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Restaurants everyone loves--except you

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Sometimes I think I must have mutant tastebuds: Everyone in the world seems to love Telepan except for me. What are the restaurants where your tastebuds stubbornly refuse to see things the way everyone else's seem to? The really divisive restaurants (like WD50) don't count.

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  1. Il Coralo on Prince St in SoHo is ALWAYS crowded.
    I've actually given it 3 chances. It's terrible. Really not good at all. What is everyone thinking?

    1. Hearth
      Ate their for my birthday (shortly after it opened), after reading the raves on CH. It was OK but nothing that great.

      7 Replies
      1. re: bxgirl

        I'm going to second Hearth. We tried it this weekend, and maybe caught them at a hectic point in the night, but we were underwhelmed. The wait between our courses was really really long. And the service just didn't make us feel as "special" as we should have for the prices. We didn't stay for dessert cause we were just so tired. and $10 ice cream? really??

        The chilled corn soup w/ crap was great.
        My sturgeon wasn't really impressive, and the accompanying beans weren't cooked through thoroughly.
        The beet salad was good, but nothing new.
        His veal entree was small, but good.

        1. re: erin07nyc

          can we assume it was, in fact, CRAB in the corn soup? :)

          1. re: erin07nyc

            agreed on hearth...small portion sizes negate the value of the prices and they rob you on the wine.

          2. re: bxgirl

            God yes...Hearth. Nothing distinctive or memorable about the menu, over priced for what it is, despite the chef's pedigree. In general, a generic experience I could have had at any number of places in the area not worthy of the price tag.

            1. re: claireness

              In that case, please name the other places, so that I can check them out.

              1. re: Pan

                Maybe that should be on a separate thread? (But my main point is that Hearth isn't anything special--to me, it was like going to cafe deaville but with better service or pangea whose service is always good. For those prices i expected the food to me more memorable, with a little bit of a twist so i was disappointed. I felt I was paying mainly for atmostphere. I would have rather spent my money on a meal at Shima, devil moon, orologio or mercadito, typhoon.)

              2. re: claireness

                What did happen to Hearth? Does anyone know? I ate there about two years ago and it was as memorable, fantastic, etc as I expected. In fact to this date, it's the best meal I ever had from appetizer to dessert. But lately, it's barely half full. Did something happen to the chef, or the staff?

            2. Balthazar is one of those places that I find Ok, but not worth all the hype.

              17 Replies
              1. re: SweetPea914

                COMPLETELY AGREE re: Bathazaar. I am less enthusiastic about Pastis lately as well--it has been taken over by the B&T crowd and the food quality doesn't match the prices.

                1. re: Ora

                  Pastis has always (for past 6 years) been overwhelmed by the b&t crowd and had trouble keeping it's serving (and food) head above water. Best are not-busy times, if you can manage---salad nicoise, fish & chips, cod dishes good.

                  1. re: rosemary1008

                    I had the fish and chips at Pastis in the last month--awful dish.

                2. re: SweetPea914

                  Could you precisely describe this "hype" that supposedly surrounds or surrounded Balthazar?


                  1. re: Chinon00

                    I am a fan of Balthazar. I like their steak frites, moules, and also when they have them, soft shell crabs. I've had a couple of dishes I didn't care for, but I still think the food is solid and good. I don't mind the noise of other people, so it works for me. It's right near my place of business, so for business lunches it's good. I've never been there for dinner. As far as hype goes, the place has been there long enough that I don't see any hype. Not sure what that would be. I think if there is hype it's because the food is good and hasn't changed much since it 1st opened.

                    1. re: michele cindy

                      I agree with you - I enjoy their steak tartare, the frites, the plateau de fruits de mer, the reasonably priced house wines by the carafe. I've actually always had very good service there, despite the crowds, and often manage to snag a late lunch reservation for two on the morning I want to go. I've never tried eating there without a reservation though. If there is hype, I guess I've just ignored it.

                      1. re: michele cindy

                        In your post that I was responding to you stated:
                        "Balthazar is one of those places that I find Ok, BUT NOT WORTH ALL THE HYPE."
                        I'm asking you to clarify this "hype" that you mentioned.


                        1. re: Chinon00

                          I think it was actually SweetPea who wrote that.

                          1. re: MMRuth

                            Actually I feel the opposite -- love Balthazar and not so keen about Pastis.

                            1. re: sugakc69

                              Not sure if this threading is funny or something - but I agree with you - not a fan of Pastis and love Balthazar.

                              1. re: sugakc69

                                I feel the same...Balthazar has always provided me with a great meal. Pastis on the other hand always leaves something to be desired. It doesn't help either that they left a big wad of aluminum foil in my friend's entree... oops.

                            2. re: Chinon00

                              Sorry to make you wait for my response. I see you have been waiting on pins and needles ;-)
                              I think what I meant is that if you go to any post on this site regarding which restaurants are "not to miss" at least 3 people will tell the poster that they "must" go to Balthazar. I honestly have not been in a few years, but that is partly due to the fact that reservations always had to be made so far in advance for a "prime" time dinner.
                              I much prefer a low key place like Raoul's with wonderful French food over Balthazar any day. This is of course MY opinion, I guess since you are willing to go to Balthazar from PA that our opinions must differ. As someone who lives in the city, I think there are much better restaurants to go to. Although I have to say that I am a bit confused, since you seem defensive about a restaurant that you also seem to think has no merrit??? Can you please clarify the reason for your previous comments?

                              1. re: SweetPea914

                                Having read Raoul's menu and having been to Balthazar it is obvious that the former's menu is much more ambitious. Having said that though as far as my idea of a French bistro goes Balthazar is a much more accurate example of one. The look, the noise, the speed, and the simplicity of the food define (for me) a French bistro. Of course there is "better food" but sometimes you're in the mood for a quick Steak Fritte and a bottle of Moulin a Vent.

                                1. re: Chinon00

                                  raoul's menu changed recently and became more ambitious. they used to have great steak frites.

                        2. re: SweetPea914

                          I'll second Balthazar. Totally underwhelming.

                          1. re: howboy

                            Count me in too. Been to Balthazar twice, both times was totally unimpressed. Had dinner at Pastis one night recently and enjoyed the food and the ambiance much more.

                          2. Gramercy Tavern and Union Square Cafe. Hated the food, hated the service. Strangely, I was entranced by Craft, which had the same chef as Gramercy Tavern (Mr Colicchio)

                            23 Replies
                            1. re: Brian S

                              EMP. I found it pretentious and the food boring

                              1. re: princeofpork

                                I like the food pretty well, but can see what you mean about the pretentiousness. It wasn't so much the service in my experience as it was some of the other patrons.

                                1. re: princeofpork

                                  Agree. Pretentious, stuffy. Miniscule portions. I don't get it.

                                  1. re: princeofpork

                                    I found EMP way too quiet in a huge space. Totally not happening , and the food missed the mark although it wasnt bad it just want all that it was cracked up to be.
                                    Yasuda I think is way overrated and the management need an attitude adjustment.
                                    Babbo is really not good.
                                    Malatesta deesnt deserve the raves, alot of cream and cheese.
                                    Sarge's is about the worst deli in the metro area.
                                    Blue Water Grill is not too good.
                                    BLT fish the blt myst stand for bad, lousy tasting
                                    Bubby's is absolutely horrible and always has a crowd
                                    Magnolia Bakery has inedible cupcakes and they always have a line to get in
                                    Mr. Chow's famous and overrated ,,is terrible and a rip off

                                  2. re: Brian S

                                    Hmm, I think I agree with you on all counts! Not so unusual to like one place by a chef, but hate another. I'm the same way with Anthos and Kefi. I loooove Kefi. Anthos is just ok.

                                    1. re: Brian S

                                      I second Union Square Cafe - although I didn't hate it. I was just terribly underwhelmed.

                                      1. re: BaconBits

                                        Agreed. Union Sq. Cafe was perfectly decent but far from great. I see no reason to ever go back there.

                                      2. re: Brian S

                                        When did you go to GT? Colicchio is no longer involved in Gramercy Tavern, and even before he left, he didn't have a big hand in the kitchen/cooking (from my understanding).

                                        1. re: kathryn

                                          Since when and who is running GT now??? Who is cooking there too? And who is running Po (not related , but hey... :))

                                          1. re: rosemary1008

                                            Colicchio left in August of 2006 to focus on Craft/Craftsteak/wichcraft/etc.

                                            John Schaefer, the chef de cuisine under Colicchio, ran the kitchen at Gramercy Tavern until Michael Anthony was brought in. Anthony took over in the fall of 2006.

                                            1. re: kathryn

                                              the new issue [oct 2007] of cooking light magazine has an article about the curret trend of restaurant offering more healthful options...and there's a paragraph about the changes michael anthony has made to gt's menu, creating lighter, vegetable-centric dishes.

                                              unfortunately, people in this country have beecome accustomed to dining out on such unnecessarily heavy and unhealthy dishes, that i have to wonder if some of the dissatisaction with recent dining experiences at gt is not because the quality has gone downhill, but is instead simply because the food is now lighter/more subtle or less decadent than the diners have come to expect.

                                            2. re: rosemary1008

                                              Kathryn is correct that Tom Colicchio had not spending much, if any, time in the Gramercy Tavern kitchen for quite a while. Too busy with his various Craft restaurants. He finally severed his relationship with Gramercy Tavern and Danny Meyer's USHG in the middle of '06. Last October, Michael Anthony, formerly of Blue Hill, took over as executive chef. Also, Nancy Olson became the new pastry chef shortly before Chef Anthony's arrival.

                                              Here is info about Po: http://porestaurant.com/main/

                                          2. re: Brian S

                                            Thank you -- when I saw this -- the only place that I really don't like and can't understand is Uuion Square Cafe -- been there 3 times and all the time I just think it is an overpriced diner.

                                            1. re: sugakc69

                                              Ditto, I never liked Union Square Cafe................

                                            2. re: Brian S

                                              Gramercy Tavern has a new executive chef; Michael Anthony, who used to work at Stone Barns at Blue Hill. He has been at GM since September 2006.

                                              We have visited GM a couple of times during the past month and find chef Anthony's cooking quite delicious. Fresh, local ingredients, the flavors are clean & delicious, sometimes subtle, sometimes big. We love it that he uses broth a lot, instead of heavy sauces. Very refined, but homey at the same time.

                                              1. re: FoodWine

                                                Actually, the bulk of Michael Anthony's time at Blue Hill was spent in GV. If he did spend any time at Stone Barns, it was relatively short. Dan Barber was, and still is, the guiding force at Stone Barns.

                                                1. re: RGR

                                                  Maybe you should let Danny Meyer, chef Anthony & whoever is on charge of GT's web site know that.
                                                  There it says:
                                                  "Prior to joining GT, he (Anthony) was Executive Chef of Blue Hill at Stone Barns and earlier, the co-executive chef of Blue Hill in Manhattan..." (etc)...

                                                  All I said was the he used to work there. Not how long -or even in what capacity. Did not feel the need to write his resume.

                                                1. re: Brian S

                                                  Gramercy Tavern - exceptionally poor service given the hype, reputation and cost.

