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AJ Spurs

r
Rachel Lee May 16, 2001 07:02 AM

I had dinner at the Hitching Post in Buellton recently and while the steak was wonderful, what is the deal with those tough ribs? There was a place less then 300 meteres from the Hitching Post called A.J. Spurs, anyone try it?

  1. m
    Mr Grub May 16, 2001 12:14 PM

    The Grubs were taken to A.J. Spurs by friends on a recent road trip. Because it violated a couple of Mr Grub's hints to choosing a restaurant, we had some trepidation. As it turned out, our trepidation was well founded. The food was across-the-board mediocre as you would expect from a place that apparently wishes it were a chain. Ribs were, well, OK. Steak sandwich, OK. On the YEE-HAW scale, it rates a YE.

    Mr. Grub's 15 Hints to Choosing Restaurants
    1. Avoid restaurants in the shape of something in which you wouldn't eat, like a boat or a goat
    2. Avoid restaurants above the ground floor
    3. Avoid restaurants with initials in their name, i.e., Mr. C's, T & A Cafe
    4. Avoid restaurants advertised by American Express
    5. Avoid restaurants with unnatural cuisine combinations, i.e., Cambodian/Scottish
    6. Avoid restaurants that are open on Monday (when the chef is off)
    7. Avoid restaurants with costumed, roller-skating, or singing servers
    8. Avoid restaurants with an "'n" in their name, i.e., Pig 'n Speculum
    9. Avoid restaurants specializing in continental or galactic food
    10. Avoid restaurants where valet parking costs more than you're paying the sitter
    11. Avoid restaurants touting their view more zealously than their food
    12. Avoid themed restaurants especially those with unappetizing themes, i.e., tropical jungle, public housing
    13. Avoid chain restaurants, if chain is longer than 3 members or 30 miles
    14. Avoid restaurants with alliterative, misspelled names: Sindy's Seafood, Phil's Phish
    15. Avoid restaurants in hotels: they're guaranteed to be mundane, overpriced, or both

    4 Replies
    1. re: Mr Grub
      d
      Dylan Yolles May 17, 2001 01:46 AM

      A great list. You miss one great one, though, from Calvin Trillin:

      Never eat in a restaurant that revolves.

      (Which he goes on to describe as having a name like Maison de la Casa House, Continental Cuisine.)

      1. re: Mr Grub
        b
        berkleybabe May 17, 2001 08:19 AM

        Great list - ya gotta love that Pig & Speculum.

        One more--avoid restaurants with with any reference to "Authentic Cuisine".

        1. re: Mr Grub
          j
          Jennifer W. Nov 7, 2001 05:16 PM

          The only thing I would add is that #2 and #3 do not necessarily apply to ethnic restaurants. In particular, I'm thinking of the numerous Chinese restaurants in LA that are splendid, despite being above ground floor (such as Empress Pavilion, Sam Woo Seafood in San Gabriel) and have initials in their naming (NBC Seafood, JR Seafood, etc.)

          1. re: Mr Grub
            j
            JK Grence Nov 7, 2001 09:46 PM

            Sounds just about right to me!

            There is one exception to the last one (restaurants in hotels) that I've found- Cafe Poca Cosa in Tucson, AZ. They've stayed there through five changes of the hotel they're attached to. I think of them as a great restaurant with a hotel attached instead of vice versa. However, they are quite overpriced at dinner, when the tourists come to dine- 10 bucks a plate at lunch, 20 bucks at dinner for the same quality and quantity food.

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