phx : what chowhound faves do you not get?
hey there hounds,
i know everyone's mileage varies in restaurants based on food, service, and a multitude of other items.
i'm curious - what board fave's leave you scratching your head?
i'll go first -
palatte - we tried twice. attitude in full, food marginal, service lacking. i'm on the 'what ev' team for that one.
Fate and Matt's Big Breakfast. Fate's food seemed Costo-esque at best and the service was horrible. The food at Matt's was just nasty. The memory of the ubergreasy hash browns turns my stomach to this day.
Tradiciones. I've only eaten there twice, but both times the food left me unimpressed. On my first visit, I had their pescado à la veracruzana, which was very pretty to look at but tasted pretty much like fish poached in a thin, unseasoned vegetable stock.
On my second visit, I opted for lighter fare and shared an order of street tacos and an order of chicken sopes with my SO. The sope filling was pretty blah (reminiscent of my fish experience) and the tacos were OK, but expensive considering that they were no better than standard taqueria fare.
On the plus side, I did find the service to be friendly and competent.
I've considered giving Tradiciones another shot, but with so many other less expensive, and IMO tastier, Mexican food options, I've yet to convince myself that I should spend any more of my dining dollars there.
Pita Jungle - It's good, mind you, but I still haven't had anything that makes me want to go "WE HAVE TO GO TO PITA JUNGLE!".
Delux - Sure it's a tasty burger, but it's overpriced and their sweet potato fries aren't nearly as good as they were when I first tried them (it was still a novelty then).
Barrio Cafe -- I tried it once, found it just sort of okay, but nothing seemed special enough to make it worth the price or the wait for the table. I found the food too rich and insufficiently flavored for my own tastes.
Matt's Big Breakfast -- Fresh, local ingredients + adaptive reuse of historic building; Should be great, but I find it just okay. The menu just has too much of a Nina Planck feel to it. How about some housemade muesli, multigrain pancakes, and more options for those who don't want such an eggy, buttery, meaty breakfast?
Fate -- I've actually warmed to this place lately. I still don't think it's as good as its reputation, but my most recent visit was actually good. I just wish the portions were more generous.
Richardson's -- I haven't been in a long, long time, but I don't think this place has changed much over the years. The food is reasonably good, but I just can't abide the many non-food-related objections I have to it: no reservations, pre 5/1/07 smokiness, no high chairs, etc.
Any restaurant owned by LGO Hospitality -- Again, good food, but I just don't understand how people can put up with the various policies in place at LGO, Postino, Chelsea's, etc. As I recently wrote on another site: "I think a lot of LGO-mania is based on an inferiority complex about Phoenix. Often, glowing reviews of LGO will mention that it makes customers feel like they are in some other city. When specifics are mentioned, San Francisco is most often the city in question; otherwise, it's some ethereal 'other city' or 'real city' that LGO evokes...I chose to live in Phoenix and prefer it to San Francisco. Phoenix is by no means perfect, and I am among the strongest advocates of needed improvements. Nevertheless, it's my home and I appreciate the city on its own terms. If I wished to eat in a restaurant that simulates another place, I'd be more likely to dine on the Las Vegas Strip than in Arcadia."
Could not agree with you more on the LGO comment, particularly to the namesake Le Grande Orange. Yeah, the food is good. But I'd also refer to In-N-Out Burger as good. (err.....maybe great, actually) A lot of places are good and good doesn't cut it anymore. I think that Chelsea's Kitchen is truly excellent; basic food prepared well in a nice setting. But I just don't get Le Grande Orange. The food is barely good. There isn't enough seating. Parking....forget it. Service? There isn't any. And you hit the nail on the head regarding people attributing some sort of "cool factor" (imagine me doing little quotes with my fingers as you read that) to it and feeling like they are in some sort of ethereal "cool place." I lived in San Francisco. I lived in LA. And I've spent a lot of time in NYC. And it's no less "cool" here; it's just different. The only attributes of Le Grande Orange that remind me of San Francisco are the inflated prices and lack of parking; and it doesn't make me feel like I'm anywhere else any more than Kentucky Fried Chicken in Central Phoenix makes me feel like I'm in Lexington, without the humidity....