                                                  1. re: loveroffood

                                                    I know this is an old thread, but I can only assume that this talk of Gramercy Tavern not living up to expectations of food or service are being made by people living in an alternate universe.

                                                    Seriously. There is no comparison. There is Gramercy Tavern and then there are all others. It is the restaurant by which all others should be judged.

                                                    The tavern side of GT is extremely UNpretentious - welcoming, served by knowledgeable and well-trained staff, extremely high level of quality control at all levels and components, with food that is delicately prepared, beautifully presented, expertly served, and extremely tasty. the dining room is an experience unto itself.

                                                    Gramercy Tavern
                                                    42 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003

                                                    1. re: ChairmanMeeow

                                                      I haven't eaten there in quite a few years but my experiences have been as you described. Very nice staff, competent and (mercifully) unobtrusive service, excellent, non-cutesy food. I was the guest of a dear friend most recently and he and I were both bemused afterward when his lover claimed to have been "intimidated" by the place. Go figure.

                                                      I don't know that I'd rate it as the standard by which all others are judged but that doesn't detract from the fact that GT's wonderful.

                                                      1. re: MacGuffin

                                                        My wife and I eat there at least once a week, sometimes more frequently. We actually find it tough to eat at other places, because of the standard being set so high by GT. I think that Danny doesn't hold this high level of service at USQ or EMP. It's a function of the GM Kevin Mahan and beverage director Juliette Pope.

                                                        Your comment about unobtrusive service is spot on. One (my wife calls it crazy) measure I use of a well-trained staff -- besides their extreme attention to thorough knowledge of what's being served every day and the wines/beers on the glass list -- is the lack of "clanking" of dishes, silverware, and glasses while serving and clearing.

                                                        This is not just in the formal dining room, but on the tavern side and even dining at the bar (which is where we dine a majority of the time).

                                                        Anyway - I'm a fan as you might be able to tell

                                                        1. re: ChairmanMeeow

                                                          In addition to clanking et al., I don't like wait staff hovering to fulfill my every wish, either. I like them to be available and helpful but pretty much undetectable for the most part.

                                                          I remember eating years ago (actually, it was just prior to 9/11) at Cipriani in SoHo. We were repulsed that the maitre d' and waiters were alternately arrogant (with a hint of condescension) and obsequious. Needless to say, we never returned. Too bad because I enjoyed the food itself.

                                                2. CELESTE. Ate there twice the first year it was open. The first time the food was good, the second time they forgot to cook my wife's mussels before serving them yet still had plenty of time to schmooz the regulars. The noise and the crowding were remeniscent of the subway at rush hour. Haven't been back.

                                                  6 Replies
                                                      1. re: LeahBaila

                                                        Third that! And it wasn't b/c of the scientific food, either. I've eaten that inventive fare in Spain, but i didn't care for WD-50.

                                                        1. re: brownie

                                                          wd-50 was the second most disappointing meal in my life

                                                    1. re: Brian W

                                                      Yes, I've noticed the completely bipolar service at Celeste, too. I've heard it's a difference of when the manager is in or not. There are evenings I've been where it's honest to goodness 5 star service. Other days, it' more like a 2. There's very little in between.

                                                      1. re: Brian W

                                                        I completely agree with Celeste. I have been twice in the last couple of weeks and thought it was so bad. The pizza was WAY to salty, the service was just annoying and the way they pack you in is terrible. They had to move two tables just for me to get out (and I am not by any means a fat person). I found everything to be soaked in olive oil, expect for the almond crusted chicken, for which their was oddly no sauce or olive oil at all and the crust was hard as rock. Look, I get the whole Italian bistro charm with the guys up front schmoozing and that, but the guy working the door and walking around was just downright annoying and talked to hear himself talk.

                                                      2. There is a restaurant called Trattoria Pesce Pasta on Bleecker St. On any given night, there will be a line waiting to get in. It's one of the worst impressions of Italian food that I have ever eaten. I was fooled once- won't happen again. Also, Arturo's pizza on Houston. I don't get the hype, both times I tried it I gnawed through crust that was dry and flavorless, with tomato and cheese that were only so-so, and definitely stereotypical restaurant-supply quality. If Arturo's was considered a local favorite, or a neighborhood poizza joint, that would be one thing. But it's consistently listed with Lombardi's, Patsy's and John's as the best pizza in NYC, and I find that bewildering.

                                                        6 Replies
                                                        1. re: vvvindaloo

                                                          Maybe you need to give Arturo's just one more shot-- I really find it to be head and shoulders above just a local favorite. I know this is a board about places people love you but, but you should just one try pizza with garlic, basil and prosciutto there... it's perfection!

                                                          1. re: jdream

                                                            I don't know- there's just so much good pizza out there. Don't you find Arturo's crust to be hard and overcooked (or maybe just a badly made dough)? I try to judge pizza on an even playing field- margherita vs. margherita. Sometimes I will get a topping or two, but I really am more of a purist at heart.

                                                            1. re: vvvindaloo

                                                              Haven't found the crust hard or overcooked. Normally actually leaves a nice little bit of olive oil on your lips-- it's one of my favorite things are their pizza. Have you been recently? I won't preach too hard, just happens to be that good... to me at least :)

                                                              1. re: jdream

                                                                I LOVE Arturo's. So please give it another try.

                                                                1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                                                                  Arturo's is hit or miss. I had pizza with a terrible crust there once but the next time it was fine.

                                                            2. re: jdream

                                                              Love Arturo's, great pizza's, stuffed clams to die for, Jazz at night. Did I mention great pizza! Fantastic crust, great cheese and perfect sauce. Not soggy like Lombardi's. Better than Johns. God I wish they were open now!

                                                          2. The first time I went to Jojo's when it first opened, my wife and I were blown away. However, we went back a few years ago right after Jean George completely renovated the town house and the menu. We were sorely dissapointed both by the decore and the menu. Had a difficult time choosing something to eat. Everthing was much heavier, more traditional French rather than the light Asian influenced fare the old restaurant had offered. My wife even commented that she like my butternut squash soup better.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: aeros

                                                              Are you talking about Jojo's on the UES??? I feel the menu is very asian inspired and light. Most of the items on the semi static menu utilize reduced juices and vegetable purees to lighten dishes and give and ad hoc asian flair. I don't really see the heavy (haute cuisine) or even nouvelle cuisine on the menu at all. In fact Jojo's though portions can be a little small is one of my favorite restaurants in NYC!!!!!!!!

                                                              1. re: ChefPeter

                                                                I agree with Peter. I ate at JoJo twice last year and did not find the food heavy at all, and definitely not "traditional French". Far from it.

                                                              1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                                                                I love Thiru! But you're right: the dosas aren't the best, ever. (Too soft and thick, not beautifully crispy like you get at Chennai Garden or Saravannas.) It's in part the novelty of dosas from a cart, Thiru himself, the low prices, and (in a previous life, at least), the convenient location.

                                                                I will say that the vada on Tu are extremely good for not having been fried on the spot.

                                                                1. Burger Joint....not worth the $6 or the long wait. nothing special and tasteless. I can only enjoy it when it's drowned in ketchup and hot sauce.

                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                  1. re: kelea

                                                                    i agree with burger joint. and i would add corner bistro in there too.

                                                                    1. re: TBird

                                                                      Agreed on both counts. There's nothing bad about them (they're burgers!), but I don't see the fuss at all. Shake Shack on the other hand....

                                                                      1. re: janethepain

                                                                        Corner Bistro is a godsend. Shake Shack on the other hand indeed - good but nowhere near worth the wait, price, or hype. People, put down the Shake Shack Kool-Aid!

                                                                      2. re: TBird

                                                                        I love Corner Bistro's bacon cheeseburger medium-rare... I do takeout because I do not find the gruff service charming.

                                                                        1. re: Liquid Sky

                                                                          Yeah, the medium rare bistro burger (ie bacon cheeseburger), that's what I get too. Getting it to go is a good plan, although I really do love the atmosphere in there. That's one of my top places to take friends from out of town.

                                                                        2. re: TBird

                                                                          They have two cooks - one is amazing, the other is underwhelming.

                                                                        1. re: LeahBaila

                                                                          Ditto Shake Shack. (I couldn't resist.)

                                                                          1. re: racer x

                                                                            I was going to add Shake Shack. I found the concretes, shakes, and burgers nothing special, especially for the prices and wait (and I only waited around 10-15 minutes at 4 PM one day). Shake was...very sweet and not all that thick. Burger was OK but not that juicy and lacked flavor. Didn't have the fries. Maybe I was just expecting something more because of all the hype.

                                                                            1. re: merrymc

                                                                              hrmm i think your experience is quite different from the one i had. i do like the burger quite a lot but can't stand the line, so i rarely go. i found the shake so dense that i couldn't suck any through the straw, and the burger to me is all about the meat they use and the amount of salt that is put in. a good burger, yet i do think people overrate it a bit.

                                                                              1. re: artfuldestruct

                                                                                Thought Shake Shack was very average. Definitely not worth the wait.

                                                                                1. re: MHC

                                                                                  There needs to be some series of psychological experiments done on people who wait in that line. These is no food, anywhere, worth waiting in a line that stretches a quarter of a mile for. Never has been. Never will be.

                                                                                  1. re: Jonny Pops

                                                                                    I think waiting for Shake Shack for more than 15 minutes is really a thing of the past - except for the original branch perhaps, on a nice day.

                                                                                    1. re: uwsister

                                                                                      I'm talking about the original of course - and yes the line still stretches across the park for reasons that defy all logic and common sense.

                                                                                      1. re: Jonny Pops

                                                                                        It most certainly does....and it's essentially a burger chain now.

                                                                                        1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                          whatever, it is by far my favorite burger chain ever then.

                                                                                          1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                            it was essentially a chain when it started - a chain with one link.....

                                                                                            1. re: thew

                                                                                              5 locations in NYC.
                                                                                              3 locations outside of NY.
                                                                                              4 more in development, 2 of which are in the Middle East.

                                                                                              1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                yes. my point was the quality and approach were always about being a high end chain - even when it was only one place.

                                                                                                1. re: thew

                                                                                                  I'm not sure that was the original concept or intent, otherwise I was agreeing with you.

                                                                            2. re: LeahBaila

                                                                              I agree re Shake Shack . What is the hype about?

                                                                              1. re: LeahBaila

                                                                                I agree.

                                                                                I ate at the original. Very ho-hum.

                                                                              2. It would have to be Da Andrea - it's not like I completely dislike it, it was okay but kind of boring.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: pellegrino31

                                                                                  I second that -- everything was completely underseasoned.

                                                                                2. Rolf's. Microwaved dishes, leaden spaetzle, the service is either arrogant or incompetent or both. Yet it's always packed. I think people are downing so many cocktails they don't notice anything else.

                                                                                  1. Not sure if it qualifies as an "everyone loves" but jfood would add

                                                                                    Ben Bensons
                                                                                    Cafe Un Deux Trois

                                                                                    1. Lupa.

                                                                                      I think it's generally mediocre and, in some cases, just plain bad.

