main and appetizer solely.

                                  2. re: jsmitty

                                    i can agree with some of these but haven't tried il buco, perry st. or bouley ... i did think that craftbar was just as good/better (and nicer service too) than craft and 1/2 the price, and the portions were bigger...

                                    1. re: jsmitty

                                      Totally agree with Il Buco. Indifferent service, and they often don't have have many of the items advertised on their menu.

                                      1. re: jsmitty

                                        I'm with you on Perry Street. Went for lunch last year for my mom's birthday and was the only unimpressed person at the table. Went again this weekned for Mother's Day (she cleaerly love it and anything else Jean Georges) and was again highly unimpressed (and left feeling not too well). Its a shame because I like most of his other resturants...

                                        I have to disagree on Bouley - I think the food there is just beautiful. The service on the other hand...Again this one was a shame, because whenever I go to Danube I'm sooooooo impressed by it.

                                        1. re: rdflig

                                          i would love to change my view of bouley with a return visit. however, as i have said in other posts, i willl only opine in a forceful fashion after having sampled a lot of dishes at a restaurant. i had the tasting menu at bouley and was not wowed!

                                    2. Boqueria. The idea of tapas in the US is another story altogether -- but I think this place is severely overhyped and overpriced.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: chowcito

                                        Agreed. Ate there last weekend and could not understand the thrill. However, will say the once exception was the bacon wrapped grilled stuffed dates. Those were excellent.

                                        1. re: chowcito

                                          I am so glad you said that. Went with hubby and 2 other friends a few weeks ago and I would say it goes down as one of our all-time worst dining experiences ever. I was really looking forward to it after all the buzz and felt totally duped. Rude, harried, and absent-when-we-needed-them service and we all hated most of the food. We got some kind of shrimp in a skillet which came out totally raw. Even the waiter said, "Eww" when we showed him. No bueno.

                                          1. re: chowcito

                                            Agree 100%. The food was so-so (I make better bacon-wrapped dates!), and the service was awful. The waitress spilled a salad all over the table, up her arm, and simply replaced it in the bowl at our table with no apologies. I'd much rather go to Sala 19 down the street for better food and far superior service.

                                            1. re: chowcito

                                              Totally agree-- its a fine place for the usual tapas rip off, but didn't think it was anything special.

                                            2. Dos Caminos - I have had Taco Bell meals that were more satisfying and the service is consistenly terrible
                                              City Crab - Never have had a meal there where there wasnt at least one dish that was unedible
                                              Agave - Even worse that Dos Caminos.

                                              36 Replies
                                              1. re: princeofpork

                                                Craft would be my first choice with Perry Street being right up there are overpriced and not good enough. I've also never enjoyed any of the tasting menus, which I've mostly had at various incarnations of Bouley. And I'd throw in Danube as another pricey place we didn't enjoy at all. I like this thread and think the opposite (great deals) would be a good idea also.

                                                1. re: tsiblis

                                                  oh my lord you are speaking my language i love you for saying craft, bouley and perry street are underwhelming...those were three i was going to list. expectations were high, yummy factor not so high...

                                                  1. re: jsmitty

                                                    I third, or fourth, the opinion of Craft. One of the most underwhelming meals I've ever had the misfortune of paying 3 figures for. The whole gimmick with the sides is annoying and the service was insulting. Just because the chef is famous is not a reason for the waiter to be snotty or the food to be mediocre.
                                                    Speaking of famous chefs, but this may just be too easy, Mesa Grill is not worth going into at all. Maybe it was good once, a very long time ago, but now it's just plain dull. It's like eating at Chevy's.

                                                    1. re: Gnu23

                                                      yes the service at craft was so surprisingly aloof and amateurish.

                                                      1. re: Gnu23

                                                        I echo all your Craft sentiments.

                                                        1. re: kiworan79

                                                          Add my vote for Craft. Worst anniversary dinner experience yet, and the costliest too. Fish with sour apple sauce?!? C'mon! The only saving grace were the hot donuts with chocolate and cherry sauces. Too bad it's not like Otto (also overrated for food but sublime gelato) where you can just get dessert at the bar.

                                                          Also way over-hyped, but less of a ripoff comparatively: Shake Shack. Take it from a midwesterner - those aren't real dogs, and that definitely isn't real custard. And yet, every summer I get dragged by tourist friends, and I order in the hopes that one day it will magically transform into actual frozen custard (which you can turn upside down) instead of the glop they serve. And my low expectations are always, always confirmed.

                                                          Another friend from Milwaukee (where they do custard right) calls it the "shake down shack" - so true!

                                                          1. re: windycity

                                                            Hey, I'm from St. Louis, home of the Concrete, and Shake Shack is the real deal. The only real difference between this and the standard St. Louis concrete is that Shake Shack uses much larger ingredient chunks in their mix-ins.

                                                        2. re: Gnu23

                                                          I am SO with you on Mesa Grill. I ate at one of Bobby Flay's restaurants years ago when he was just becoming a famous chef - it was on the Upper East Side and has since closed - and the food was great. I never seemed to get around to trying Mesa Grill and always wanted to, finally got around to it last summer. Oh boy, that was one seriously disappointing and expensive meal. All of us at the table chewed thoughtfully not wanting to spoil anyone else's good time so we didn't say anything, but looking at all our faces in retrospect, the mood was funereal for sure. Waaaaay too serious for a group of people enjoying their meals. Afterwards we all found out we had the same opinion. I'd go back for a quick lunch of Sophie's Salad, though.

