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Restaurants where everything starts to taste the same...

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In the Cheesecake Factory thread below, chez2mike berated someone for eating there several times a month. It got me thinking that there are a lot of restaurants where all the food "begins to taste the same." Here's my case:

I've worked at the Music Center now for two whole weeks. I get to eat at Otto's (a Patina restaurant) everyday for lunch for free. I haven't even gotten through the entire menu and I am already tired of it because every single dish has something about it that reminds me of everything else I have eaten there.

Does that make sense?

When you think about Cheesecake Factory, Denny's, Wolfgang Pucks, Marie Calendars, etc, dont' they all invoke a taste in your mouth, regardless of the specific dish you have ordered? I think it is especially true of the diners like Denny's, but I don't think this phenomenon is exclusive to the "lower-end" chain restaurants. I wish I could explain it better -- its just a feeling I have. Now that I have eaten at Pinot Grill, Pinot Cafe, and Otto's, I have a "taste" in my mouth that epitomizes the corporation. When I think of Denny's, whether I think of the GrandSlam Breakfast, Moons-Over-My-Hammy, or a plain burger, I get that "taste" that I know what it is going to be like.

Am I nuts?

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  1. All prepared food seems to have that taste. It is not the same as making it at home. The only time in recent memory that food tasted exactly like it was homemade was Maurice's Snack and Chat. I had Fried Chicken, eggs, bisquits and home fries. All fresh off the grill, fryer or oven. It tasted SO fresh. The problem at that place is that the food took over an hour to come, and there were only 4 other people in the restaurant. Don't go there, it is not worth it, but there food didn't have any of the prepared food taste.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Just Larry

      why not go to Maurice's? does the food taste really fresh, but it doesn't have a good flavor for some reason? also, whenever i pass by there it is always empty at any hour. that doesn't seem to bode well for me. what's the deal with the place? lastly, i heard it changed ownership a couple years ago, did you go before or after the new ownership?

      1. re: kevin
        v
        Vanessa On Town

        I used to live near Maurice's. I don't know how they've stayed open all these years, because no one is ever in there. Maybe they cater? I've been several times and the food is consistently good and the service is consistently painfully slow. Go figure. Really good fried catfish and side vegetable dishes. Always has that home country cookin' taste. But it usually takes about 2 hours to eat there. So, if you go, don't be on a schedule.

    2. Some chefs, even some popular ones, are one-trick ponies, and when you're tired of that trick you're tired of their restaurant. There's a restaurant in Culver City that seems to use the same spice mix in everything, burgers, fish, pasta, whatever. I eat there once in a while because a friend likes the place, but I have no sense of enthusiasm for it.

      Perhaps the problem at high-end places is that the chef has a strong sense of style and uses the same balance in each dish, so that even when different ingredients are used the result is monochrome... At Denny's the effect is the same because they fry everything in the same grease.