                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: tsb2001

                                                                                        Thank you!!! I went once to Lupa and all three of us hated it! The veal saltimbanco was just bad. The wine was boiling hot and the service was awful. They just don't care for you. I heard that the pasta was good but neither one of us had pasta. I was thinking of giving it another shot because of the pasta but I think I'll try another place before going back there!

                                                                                        1. re: tsb2001

                                                                                          I second Lupa, once was enough, mediocre food, lousy food, very very loud, and extremely cramped tables.

                                                                                          1. re: G3B

                                                                                            While I love Babbo, I didn't like Lupa at all. My pasta was terrible, the service indifferent, crowded, the waitstaff kept bumping into my friend's chair - I just don't get why everyone loves Lupa.

                                                                                            I also don't like Artisenal - food was mediocre, service sucked.

                                                                                          2. Each Batali restaurant that I have been to and Bouley......................

                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: MIKELOCK34

                                                                                              Agree Batali is generally overrated - particularly Babbo and Esca. Overpriced, nothing special about the food. And hate the "Mario's ipod" music selections.

                                                                                              1. re: loveroffood

                                                                                                Babbo was one of the worst dining experiences I have ever had at that pricepoint. The food and music were extreme in an in-your-face way. I was sick to my stomach and had a pounding headache by the time I left.

                                                                                                110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                                                                                                1. re: baconbitgirl

                                                                                                  Ditto on Babbo. The food was bland and the attitudes were atrocious. I would have been happier and more satisfied eating pasta out of the box.

                                                                                                  110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                                                                                                  1. re: madwells13

                                                                                                    Apparently not a popular opinion, but i love Babbo. Everything I've had there every time has been consistently delicious, and the service always wonderful. And they have a dessert there that is one of the best I've ever eaten -- Mascapone Maple Cheesecake. Love, love, love.

                                                                                                    110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                                                                                                2. re: loveroffood

                                                                                                  I have split opinion on Babbo. I thought the food was great. But the staff is obnoxious and the music ridiculous. We won't be back

                                                                                                  110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                                                                                              2. Celeste on the UWS. It's croweded but TERRIBLE.

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: lookingforpig

                                                                                                  Totally agree - been there twice and it feels like you are eating medicore food on the lap of people you don't know. Also UWS busy, but why - Cafe Du Soleil on 104th Street - eaten there 3 times and the food is tasteless, tables also too close together and the service seems to be by people who are not waiters but just wandered off the street and were given jobs.

                                                                                                  1. re: aimeezing1

                                                                                                    Interesting. That hasn't been my experience. I found the coq au vin and white wine / garlic roasted chicken to be pretty well made, actually, and all the potato sides (rosemary roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes, and fries) to be very enjoyable, as well. The burger royale was pretty skimpy with the foie gras and the meat wasn't as fresh as I like in a simple burger -- I want my burger meat to be good enough for steak -- but Cafe du Soleil does have it's redeeming aspects. Desserts are also good, though they are perpetually out of their blueberry bread pudding.

                                                                                                2. Otto - Ragu with spaghetti tastes better. I'm convinced they must put crack in that sauce. That's the only reason I can of think why people rave about that place.

                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: tm76

                                                                                                    Otto is the only Batali joint I've been too. While the antipasti were superb, the pasta and pizza were awful. Like sauce out of a jar, and disappointing crust. Will go back for the prosciutto though!

                                                                                                    1. re: christinag123

                                                                                                      I wasn't impressed by Otto, either. My experience wasn't as bad as yours, but I give the meal a definite "eh" rating. Plus the noise drove me crazy.

                                                                                                      1. re: piccola

                                                                                                        Finally got to go to Otto last night and my, was I disappointed. The pizzas were totally mediocre. The spaghetti carbonara was the worst I ever tried----told the waitress it was inedible and disgusting and was still charged for it. Service was totally indifferent----had to hail a manager when our waitress disappeared and two items we ordered did not arrive. Otto is simply awful!

                                                                                                        1. re: sadowsky

                                                                                                          The service at Otto is horrifying and the manager was an unhelpful a-hole. I won't be going back.


                                                                                                  2. amazing 66. I ordered a bunch of casseroles once. They were pretty bad.
                                                                                                    Di fara, it's run of the mill pizza joint.
                                                                                                    Most fancy burger joints.

                                                                                                    15 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: randumbposter

                                                                                                      Oh man, I thought I was the only one that didn't get all the hype surrounding DiFara's. Yes, it's a good pizza, but if no one had said anytihng, I don't think I would have been able to pick the place out as anything extraordinary. I have enjoyed a few pies there, but after an hourlong wait, I'm sure garbage would taste good to me. It's too parmesan-y to me and I don't understand the point of drowning it in olive oil.

                                                                                                      (takes cover from imminent flying tomatoes)

                                                                                                      1. re: janethepain

                                                                                                        Same here. I've had a couple of slices just out of the oven and they were not the epiphany that some others claim. That goes for the square pie, which I also sampled straight out of the oven. I kept thinking, "Is that all there is? Is that all there is to DiFara's?" Give me Patsy's at 117 Street and break out the booze and have a ball!

                                                                                                      2. re: randumbposter

                                                                                                        "Di fara, it's run of the mill pizza joint."

                                                                                                        Love it or hate it, name ONE pizza joint in NYC that is similar to DiFara's in any way but decor. What he is doing is the exact opposite of "run of the mill", for better or for worse.

                                                                                                        1. re: kenito799

                                                                                                          It's a round pizza, heated in a standard pizza oven. It has sauce and mozarella. The whole of brooklyn, queens, manhattan does the exact same with their pizza. That pretty much says "run of the mill". Like this thread suggests "Restaurants everyone loves except you".

                                                                                                          1. re: randumbposter

                                                                                                            OK, I get it, like Boulud's burger, the meatball sliders at Little Owl, Luger's burger, Corner Bistro, Shake Shack and Burger King are all producing round sandwiches made from ground meat on buns, that is, "run of the mill." Thanks for clarifying.

                                                                                                            1. re: kenito799

                                                                                                              Burger King is blech. i hate flame broiled taste. But yeah, you're getting the jist of what I'm saying though. If you notice my original posting, I panned fancy burger joints too. I eat my burgers well done. and most fancy burger joints serve their burgers luke warm or dry. Shake shack is good but I don't think its that much better than wendy's. Some run of the mill diners serve more satisfying burgers.

                                                                                                              1. re: randumbposter

                                                                                                                yes I am understanding your palate more and more...to each his own...

                                                                                                                1. re: kenito799

                                                                                                                  Kenito799, would almost $30 for a (made-to-order-buffalo mozz-only) pie that was so salty as to be inedible qualify as an underwhelming pie? Because that's what I was served, TWICE, at Di Fara and yes, Dom is a nice guy and yes, the pie LOOKED gorgeous and I like the crust but $30 for crust is beyond my means.
                                                                                                                  Come to think of it, you're right: what Dom is doing really IS "the exact opposite of run of the mill," and in my experience, it's for worse. Sorry, but MY palate says the emperor is naked.

                                                                                                                2. re: randumbposter

                                                                                                                  It's not the flame-broiling that makes Burger King burgers blech. It's the microwaving. Back when there were giants on the earth, before all the fastfood chains microwaved everything, flame-broiled burgers were delicious.

                                                                                                              2. re: randumbposter

                                                                                                                The sauce is better and there are more cheese varieties on a DiFara pizza than at your basic NYC place. DeMarco's on Houston comes close, though.

                                                                                                                It's great pizza. And I usually hate hype-places (Magnolia Bakery, Peter Lugars, etc.).

                                                                                                                1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                                                                                                                  You mean DeMarco's CAME close, since they're out of business.

                                                                                                                  1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                                                                                                                    Also the crust... don't forget the crust! Thin and crackly but not crackery, yet supple and elastic, blistered the way only a really, really hot oven can. Most crusts are too bready, or crackery, or doughy. DiFara's is just right.

                                                                                                                    The sauce tastes fresher and is more balanced (less sweet), and the proportion of cheese to sauce to crust is perfect. For me, the sauce might be even more important than the crust... I can enjoy a crackery or bready crusted pizza, but sweet pizza sauces make me gag. I'd rather go hungry.

                                                                                                                    1. re: daveena

                                                                                                                      Doesn't Dom use a normal pizza oven? How come others don't have the same crust?

                                                                                                                      The sauce, etc might taste good, but I can't taste anything but parmesan. I still don't understand the olive oil part cos the taste of parm dominates. That said, I do like his pizzas and see that they are distinctive, but I don't know how the distinctive qualities cause mass migrations to Midwood.

                                                                                                                      1. re: janethepain

                                                                                                                        You're right - it's not the oven that's special (at least, relative to other good pizza places... also I'm learning that I don't actually prefer pizzas out of super-hot ovens... tend to be overcharred to my taste).

                                                                                                                        So it must be something about the dough itself - maybe the proportion of water? In any case, Dom's crust hits the sweet spot for me between crisp and chewy.

                                                                                                                        I understand your criticism of the excess parmesan... I think I'd prefer a little less parmesan as well... but it's still the only pizza I've ever had that made me weak at the knees (although I also haven't tried a number of NYC's other top contenders).

                                                                                                                        1. re: daveena

                                                                                                                          Dom's dough is not only never refrigerated, but made fresh 3 times a day, allegedly. (I know that Totonno's makes dough fresh daily as well.) I am inclined to believe that fresh dough is part of the key to good crust. Also, Dom's ingredients across the board all seem to be very good quality; I imagine this includes the flour and other dough components...

                                                                                                              1. re: HLing

                                                                                                                And Joe's Shanghai and New Green Bo. Err...

                                                                                                                1. re: kobetobiko

                                                                                                                  Never been to Joe's Shanghai so I don't know it.
                                                                                                                  New Green Bo, however, has been very good for me so far if I order certain things only.

                                                                                                                    1. re: gloriousfood

                                                                                                                      Gloriousfood, that's a great handle.

                                                                                                                      At Green Bo I get the following:
                                                                                                                      Peking Duck - on a good day it's amazing..on a so-so day it's quite good, with crisp skin and tender, flavorful meat.

                                                                                                                      Vegetarian Chicken - this is a house-made cold dish that's smoky on the outer layer and smooth, silky but firm on the inside. Subtle, and completely refreshes your palette if someone in your party decides to order gloppy stuff.

                                                                                                                      Spicy napa - another simple, cold dish that helps you with the general rich nature of the Shanghainese cuisine.

                                                                                                                      The tiny Fried buns and those long Pot stickers have been at worst, light and tasty...at best..great crispy bottom and juicy meat fillings. Their vegetarian buns are big and filled with green veggies. Not sure if Tuesdays are still the days they make them.

                                                                                                                      Fried Seaweed fish sticks(I never know what it's called on the menu, but it looks like these plump, light green corn dogs without the wooden sticks ) that comes with white pepper and salt mixture on the side for sprinkling. Usually very fresh tasting.

                                                                                                                      I've liked their deep fried baby eels at times. They are dark and sweet and slightly gooey. Might be seasoned with black vinegar and sugar.

                                                                                                                      Let's not forget Big Dog's favorite dish that has the fresh tofu skin and pickled vegetable, with or without pork.

                                                                                                                      Many years ago I had good beef stew there, but then one time it was too tough and inedible...so I haven't ordered it since.