                                                          1. re: ballulah

                                                            I found that Mesa Grill is best when you order a bunch of appetizers to share. The flavors are wonderful and the round of appetizers reasonable as a meal. Rarely do I order an entree there unless it sounds amazing, and then I like to share it too!

                                                            1. re: ny.frenchfry

                                                              I agree with that. We like to sit at the bar and have a few appetizers if we're in that neighborhood. The main courses used to be really good (years ago). But the few I've tried more recently (in the past year or so) were nothing to coo over.

                                                      1. re: jsmitty

                                                        Thought of one more;
                                                        Dylan Prime - what is worse the food or service

                                                        1. re: princeofpork

                                                          it's always been on my list shall i scratch it off?

                                                          1. re: jsmitty

                                                            definitely scratch it off. terrible.

                                                            1. re: kiworan79

                                                              There are so many better places for Steak than Dylan Prime I don't know where to start.

                                                          2. re: princeofpork

                                                            Dylan Prime, ugh. That place is like Friendly's. It calls itself a serious restaurant and serves fishbowl cocktails, as well as a t-bone "steak" made of white chocolate and cake for dessert. I've got to say, though - our service was pretty good.

                                                            1. re: princeofpork

                                                              My husband and I had great steaks and cocktails at DP. Service was good too.

                                                              1. re: princeofpork

                                                                Dylan Prime was SUPER unimpressive, especially for the huge amt. of money it cost. I kinda like Prune... can't go too wrong with all that animal fat.

                                                              2. re: jsmitty

                                                                Whew! Craft has long been on my wish list. Thanks for saving me the time and money.

                                                                Vong is topping my list of overrated places right now. I should have listened to you hounds and not gone there but...circumstances beyond my control.

                                                                I disagree with negative review of Agave. At the advice of hounds, I recently spent a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon there with several mates. Food and drinks yummy. A bit drafty, and we were moved to another table immediately.

                                                                1. re: fershore

                                                                  Don't cross Craft off your list just based on one person's rec. Most people like Craft.

                                                                  However, +1 for Vong being overrated. Hell, last time I checked, it had a Michelin Star. What a joke! JGV must have those guys wrapped around his finger to pull down a star for that mediocre joint.

                                                                  1. re: jakew8

                                                                    One person's rec? There are at least 6 or 7 people here who feel Craft is way overrated. I wish it was just me...I wanted it to be good but, for the money, it just plain sucked.

                                                                    1. re: Gnu23

                                                                      OK, then don't judge it on 6 or 7 peoples' recs. Judge it for yourself, keeping in mind that it has far more fans than detractors.

                                                                    2. re: jakew8

                                                                      I agree -- don't cross Craft off your list. It's one of my top 3 upscale meals in the city, so my advice is to try it and judge for yourself.

                                                                      1. re: a_and_w

                                                                        one of my top 3 disappointments along with perry street, bouley and il buco.....

                                                                        1. re: jsmitty

                                                                          Yes, I read that -- sounds like our preferences are precisely opposite. (I like Bouley and WD-50 but have never been to Perry Street.) What are some places in that price range that you like?

                                                                          1. re: a_and_w

                                                                            jean georges
                                                                            tasting room
                                                                            cafe gray
                                                                            fr.og(went last night it was great)
                                                                            a voce
                                                                            gramercy tavern
                                                                            veritas(maybe my fave of the bunch)

                                                                            oh, i should add l'impero to the disappointing list forgot them....

                                                                            1. re: jsmitty

                                                                              Damn, our preferences aren't all that different after all. Babbo's my top high end meal and I'm right with you on GT, Veritas, and Annisa (though only Veritas would make my top 5). So much for that theory!

                                                                              1. re: jsmitty

                                                                                totally forgot about my disapointing meal at cafe grey - shame. Cru is on my list, is it really not worth it?

                                                                  2. re: princeofpork

                                                                    i would go as far to say that dos caminos (soho that is) was one of the most memorably awful meals i've eaten in nyc...

                                                                    1. re: princeofpork

                                                                      Can't say I agree with those three restaurants as overhyped, poor restaurants, sure, but not overhyped. I can't recall anyone saying anything positive about them.

                                                                      1. re: princeofpork

                                                                        I disagree on Dos Caminos - at least, on the service. Had the best service ever at the SoHo location. I actually left a 25% tip.

                                                                        1. re: piccola

                                                                          the service may be fine, but the food sucks

                                                                        2. re: princeofpork

                                                                          On City Crab - I found the cervice to be awful, maybe we just had a bad apple a 50 soomething disaapointed actor type.

                                                                          1. re: princeofpork

                                                                            Agree with you on both Dos Caminos and Agave. Unfortunately for me I have two (yes two) bachellorette party dinners there this week. One tonight for a work friend and one Saturday for my cousin. blech! At least its a nice night, so maybe the margaritas will be refreshing...

                                                                            1. re: princeofpork

                                                                              City Crab is terrible. I'm not sure that it's overhyped as I don't think it has much of a reputation at all.