                                                                                                                      The thing is, it helps to go when they are not swamped with tourists, and yet you want to be there when the main chef is there. I can imagine the kind of second guessing they have to do when the crowd seem to be the kind who wants Americanized food. ...so it also helps to have some sort of recognition there, that they know you and your preference. I know they make their own soy skin and soy chicken. I hope that they still do that despite being swamped by tourists.

                                                                                                                      1. re: HLing

                                                                                                                        Thanks, HLing! I passed by New Green Bo yesterday but was in a rush to somewhere so I couldn't stop by. Now, after reading your post, I'm craving for those buns and dumplings.

                                                                                                                        I managed to stop by Super Taste and had the vegetable/egg noodle soup instead of my usual hot and spicy beef noodle soup. The broth was great...complex and deep.

                                                                                                                        1. re: HLing

                                                                                                                          do you have to order the peking duck in advance at NGB? i generally think its just okay, but you tend to pick good chinese places so i trust your taste

                                                                                                                          1. re: Lau

                                                                                                                            Hi Lau, usually you don't need to order the peking duck in advance as in before getting to the restaurant.
                                                                                                                            Thanks for the trust in my taste, though sometimes I think there are really no absolutes. I mean often there are a lot of luck involved. Anyway, if you are going to get duck, do read this and be prepared :)

                                                                                                                    2. re: kobetobiko

                                                                                                                      I like New Green Bo, too. I think both of you have excellent tastebuds. =)

                                                                                                                      1. re: kobetobiko

                                                                                                                        OMG Joe's Shanghai. WORST dumplings i've ever had in my life. i had half...and i stopped. and i almost never stop eating what i have on my plate unless it triggers my gag reflex

                                                                                                                        1. re: kelea

                                                                                                                          Totally agree, Joe's Shanghai bad, New Green Bo amazing. Thanks for your very detailed post HLing, I'll be going back soon!

                                                                                                                          1. re: cookieru

                                                                                                                            Joe's Shanghai was recommended very highly via a NYC Not for Tourists app I downloaded before a recent trip to MoMA, and I stopped there with some friends for lunch. The food was pretty standard -- not bad, but nothing to get excited about. The service was another story altogether. We were seated at 2:30 (not realizing they close at 3 between lunch and dinner), and were rushed through the meal (we weren't being slow at all, either). At 3:30, as we were finishing up, the waiter very pointedly asked us to leave. Why seat us if you don't plan on allowing a reasonable amount of time for us to eat??

                                                                                                                            1. re: spyturtle008

                                                                                                                              Which dishes did you have? If you order standard dishes you cannot expect more than a good, but not spectacular, rendition of those. Some of the times I've been to Joe's I've gone with Chinese friends and learned what the best choices are. Get the jellyfish, crab and pork soup dumplings, braised pork shoulder, pork belly (described on the menu as fresh bacon with preserved vegetables), yellowfish fingers. Try the unfamiliar and you will find it more interesting.

                                                                                                                              1. re: rrems

                                                                                                                                joe's is a very mediocre shanghainese restaurant. It became famous b/c they sort introduced xiao long bao (shanghainese steamed soup dumplings) to NY, however their XLB are mediocre, but b/c of a lack of quality ones Joe's became popular and alot of people thought they were high quality b/c they hadn't had a good version (the only place that makes a good version is Nan Xiang in flushing). The rest of their food is generally very mediocre, all of the shanghainese places in manhattan are fairly mediocre with a good dish here and there.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Lau

                                                                                                                                  I'm vegetarian, so I'm afraid I couldn't try anything terribly 'unfamiliar' because the selection was pretty limited. I had the mock duck appetizer, vegetable dumplings, and a tofu dish (don't remember the name, one of the only veg'n dishes on the menu). All pretty bland / uninteresting. I have had much better, more flavorful veg'n Chinese at hole-in-the-wall restaurants in tiny suburbs, so this was a big disappointment -- however all of that could have been made better by service that wasn't actively hostile.

                                                                                                                              2. re: spyturtle008

                                                                                                                                I've seen a number of the Not for Tourists restaurant listings and commentaries. Unimpressive.

                                                                                                                                1. re: squid kun

                                                                                                                                  Yes -- this was the first I'd used them, and I was unimpressed! Guess I learn the hard way.

                                                                                                                                2. re: spyturtle008

                                                                                                                                  Joe's Shanghai, not for tourists? That's such a tourist place, amazing! What else was in their list? Carnegie Deli? Lombardi's?

                                                                                                                        2. Recently , Union Square Cafe. The food and the service -really not good. And -
                                                                                                                          I cannot understand why everyone seems to love Red Cat, in Chelsea. I find the food just average, and the service really bad. ... like saying they do not have my (confirmed) reservation listed- but offering me a table right at the front door.....like taking away my bread plate while I was still eating (this happened more than once.)

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. Does Veselka's count? Open at night and fairly cheap. Other than that? But those who've followed my posts already know how I feel about that place.

                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: Pan

                                                                                                                              I never understood why anyone would single Veselka out for great food. In my mind, the only things it would be a good suggestion for are if the poster was inquiring about places open all night or a lively atmosphere. That said, I have suggested Veselka for those kinds of requests, and probably for diner food, but I wouldn't go out of my way to say that someone visiting NY should stop by. The meat pierogies at Ukrainian National Home are amazing, so I'd recommend a place like that for food, but for atmosphere, Veselka might be good.

                                                                                                                              1. re: janethepain

                                                                                                                                I'm boycotting Veselka after I got stuffed cabbage with a tomato sauce that tasted like they'd poured a bottle of ketchup on it. Ukrainian National Home is the way to go!

                                                                                                                                1. re: vinegarhill

                                                                                                                                  I don't want to ignorantly lump all eastern european food together but Veselka and the various Polish places in the area have a good deal of crossover dishes and the Polish places fare much better, whether you want stuffed cabbage, borscht, pierogies, or what have you. Veselka's attempt at Bigos is a joke compared to the fantastic version at Little Poland but it might be out of their comfort zone being as it is Poland's national dish and Veselka is supposedly Ukranian. Veselka just tries to be the eastern european diner for the masses.

                                                                                                                            2. I love Peasant, especially the wine bar downstairs, but was unimpressed with The Orchard. It gets the highest Zagat rating in the area and everyone raves about the flatbreads. I've tried them all, and none of them are any good.

                                                                                                                              1. Neither of these are upscale by any stretch but they are constantly mentioned on the boards as "musts" for people visiting NYC. The burger joint- way overated and Clinton Street Baking Co. I really wanna like Clinton but I really think the maple butter makes those pancakes good (NOT GREAT) and their shakes suck. Totally not worth the value.

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: steakrules85

                                                                                                                                  Just curious, as huge fan of B. Joint, who's/which burgers do you think are top notch? Possible matter of style preference? (Thick vs. thin, dense vs. loosely knit etc). Went to the much ballyhooed Corner Bistro once or twice and was totally unimpressed. So just curious, like I said...

                                                                                                                                2. We have no desire to return to Telepan. Our experiences at Compass have been much more enjoyable - delicious food, excellent service.

                                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: sylviag

                                                                                                                                    Spotted Pig. Most people love it but we did not like any of the dishes we ordered except the Gnocci

                                                                                                                                    1. re: princeofpork

                                                                                                                                      Bad experiences (two) with service such that difficult to separate from quality of food (being cranky makes me think nothing is right...)

                                                                                                                                      1. re: princeofpork

                                                                                                                                        I'm sure the Spotted Pig is great if you are Jay-Z.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: sylviag

                                                                                                                                        I couldn't agree more about Telepan: lousy, haughty service and lousy food. What is the fuss about! Did I mention overpriced? Compass has been consistently excellent: food, ambiance, and service for brunch and dinner.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: City Kid

                                                                                                                                          i've had good food, great service at telepan. don't live on the uws, but if i did, i would eat dinner at the bar at least once, maybe twice a week.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: steve h.

                                                                                                                                            Totally agree...I live on the UWS and we love Telepan's brunch. Very unique flavors that can be combined in a number of different ways when choosing one dish from each of the menus. The service can be a little haughty, but if you go once or twice they loosen up a bit.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: sylviag

                                                                                                                                          I strongly disagree on Telepan. Been several times and found the food and service outstanding.

                                                                                                                                          72 W. 69th Street, New York, NY 10023

                                                                                                                                        3. Don't all hate me but, momofuku ssam. Found it blah. Also, Old Homestead. blech!

                                                                                                                                          17 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                                                                    Ugh Momofuku gives me a stomach ache two fold- from their food and their snotty service...

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: bladerobbins

                                                                                                                                                      DITTO MOMOFUKU. shows you what a good pr person can do for a business. blech.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: claireness

                                                                                                                                                        i like momofuku. yes it's not "traditional" japanese ramen, but i've found it to be really good. if anything the pork buns are amazing among other appetizers. i really don't care what anyone else thinks. the ssam to me however was way to much pork greasiness.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Yeo

                                                                                                                                                        Seventh Momofuku. It's the epitome of overrated.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cdub

                                                                                                                                                          Seriously. Why do people rave about Momofuku? I do not get it.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: NYCfoodgirl

                                                                                                                                                      Momofuku - may I pile on?

                                                                                                                                                      I don't get Momofuku and I don't like Momofuko.

                                                                                                                                                      Overated and not so good.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: uwsister

                                                                                                                                                          I assume that when just the name "Momofuku" is used, the writer is referring to Momofuku Noodle Bar.

                                                                                                                                                          Momofuku Noodle Bar
                                                                                                                                                          171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Pan

                                                                                                                                                            i dunno - if I just say momofuku i mean ssam bar. and i love that place

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                              Gotta defend Momofuku (ssam bar and noodle bar). Pork buns are amazing!! You have to be down with pork fat to like any of his dishes. Ssam bar is really hit or miss. My first meal there was out of this world, subsequent meals have been mediocre. It was rated something like #40 restaurants in the world, which I agree, is sort of ridiculous. Dont really love Ma Peche, and havent made it to Ko yet.

                                                                                                                                                              Ma Peche
                                                                                                                                                              15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: tosharona

                                                                                                                                                                Those numbered rankings are a joke -- i can find you 40 better restaurants than Saam on a single street in many cities in Asia

                                                                                                                                                1. So many people seem to like Butter, and I don't get it. Just b/c celebs hang out there and idiots like Paris Hilton say it's the best food, others agree? I had one of the worst meals ever that I can remeber, food & service wise there. Left me feeling completley ripped off.

                                                                                                                                                  Also, Dennis Foy (though I haven't heard anything about it lately, if it's even open now) Appetizers & deserts were good, nothing amazing. But I really disliked the dish I had-felt it was very salty (and/or peppery or just overseasoned so that I didn't taste fish ( i think that's what it was), I tasted pepper. I also could not get a waiter's attention to do anything about it until everyone else at my table was done eating. By then, I'd lost my appetite.

                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. david burke & donatella; hearth; babbo; otto; una pizza napoletano; tao

                                                                                                                                                    1. Aquagrill. I've been there a number of times, but the last 2 times I was there (for lunch) the food was SO salty I could barely eat it. The 1st time I sent it back, the 2nd time I couldn't do so, the friend I was with had a plane to catch so I didn't want to lengthen the time of our meal. The chocolate tasting dessert was fun, the best part of the meal. I can't think of even giving it another try.
                                                                                                                                                      Lombardis. I would rather eat pizza from Two Boots then from Lombardis. At work they often order pies from Lombardis or it's our go to place for office events. The only thing that makes eating their slices tolerable is addiing the fresh garlic to it that they offer as a topping.

                                                                                                                                                      1. I don't see the big deal about Telepan either. Food so dull and service so lackluster (except for the friendly bartender at the front), it's a battle to stay awake during our meals!

                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: gloriousfood

                                                                                                                                                          i've only been once, but chinatown brasserie was a total letdown compared to the reviews....

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: TBird

                                                                                                                                                            What did you order there? I had wonderful dim sum items and cocktails there in February. Best dim sum I've had in New York by far, and possibly in the U.S. But of course, that was then, and they might have deteriorated, although the same chef is still there, to my knowledge.

                                                                                                                                                        2. My grandfather would spin in his grave if he knew, but I can't stand Vong. Okay, I'm not a big fan of fusion anyway, but I found it mediocre even for the genre.

                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: elizabells

                                                                                                                                                            Ewwwww, me either. I thought everything tasted like body odor!

                                                                                                                                                          2. Blue Water Grill - went once, totally unimpressed.. No plans to go back

                                                                                                                                                            Gennaro's - everyone raves about it, but I think it's nothing that special, and I hate cash only places.. Celeste I've never bothered going into, but I imagine I'd feel the same.

                                                                                                                                                            Spice Market - Maybe this doesn't qualify as "everyone loves it" - but man I've had better asian food at my local greasy chinese restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: uwser

                                                                                                                                                              Gennaro's made me very mad. Always saw a crowd outside and was dying to go, then took my parents there and the service is horrible, it's LOUD, and the food was just so-so, oh, and the bill was rediculous!! I'm SO Sorry that i didn't try it out before taking my parents there and will never go back.

                                                                                                                                                              We were all a bit down when we left there...having spent so much money for such mediocre food...and it was so loud that we could barely hear each other!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rugburn

                                                                                                                                                                went once years ago when first hyped as this terrific bargain place. walked out totally underwhelmed and $50 poorer, my friend carrying some kind of 'bruschetta salad' appetizer that i ordered and never touched. only memorable aspect was Geo. stephanopolis sitting at the next table. whoopee!

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: uwser

                                                                                                                                                                agree about Blue Water Grill. the food was decent but service was horrible. we made reservations - arrived 15 minutes early. and it still took over 45 minutes to seat us. and that was just the beginning of the bad service - absent-minded waitress, being rushed, lack of silverware, asking repeatedly for silverware or cream for our coffee.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: uwser

                                                                                                                                                                  Agreed on Spice Market. Not great and the fact that you have to order before they will bring a bread basket is infuriating. And I felt the food was mediocre.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: uwser

                                                                                                                                                                    agreed....2nd hated restaurant - The Blue Water Grill....the first being Joya Thai on Court street in Brooklyn. UGH!

                                                                                                                                                                  2. Just remember this: Blue Ribbon Sushi.

                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kobetobiko

                                                                                                                                                                      Agreed. I went once and found it way overpriced for what you get. Similar quality fish and presentations are available at so many other places.

                                                                                                                                                                      I did really like Blue Ribbon Bakery though.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Sugar

                                                                                                                                                                        yes, the bakery is indeed much better. Even for the flagship restaurant, I found most of the dishes to be uninspiring, except for the bone marrows.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. Babbo. I disliked everything about it.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. Per Se - completely underwhelmed; shockingly mediocre.

                                                                                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: TBird

                                                                                                                                                                              The John's Special. Seriously, give it another try.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: claireness

                                                                                                                                                                                i have. thanks you two. i've given it another try. and another. and another!! seriously, i can't go wrong now. the chicken parm and the meatball parm are perfect. the pizza is addictive. i was wrong!

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: hoosier

                                                                                                                                                                              Yes, Per Se... me too. 250 a person for 9 courses of hor devours. The food was pretty good but .... Oh please.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: hoosier

                                                                                                                                                                                Wow! You wasted a lot of money on Hoop La!

                                                                                                                                                                                1. Prune, definitely Prune. Went once, hated it, never returned. Too cramped, very uninspired food, way too heavy handed with certain ingredients like lemon.

                                                                                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Nehna

                                                                                                                                                                                    I will be brave and second you on Prune, which seems to be everyone else's darling. I liked the shabby chic atmosphere, but everything was heavy and drowning in brown butter when I went, to the point that I left feeling a bit queasy.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Nehna

                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm with the both of you on Prune. Everything drowned in the brown butter, though pretty bland, and I too felt sick afterward.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: nattie23nyc

                                                                                                                                                                                        Possibly the best burger I've ever had. At least, lately. Makes it a four-star place in my book.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: GDSwamp

                                                                                                                                                                                          Not the best burger, but a super one, always do for lunch before Sunshine Theater

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Nehna

                                                                                                                                                                                        totally agree, we even had the good table by the window - i felt bad for the people downstairs by the bathroom

                                                                                                                                                                                        food was fine but nothing special, pretty boring

                                                                                                                                                                                        seasonal shmeasonal

                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Underwhelmed by:

                                                                                                                                                                                        Per Se - at half the price I would have been impressed, and while I appreciated the artistry I didn't feel as though I got my money's worth.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Jean-George - about half of what I've had has been top-notch, the rest... nothing I haven't had elsewhere.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Otto - Go for the funky gelatos, sure. But the pizzas (their ostensible reason for existence) - eh, no thanks...

                                                                                                                                                                                        DiFara's - agreed, run-of-the-mill. Not bad, not by any stretch - but not worth the hype.
                                                                                                                                                                                        Blue Ribbon Sushi - and mind you, I'm very fond of Blue Ribbon. But the Sushi outpost was... nothing. Mind you, I'm from Park Slope, and we've been spoiled by Taro Sushi over there.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Junior's Cheesecake - if you like cheesecake-flavored Jello, sure.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Country - like JG, only about half of what I've had has really done much for me. The rest... okay, but expected more for the price. On the other hand, I think the Cafe brunch is awesome. Pulled. Pork. Grits. Sigh.

                                                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sgordon

                                                                                                                                                                                          juniors - the cheesecake is allright. but i got a milkshare there once. horrid! it tasted like water w/ fake strawberry flavoring.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sgordon

                                                                                                                                                                                            Same reply to you as to Wendy's-loving, aptly-named (couldn't resist) randumbposter, above:

                                                                                                                                                                                            If Di Fara's is run of the mill, what ISN'T? "Run of the mill" implies average, comparable to countless others. So let's go: name ten like it. Should be easy.

                                                                                                                                                                                            IF ONLY Di Fara's were run of the mill. Maybe in another galaxy...

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Mr. Particular

                                                                                                                                                                                              Okay - fair enough - "run-of-the-mill" was probably an exaggeration. Maybe just "not worth going out of one's way for" - especially if John's, Patsy's, Totonno's or Grimaldi's happen to be closer.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sgordon

                                                                                                                                                                                                I like Patsy's in East Harlem, and Totonno's used to be my favorite--before I tried DiFara's. You're not going to find better pizza in NY than DiFara's, so for that reason it is worth going out of one's way for at least once, if you are a pizza buff. But maybe not all the time if you live near one of the others.

                                                                                                                                                                                                IF you go to DiFara's:
                                                                                                                                                                                                1) Be mentally prepared to wait for an hour
                                                                                                                                                                                                2) Don't get toppings on the round

                                                                                                                                                                                                I think a lot of negative posts about DF come from people not following these 2 edicts. Also, while IMO DiFara's is a couple of notches above its closest competition in NYC, and consistently approaches or attains pizza perfection, it's still 'just' pizza! Expectations run so high, some people seem to expect moon pie.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Totally subjective of course, but this is a great topic. My pick is GOTHAM...Overrated...this is my just don't get it. The dinner entress have hit the rarefied air of the $40+ range...and you literally touch elbows with the next table...ok if the food is out of this world, but it's just ok...these types of dishes are common in far more charming venues around town. I certainly would invest in this place...much like GT, they have become an occasion place for the B & T crowd, which keeps them full and noisy. They substaianted themselves years ago, and then have wisely played their name to folks who really don't have refined pallets. Again good business "formula", but not a place for true foodies anymore. Also, waiting for your table at the bar, the bartenders have that smug "we'll be busy no matter what" air about them...and seem to expect the customers to extend the courteous gestures first..."Mr. Bartender, if I could take a moment of your time, can I pretty please with sugar on top have a glass of wine,,,thanks so much!" Anyway, one man's opinion, but this place I don't get.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Hi Cimui. I couldn't agree more where Telepan is concerned, it did nothing for me. And I'll take this point further and naysay all the restaurants who specifically promote themselves as using seasonal, organic, greenmarket etc produce. Big deal, what's there to get excited about, we should expect the better restaurants to use good ingredients at the very least. I feel as though I could buy the same ingredients and make similar standard food at home and quite often I do. My criticism extends to places like Cookshop and also Blue Hill Stone Barns which to be fair impressed me first time around but completely underwhelmed me on a subsequent visit.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: oonth

                                                                                                                                                                                                agreed about cookshop -- people love it -- personally not so great.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: oonth

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Phew, glad I'm not the only one! I do really like Green Table, though, which is also greenmarket cuisine. I think it's something particular to Telepan, for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  (Wish you were back in nyc to critique more restaurants!!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. while not everyone loves it, i don't really understand what ANYONE really likes about bond st.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  completely mediocre food...both the sushi and the cooked dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. oyster bar at grand central terminal is not very good. i'll concede a pan roast at the counter, maybe drinks in the backroom bar but nothing more. pity. i used to like this place way, way back when.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: steve h.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      i agree -- my fave place for oyster Hands down is Aqua Grill!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. La Grolla on Amsterdam. It's always crowded and when I ate there the spaghetti pomodoro tasted like noodles in V8.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I know it's practically illegal, but I don't love Le Bernardin. Tried it once and thought it was kind of boring. Tried it again because hey, it's Le Bernardin, and thought it was kind of boring. I recognize that it's beautifully executed food - flawless, in a sense. But it's essentially conservative - unrisky dishes that rely on cool perfection rather than inspiration. Eating there reminds me (here comes a pretentious metaphor) of passing through certain galleries at the Met, full of monumental paintings of pink nymphs and cherubs that are lovely and classic, sure, but don't stir me 1/10th as much as Rembrandt's paunchy self-portraits.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: GDSwamp

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think there's a healthy contingent of folks on this board who feel as you do, GDSwamp. Me, included. I'll take clients there ... because hey, it's Le Bernardin, but I'd never take myself there for fun.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cimui

                                                                                                                                                                                                                OMG, there is someone else; Been there twice, once with my food class. 12 serious eaters and we all looked at each other wondering why rated so high

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cimui

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Funny, friends wanted to go ,so went again. Still scratching my head, everything cooked perfectly and service was stellar, but food was unexciting and that is an understatement.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I am with you except I do not care for the service.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Vong. I was just not impressed with the food here. The menu was not impressive and the flavors were not different (if not worse) than the typical Thai restaurant in Manhattan or Brooklyn.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ginsbera

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thank god. I was scrolling down the page and was wondering if i was the only person to find a meal at vong not only underwhelming, but uninspired, unmemorable, and a complete waste of my money and time. (Perry Street on the other hand...different story.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: claireness

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      i only go there so that i can get the full-sized j-g chocolate fondant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Pearl's. Overpriced lobster rolls soddened with mayo. Nothing else on the menu impresses me--and believe me, how I have tried, for I know this is a much loved place for many!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: gloriousfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Not really a "restaurant", but I don't care for SHAKE SHACK at all... Blech!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh, and WD-50... expensive and Blech!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I'm not a fan of Esca. While I don't have a specific complaint about the food, our entire experience there left me cold with no desire to return.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. another thread forced this memory jogged response:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Gray's papaya - jfood thinks the dog is oversalty, is not grilled all that well. If passing by and hungry he probably would not even fork over the paltry sum to fill his belly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I agree. Gray's dogs are always on the grill for way to long and are always dried out and salty. I'll pay the extra $2 and take Papaya King special any time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Mary's Fish Camp - This too will be blasphamy, but I don't love it. The lobster roll is fine, but I thought the lobster salad itself was a little too runny. The brioche roll it came in was amazing though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          BLT Prime - BLT Prime and BLT Burger were both incredibly underwhelming. The steak we had at BLT Prime had too much gristle and though we ordered medium rare was actually cool overall. Enjoyed BLT Fish downstairs (great all you can eat mussels Wednesday night) and havent' been to BLT Steak yet, but I think I get the overall BLT "wanna be a chain, but don't want to admit it" mentality.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Shaffer City Oyster - While Oyster Bar is not the best, at least it has atmosphere. I can't understand why Shaffers gets recommended over and over again. Yes they have a wide selection of oysters, but they don't all taste that great.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Papaya

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I love Le Bernardin, Babbos and thought Per Se matched Cote D'Or for michelin-three star heaven. These are all splurges for us and not every day ventures but we haven't been disappointed. I have been disappointed in Esca (blah on service and on food), Union Square Cafe (liked the service, found the food predictable) and think Balthazar is a bit of joke.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: teezeetoo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yes, the food is predictable.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I usually go to USC for lunch or brunch.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I like the service and the general attitude at USC; they are always so welcoming & so friendly & unpretentious -starting from the host/hostess. The food is sort of like very good "comfort food". (i.e. predictable)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              So when I feel like having great "comfort food" in an easy and friendly setting, I often wind up at USC for lunch or brunch. That's probably one of the reasons the place is so popular.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A total opposite is/was their neighbor, "Blue Water Grill". Especially the hostesses were so pretentious and full of "it" that we thought it was just ridiculous. There was a time (looong ago) when we sort of liked the place and had a few dinners & lunches/brunches there, but then something changed, and the attitude just became so silly that we dropped BWG from our list for good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Papaya

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Agreed. I was at BLT Burger on Sat. Underwhelming is the correct adjective. Not bad, but just not memorable. I had their BLT Burger.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Brigita

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I ate there recently and thought that their burgers were not distinguishable in any way from any half decent bar burger.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. Annisa, downtown somewhere, I think in SoHo. Wow, was it aweful! I don't know what reviewers on sites like Menupages are talking about, particularly those who say foodies should come here, b/c I had a disappointing night out here for a friend's birthday, and most of the people I was with are chefs themselves, in catering, etc. It took 40 mins and two requests just to get tap water. We were a group of 6 doing the largest tasting menu possible, and they knew it was a birthday, and still the service was poor. I'd say it took about an hour for the first course to come; after only a half hour we inquired about the food and were told that "the chef had to create the menu" for us. Anyone who knows the restaurant business knows that the chef is not concocting a menu just for us. After another 15 mins we spoke to the owner. It was another 15-20 mins before the first course came out, a tuna tartar which was off the menu, as was everything else. There was about 30 mins between courses, long enough for you to stare at your empty plate for a while, since it was a tasting and the courses were tiny, then stare at the table, then look around anxiously wondering where your food is. Obviously, this really ruined our birthday festivities. They never even sent anything out compliments of the chef to tide us over, in spite of everything. But the most massive disappointment came with the bill, which worked out to $170 per person! Oh, and every plate that came out of the kitchen had greasy fingerprints all over it. The biggest slap in the face? The owner insisted on taking my friend's number, that she would call by the end of the week to make the situation right, and when she did not, he called her several times and got the run-around. No invite to the restaurant to give it another try, nothing. And I continue to see good reviews of this place in publications and online. It makes me want to scream.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: nattie23nyc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So sorry to hear that - I had a great dinner recently at Annisa. It's in GV, by the way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: nattie23nyc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  yeah, I was underwhelmed by it. Also not mentioned on here...burger joint at Le Parker Meridien. Worse burger and less tolerable line than Shake Shack.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: dkstar1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes! I don't get Burger Joint either. I think people just like the kitsch factor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: nattie23nyc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    restaurants can be inconsistent, but...two weeks ago we went to annisa for our anniversary -- aka a big night out -- and had about as satisfying experience as is possible in a nyc restaurant. how on earth could the nightmare described above happen at the same place? did the presence of chefs in your party psych-out the kitchen? and w/r/t the bill wouldn't you have set the price in advance? or refused to pay an obviously inflated check (tho you didn't mention wine or drinks)...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    come to think when we there the waitress said at one point, a little breathlessly, that we were lucky because the chef was cooking there that night instead of tending her other restaurants or "consulting at Montrachet" or whatever. so maybe when she's not there the whole place goes to hell, anyway so much for Annisa. and here we were like "why isn't this place better known" kinda bizarre, really.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mcoleman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Never had anything less than a splendid meal at Annisa, and never less than terrific service. That said, I haven't been in awhile. I wish I could justify a quick reconnaissance mission, just to investigate the poster's complaints.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. Yama and Tomo. Fish quality at these place is mediocre, but I hear these two places get mentioned as "favorite" sushi place all the time. People rave about the large portion sizes, but for sushi this is in fact a negative. A piece of sushi should be comfortably bite size. I roll my eyes everytime someone recommends one of these places for sushi.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: shisan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think these are largely a thing of the past. I haven't seen a good word on either on these boards in a while. And I totally agree with you, awful!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Tartine and Corner Bistro on west 4th. They are always packed. Tartine sometimes has an hour long line. I can't figure it out. It's goodd but I would not wait for an hour...And corner bistro, their burgers are fine but it must be the cheap beer...

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: eatman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Having lived in the West Village for 10 years, I think Tartine is packed because it's on a pretty street and you can sit outside. Plus, it's BYOB, so you can save a bit of money. But yes, the food is pretty lackluster. Does not seem French to me in the least.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Have to admit, I love Corner Bistro for my takeout bacon cheese burger experience!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. GROM - the single most underwhelming experience i have had in Manhattan. flat. boring. incredibly average for all the hype ... i really don't get it. (loved the frozen custard at Shake Shack!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: calconscious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Disagree, thought Grom giandulia was otherworldly, other flavors as well. If not for price and calories, would live there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I agree. Grom is great but much too expensive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: calconscious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think about half the flavors are incredible. Almost any of the fruit stuff or the vanilla are great, the rest of the stuff is pretty ordinary.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. Gramercy Tavern, Gotham Bar and Grill, Clinton Street Bakery (three times and no charm).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Danube. Just not that good vs. $$$$.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Gowanus Yacht Club. What a bunch of grade A arseholes running that joint...and it 'aint that cheap. I sorta wish the grill never came back and

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. doughnut plant....living off hype

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Lau

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I hate chewy, yeasty donuts, so that's why I don't like Donut Plant. (I prefer the "cake" donuts.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      agreed and i just dont think they taste good in general...never understood the hype (maybe b/c its something different?)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      i'd take donut pub 100x over donut plant

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I hate greasy, tough donuts, so that's why I don't like Donut Plant (I prefer "edible" donuts.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I have such a vivid memory of getting a cold donut (I was there right when it opened - what kind of a self-respecting donut place sells day old donuts? ), biting into it, tasting the distinctly artificial flavor of the pear glaze (no way in hell is that color/flavor natural, much less organic), feeling the oily leaden lump travel down my esophagus, and experiencing the most intense disappointment, all while staring at the walls covered with press clippings, and thinking "what the hell just happened"?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: daveena

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Not my experience (had a melt in your mouth pear doughnut awhile back). Maybe I need to try again. Gotta be cheaper than Clinton which I tried today.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Spice Market---kinda like eating in a mediocre Disney Land-this-is-our-idea-of-Asian-food restaurant. Franny's in Bklyn ...niceish food but why is it taken so seriously? Ici in Ft. Greene--once again it's nice and pleasant but the food is so imperfect---been there a few times, tasted all my friend's meals, and almost everything had some flaw.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kwar228

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm with you on Franny's. $15 for a single-serving size pizza with a soggy crust in the middle? In general I found the ingredients to be of great quality - lovely olive oil - but the thing needed salt, too. C'mon. I like Ici, but find it to be very hit or miss.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Okay, finally dragged myself to Clinton Street Bakery this morning. Torn between Essex Market/Shopsin's slutty pancakes and desire to try Clinton after raves read here. Sat at the one availabe counter seat. Thought I might order the renowned blueberry pancakes (tourist next to me did) but opted for the banana pancakes instead (wanted to compare them to the fabulous ones I had at the Oriental Mandarin in Bangkok). They were light and fluffy. Maple syrup (or whatever they call it) was good. Had to request butter. Service was very good. But $10! It's basically a diner! Next. . . .

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Most of the places named on this thread are waaay out of my price range. When you pay less than $10 it's harder to be truly disappointed! But I can comment on a couple.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I love burgers, pretty much the way I love pizza....like, I think it's always good. So I will always eat them, but do not think the ones are Corner Bistro or Shake Shack are nearly as good as other people think. I think they are perfectly edible, however, and some visits are better than others. I think in comparison, the burger at Jane is very good but at their price, it's a rare treat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Many dim sum places in Manhattan disappoint me, even ones touted on the boards. But it's like the pizza and burger thing...I love it and will always eat it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Magnolia...blech. But not even close to the blech of Cupcake Cafe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Joe's Shanghai is disgusting. I'm mystified at the popularity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Pretty much every Mexican place I've ever visited in the West Village (below 14th)...bland and WAY overpriced. It really makes me sad when I'm in the WV and a friend is craving Mexican.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And as for places that "everyone I know" loves, meaning people I know in real life but probably not the discriminating people on this board...I cannot stand Xunta, Spice, or Joya (Brooklyn). Was recently taken to Ayurveda which was apparently my friend's favorite Indian place EVAH! I thought it was so-so, but you can't say that in that situation! You also can't complain when taken out for your birthday, but also thought Tartine was only so-so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think there aren't that many places that I truly HAAAATE but again, I think the price I pay lessens the blow. I don't find either Bedouin Tent or Zaytoon's are any great shakes (Brooklyn, sorry, I know this is about Manhattan) but I am more willing to go if someone wants to, more so than I am with Joya. It may be simply that I've spent time in the Middle East and Thailand and am often pickier when it comes to those foods.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          However, with Lupa, I've only been twice, cannot remember what I had the first time... but most recently had the carbonara which was the best I'd ever had, including making it at home (although I don't claim it's a dish I'm expert at cooking).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. EMP - did not enjoy my meal there at all. Was very disappointed with the food

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: crinkle11

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Hearth, ok food, bad service and not nearly as charming as it thinks it is
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Gotham Bar and Grill, snotty front of house people, over-priced, and some of the most over-rated, boring, forgettable food I have ever eaten.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jvish

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My all time list:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1) Grand Central Oyster Bar: Don’t buy the nostalgic mash note reviews!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Table service is mid-market museum quality; food to match.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The raw oysters are inconsistent at best, especially at the start of a long weekend when they get rid of what they should have already thrown away.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Even the no brainer pan roast is way too rich. It’s a dairy disaster, cream without a purpose, a flavorless heart attack waiting to finish off the job begun by the raw oysters.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In a city filled with wonderful seafood restaurants in tight competition for great ingredients (Pearl Oyster, Masa, Esca, etc.), Grand Central is a horrendous and potentially dangerous place to dine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2) Sushi Seki: Sky-high prices, cramped tables, cheap decor and expensive wine and sake lists with no middle ground (like Starbucks starting with “tall” size and Domino’s with “medium”). The fish is fine but not for what it costs, nor for the rush to turn tables. You don’t feel like they’re on your side, except when they hold the door on the way out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3) Tía Pol: Not Spanish enough for virtual gastro-travel, not tasty enough for a visit on its own merits. I know it’s hard to replicate a real tapas/pintxos experience in the States, i.e., toothpicks, honor system and a filthy napkin-strewn floor, but this place trades on an authenticity it doesn’t offer. Sherry list is impressive, but where’s the orujo for the digestivo crowd? Casa Mono and Bar Jamón get it right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4) Etats-Unis: Guide Michelin and NY Times, the Upper East Side doesn’t need your charity. This place is fine but not fine dining. Please don’t tell us otherwise. Like its country cousin River Tavern, Etats-Unis is stuck in Northern California circa-1985. Perfectly adequate for a Tuesday dinner, it’s by no means a destination. Yes, the area lacks upper-mid dining depth, but please let’s not fake it by reviewing a reality we’d like to exist. Spigolo is a much better bet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  5) Atelier Joël Robuchon. There is no fine dining without fine service. This is gourmet takeout with dressed up delivery men.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Fat and Happy Food Slut

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I could not agree more about GC Oyster Bar. I have tried and tried to get a good meal there, because I like the ambiance, the history, and the whole idea of the place. But the food really kinda sucks. The panroast is a mess with the mushy white bread and the gouts of paprika. Chowder is goopy, floury and bland. And even the oysters - they have a great selection but they're in such a hurry that they shuck them sloppily, w/ lots of shell bits and ice water ending up in the half-shell, which makes for bland and crunchy eating.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The disparity between the quality of the food there and the adulation it receives is so great, I feel like I'm listening to cultists.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: GDSwamp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Have to pile on here to trash GC Oyster Bar for the 2nd time in 24 hours on these boards. A for ambience, F for food. And F for F@#$-ing expensive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Working in the area, I went there 4 times this year hoping to find something they did well, with no luck. Overall, the kindest thing I can say about the food is that it is on the bad side of mediocre, like a train station canteen--wait a sec, that's kind of what it is! Anyway, a lot of the chow is truly, shockingly bad, while some is just okay. And the prices are an insult.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It's probably best to avoid GC Oyster Bar at all costs, unless to drink a beer at the lunch counter, munch packaged crackers and soak up some of the admittedly (and tragically, under the circumstances) wonderful ambience. Honestly, the adjacent food court offers better options--eat there, then go to GCO for the aforementioned beer. If you MUST eat at GCO, my advice would be to stick to the raw oysters and maybe a fried fish sandwich, although you might still be disappointed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      With the holiday season here, loads of out-of-towners seeking an authentic New York experience are going to be tramping to GC Oyster Bar. Some won't mind the sub-par fare--God bless 'em.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Mr. Particular

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        that's a good list! 3,4,5 on my list too. can't speak to 1 and 2, but i'd probably agree

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: GDSwamp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't know how anyone could actually eat that pan roast after watching it made. Ew. And you're not kidding about the horrible shucking job on the oysters.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Order a beer, chill at the counter, leave.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: PeteM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I agree. Food was underwhelming. The decor was great, service excellent and plating very well done, but it just didn't taste extraordinary.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. Tabla Bread Bar- just plain awful. I wouldn't pay a fraction of the actual prices that they charge to eat there. I really don't understand why people like it so much!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Red Cat. It's a decent restaurant, but absolutely nothing special, and overpriced for what it is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: nokitsch

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Although it's not a proper restaurant but Mamoun's is famous for its falafels. I've given it a try 3 times and each time been disappointed. Maybe it's an acquired taste, but I have definitely had better falafels elsewhere. And the gyro wrap is absolutely aweful there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: afarooqs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        which mamouns did you go to? the one on st. marks is horrible compared to the original one on mcdougal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. fatty crab.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I do love Telepan tho - had another great meal there tonight.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Aquavit. Sooo expensive. Nothing I ate was memorable. I don't get it. Why so special??

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Yeo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            the french fries from the bar were amazing. best fries ive ever had. other than that....i wouldnt go rushing back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. HILL COUNTRY!!!!! Why do people eat here? The ordering system is absolutely retarded and the food is horrible. Please, please, please stay away from the mac and cheese. The ribs are tough and not meaty. The barbecue sauce is dusgusting. I am biased, I am from Texas. Please, dear NY'ers, don't let them fool you. And the price tag is pure comedy.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: meldrom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have to agree - I'm born and raised in South Texas and thus would like to consider myself pretty knowledgeable about barbecue. And this place is not good at all. Firstly, there is no differentiated "moist brisket" on menus in Texas - Hill Country's "moist brisket" is pure fat. And Hill Country's regular brisket is more dry than even the worst barbecue in Texas.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I too am perplexed at the accolades this place receives. Take it from a Texan - it's not good. I'm married to a Yankee who loves barbecue and he found Hill Country's food to be inedible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. oooo....I second Gotham Bar and Grill from above. Servers so snooty that it's actually comical (I really just wanted to laugh at our waiter) and we had the most atrocious desserts that I have had in my time in NYC. Our apple tart was totally raw on the bottom, completely raw dough.....we did not eat it, pointed out the issue to the server and we were still CHARGED for it. A crime in FOH management.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Wo-hop hate it hate it hate it.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: meobella

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I second that! Wo-hop was the WORST chinese food experience I have had to date. Not only did the food taste like *@#$! but the resturant itself was disgusting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Oh boy thanks for asking! I'm really asking for something along the lines of what you get by bending over to pick up the soap in the shower of a maximum security prison by saying this 'here', but here goes: Pk slope's Convivium, and La Di Da, oops, I meant Al di la. OK go ahead, CHers, kill me now...

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bklynbiker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    :- DDD
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Agreed. La Di Da, indeed...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Btw, that is exactly how I sometimes feel when I "dare" criticise Al Di La...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: FoodWine

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I haven't been there lately but had one of the best Italian meals I've ever had in New York in their Enoteca, with wine pairings selected by the bartender.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Lupa, Peasant and believe it or not, Daniel

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: lisachgo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hmm, I haven't actually been to Daniel and was thinking about heading that way in a few meals time. Just curious what you didn't you like about it. Poor value? Bad food?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cimui

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I was there last year with my husband and I can barely remember what we had! except for the foie gras starter that had my stomach doing flip flops and my husband having a meat dish that was just o.k. I love foie gras but in this case, it was just swimming in oil and I remember the upcharge for it being $$$. But... The service & presentation was wonderful and I remember the bar area being impressive. Sorry I can't be of more help.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: lisachgo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          that's helpful, lisachgo -- thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Sorry if this is unrelated to the topic here, but this chain came up under a search for Gotham Bar & Grill....so here's my question: I have a Valentine's Day reservation there and I've never been. Can anyone let me know what the atmosphere is like? Suitable for V's day? Thanks

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: NeedHelp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        If you are talking about Daniel, it is a beautiful and classy place to go for Valentines Day. Especially if you are trying to impress. Even though we were underwhelmed by our food experience, I believe we are in the minority.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Nobu equals boo hoo.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        abrockwell (gibbs)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. db bistro - burger is completely overrated and everything else there looked nice but lacked flavor

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          patsy's in east harlem - seriously? how can people actually compare this to difara's. not even the same game let alone the ballpark.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Good enough to eat used to be wonderful now not so much. I agree with lombardi's pizza , someone was actually complaining about how burnt the crust was when I was there. I agreed. I love Clinton street bakery though. good blueberry muffins. I am going to Grammercy tavern bar area. hope it is not too bad?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Crispo. Visited because it gets such rave reviews from so many 'hounders.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I just don't get it. I was embarrassed because we took a group and I went on and on about how many Chowhounders said it was excellent. So not the case, IMO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. the little owl, appies were not outstanding and entrees came out over cooked AND undercooked, waitress questioned my ability to cut into the meat properly...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Uh oh! Just made a reservation for Crispo. Please tell me what was wrong with it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Crispo, the pasta sucks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. The first 2 are not restaurants but Magnolias and Venieros. I really disliked Aureole and Morimotos. I was totally underwhelmed with Oceana and Le Bernardin.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: misnatalie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ditto on Morimoto. Given all the hype, I was expecting the omakase to blow my head off but it was extremely unmemorable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: misnatalie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ditto on Le bernadin, I spent $285 for lunch by myself and only had a few cocktails, it all seemed pedestrian save the desert which was outstanding. Oceana I think deserves another shot. I believe Ocean is one of the best restaurants in the country. However I think the menu has week some week points. What did you order?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. bouley
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          fleur de sel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          this is a similar idea to a thread that i started last year regarding overrated restaurants. it got good response

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jsmitty

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Bouley has moved to Duane Street, closer to its original location, where we had one of the best meals in our lives.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It seems as if both the chef and the staff have been re-energized by this move: both the service and the food seems truly inspired again. We have had two meals at the "new" Bouley this spring. We loved it and will go back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Blue Hill, nice place, great service but I can barely remember the food. It was clean and fresh and boring.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: eatyououtofhouseandhome

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Blue Hill is subtle. A lot of people don't understand the concept of fresh quality ingredients prepared well without flash.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Del Posto is definitely overrated the wine list is fun, but you know a restaurant leaves something to be desired when your favorite thing was bread to start.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: hotpinkkitty

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ouch, me and my oafish palate. However, I thought this thread was about the problem of emperors and clothes, not mistakes about forests and the trees. I do pray that one day I can understand these concepts. I know that right now I lack the aesthetic as well as epistemological powers to grasp a 39$ poached chicken breast. Or a 5$ one for that matter. That said, the amuse were great (but isn't that more and more the case everywhere?).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: eatyououtofhouseandhome

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ha ha. Agreed. Tried Blue Hill 3x and I THINK I was equal to the challenge of understanding the whole "fresh/simple" thing, yet still found the food pretty boring.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Maybe the nights I was there, they experienced a lull in freshness - or simplicity?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: eatyououtofhouseandhome

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I like this restaurant. I grew up on a farm and even though I have eaten at plenty of fancy, expensive restaurants as an adult, there is nothing like food that was just picked or butchered. It just tastes different and better. Maybe it takes time to learn the difference if you are not used to it. The way they cook at Blue Hill, it doesn't get in the way of the fresh taste of the ingredients.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. Babbo-- I used to love it... but the last two times I went the food was sub-par, and the bread was burnt!! (what 4* or aspiring 4* serves burnt bread, ever?!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Hummus Place-- again I used to love it. In it's first few months in the EV I easily brought 20 people there, and ate there 2x per week... but for the past year the hummus has been downright bad. Runny, bland, not at all fresh or even unique like it was when they first opened... clearly they've lost their spark and now are just cruising by on their name... (like... Babbo?)

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: courtney.hami

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  BABBO! Definitely....other than the tongue everything else was unmemorable. I would have to wreck my brain to think of what I ate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Scarpetta on the other hand...amazing. and I know some people aren't fans but I like cripso. fried risotto balls..u can't go wrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. I can give you a list...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Blue Hill (too salty, too underwhelmed) went twice. (Blue Hill at Stone Barns was much better)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. P*Ong (not impressed, the combination often don't work)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. New Green Bo (horrible Shanghainese, sorry I've had better in Asia)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4. Grimaldi's (never understand what's so great about this pizza place, I went once and will never come back even if it's for free)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  5. Gray's Papaya (no thanks, the smell alone turned me off already)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  6. Bouley (went there for my anniversary dinner, blend food, maybe it was his off nights)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  7. Fatty Crab (these aren't Malaysian food, come on... )
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  8. Momofuku (went there early last year after all the raves, totally disappointed)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  9. Peking Duck (Seriously now, these aren't Peking Duck, the duck is way too thick with meat)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  10. WD-50 (not sure what the raves are all about but the food was unimpressive, I'd prefer paying more for real haute cuisine)

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: foodoof

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I agree on Peking Duck. There were so many posts I am not sure if Alta was mentioned- their cauliflower clams were nauseating. I really don't understand why anyone loves them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: foodoof

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Wow, you are 10 for 10 with me, and so spot on with New Green Bo, could have used their dumpling skins for small envelopes. Can add Il Mulino, Patsy's, and the new addition, very disappointing, Gramercy Tavern.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. wow. at some point i will have to read through this entire thread. what a great discussion! i glanced over and saw one i agreed with - celeste - posted by brian W. amen! my other one? corner bistro. never had a drier, less appetizing burger in my life... sorry guys!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: monasapple

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Just discovered this thread. I can understand people not being impressed after paying $125+ per person for a meal, but $6 for a hamburger and you complain? How about Wo Hop, $10 a person for Cantonese cooking? What did you expect a banquet in the palace at Beijing? C'mon, get a life.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Stuartmc910

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "How about Wo Hop, $10 a person for Cantonese cooking? What did you expect a banquet in the palace at Beijing?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            (1) You've got the wrong part of China.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            (2) There are loads of cheap Cantonese restaurants in New York. I doubt many of them suck as bad as Wo Hop, and some of them are actually good. Try Great NY Noodletown, for example.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            (3) You say "get a life," a rather hostile but also totally misplaced remark, since Chowhound was always designed to be for those who "live to eat." If you think that cheap food really should suck, what's your purpose for being here?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Clinton St. Baking Company -- overrated pancakes. they're good but not the best despite the ridiculous price.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sullivan St. Bakery -- just don't get all the hype for the pizza bianca. it's also good but nothing noteworthy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Babbo -- great food but only one dish out of my entire meal met the expectations I had. i thought everything would be among the best Italian i've had but i prefer many places (for quality of food) that are a tenth of the price

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          EVERY BBQ RESTAURANT IN NYC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ippudo -- i'll take setagaya thanks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Tia Pol/Txikito/that other one (can't think of the name right now) -- not a fan of the unini, not a fan of most dishes at the other places as well. maybe i just get upset about how much money tapas ends up costing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          John's Deli (brooklyn) -- that black gravy is bad. the roast beef isn't special

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Al di La (brooklyn) -- great but wasn't blown away. i do want to try it again though, only went once and it was two years ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Franny's (brooklyn) -- disliked the clam pie and the bruschetta and everything else i had there

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Donovans (queens) -- not a great burger. this one might not qualify for the sake of this thread as i guess it's kinda controversial as is

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Southern Spice (queens) -- also good but not great, just don't get the hype after two visits

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          EDIT: Important addition: All Manhattan Pizza

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: demigodh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Pretty much everyone on this board knows that Al di La is not very good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            What was the one dish that met expectations at Babbo?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: crabby_cakes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              -Babbo - too much hype made it impossible to live up to. think Po is much better.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              -Gramercy Tavern - did not think it was worth the hype as well. Good, but not fabulous and not worth the steep bill.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              -August - people seem to love this place. I have only had so-so experiences here.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              -Clinton Street - used to LOVE it, but recently the blueberry pancakes have suffered do to a change in food distributors - no longer at all worth the wait.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              -Fatty Crab - didn't see the hype as well. Overly salty - left me thirsty for days.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: crabby_cakes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "Pretty much everyone on this board knows that Al di La is not very good." Did you ask everyone? I had a memorably delicious meal there a few years ago. But I really don't know what the general opinion of the Manhattan board is, since it's a Brooklyn restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: crabby_cakes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    How would you know? It's not a Manhattan restaurant, so I doubt there's any way to poll opinion of Manhattan board posters. Anyway, I suppose it's possible the place has deteriorated markedly in the last few years. Some of my friends have had very good meals there more recently than I, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Pan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      If you're an outlier, Pan, I'll lie there with you -- I won't eat most of what passes for Italian food in NY, but I've always enjoyed Al di La. But this is an outer borough discussion -- and I'd hate to spoil one of my annual (these days) trips to Chowhound by getting scolded for lieing in the wrong place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Elaine Snutteplutten

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Had a few boring dishes from Al Di La over the years, but more that were delicious. I don't live in Brooklyn anymore so I can't speak for the '09 version, but I think crabby is overstating his majority, by a long shot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: crabby_cakes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My meal there was completely mediocre. Franny's is a million times better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: brooklyndude

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Al Di La is a gem of a restaurant. Hands down would rather eat there than Franny's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ginsbera

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I've always enjoyed Al Di La...I wonder what people's expectations are that theyc ould possibly be that disappointed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: crabby_cakes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The Goose Liver Ravioli (in a balsamic reduction) was amazing. That dish met my expectations of transcendent pastas from Babbo.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: demigodh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ok. The goose liver ravioli is good. I did not like the mint letters.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: demigodh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Fully agree about Sullivan Street Bakery's Pizza Bianca.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I actualy think it's a disservice to the place, as they make much better items, and the Pizza Bianca gives you the impression the bakery is a massive rip off. It took me a while before I ever ordered anything else and learned not to judge based on it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sullivan Street Bakery
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    533 W 47th St, New York, NY 10036

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4. Since it hasn't been mentioned in over a year, allow me to reiterate: NOBU.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    What a rip!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: snaporaz

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DBGB.. although the critics suck it off, it seems like the bloggers/eating public appropriately doesn't get it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Shang - wow. what a hot mess this place is. You couldn't pay me to go back to the Thompson Hotel on the LES. The LES is done. Roger Clemens done.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      new site!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Gramercy Tavern...what is all the fuss about this place? Tried this place for my 50th birthday on advice from this board. So, I figured that any place where you have to make a saturday night dinner reservation one month in advance must be pretty amazing. I have to admit to being underwhelmed by the food (bland smoked trout appetizer, rack of pork/pork belly tender but nothing amazing in the taste department, though I really loved my chocolate zucchini bread dessert which kind of saved the experience). For the price, just not worth it. I wish I had spent the money at home in Philly on a nice dinner at Le Bec Fin or LeCroix.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: rocknroll52

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Agreed. My food was oversalted. So disappointed. I wanted to love it. Maybe an off night? I would give it another try just to make sure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: rocknroll52

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Grammercy always seemed like simplified fine dining to me. I think it is very successful with its intended audience.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I agree with Telepan, had lunch last summer with four people and we all had horrible meals with mediocre service.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Gennaro's is another. The food is ok, the rabbit is good, too bad the polenta served with it is runny. Forget their risottos. Yet, there are lines every night when lisca is across the street with better pasta.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sarabeth's is also overrated. I've mainly had their egg dishes, which are pleasant enough but not worth a 30 minute wait. Tomato soup has gone downhill as well. If you want great pancakes, try Fairways - they are the best.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: dpastor

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm surprised to read the negatives on Telepan. Went there last week (second visit) and we had an absolutely wonderful meal. Everything was wonderful and so was our waiter. The dish with 3 different pork cuts was off the chart! The sommelier picked me a wonderful wine as well. Couldn't have asked for a better meal anywhere.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: dpastor

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I could not agree more about Telepan and Sarabeth's! I've had lousy meals at both and just don't get their popularity!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. don't hate me, but EMP. granted, i've only been there once for dinner and 2x for lunch, but i feel like that should be enough times to form an opinion. it was just decent. nothing awe inspiring.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              also, babbo was great, but i had the same reaction as EMP. what the heck is all that hype about? i think expectations for both might have been too high going in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              AND just to defend Chang's restaurants, just because you hate MF noodle bar and/or ssam doesn't mean you should discount ko. Ko was one of the most innovative dining experiences I've ever had.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Peter Luger. Been there 3 times- the first by choice and the other 2 times i was dragged there...the food is WAY too salty, you feel like you are in a cafeteria...just not my idea of an enjoyable dinner.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: blueyes425

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I registered on this board to post a comment about Luger's. Ended up posting on the 5 most overrated thread after activating my account. In short: over an hour wait beyond reservation time for brother-in-law's birthday choice dinner. Jossled constantly in the tiny area between the overcrowded bar and maitre d's post. A tepid apology was the only consolation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I've recently been to Dressler which is diagonally across the street from Luger's. Much more pleasant atmosphere and well-made cocktails.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Everyone seems to love Bouley but it does not rock my world.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Matsugen. Everybody loves this place except me and my beloved. We find the food much too precious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. a few I just don't get:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Corner Bistro--mealy, dried burgers.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Magnolia-- mealy, saccharine, cupcakes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Here's another: FATTY CRAB--UWS location. I simply don't like the flavor of the food. The cocktails sound interesting, but they simple don't taste good to me. My BF, who eat with me at my suggestion, really hated his food there and the bill!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ora

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I agree. Everything is over-salted and overpriced which, as a diner, you focus on because it is also so crazy-loud that actual conversation is impossible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. 'inoteca on 3rd. Huge crowds. I get that there aren't as many restaurants with that kind of vibe in the nabe but the food...I have few good things to say about the food.

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