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Mar 6, 2008 09:32 AM

I may be in the minority, but...

Time to start another oddball thread. I'm sure most of us have at least on place that we disagree with the prevailing view on this board. Maybe it's a place that's all the rage that we just don't get. But perhaps more interesting are the cases where we find something to love at a place most despise. In cases like these, the trick is soimetimes to find the hidden gem on an otherwise unexceptional menu, or perhaps that little extra hint that one needs to know - "Tell them to make the crust extra crisp - it makes all the difference" at a pizza place, for example.

So how about it hounds - what's the place you love that we hate, or vice versa? And please explain WHY - it might open up some possibilities the rest of us haven't considered.

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  1. Great thread.

    I like Thai Terrace- there might be better thai in my area, but I love this place especially their noodles from heaven made as spicy as they will make it.

    I also like Lauriol Plaza- I like their steak dishes and their cuban pork dishes.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ktmoomau

      I forgot to say I also like Clyde's for what it is. I don't go a lot, but if I have people looking for a lower price point or who aren't big foodies or have kids it is good. I am a big fan of their "afternoon delight" and half price raw bar at happy hour, because their bar food I think is their strong suit and is really cheap for the huge servings.

      I also like Chef Geoff's occasionally for a burger and brunch (I mean really it is hard to screw up brunch, it's eggs). Now I will really get slack for that.

    2. I'm not really that thrilled with Zaytinya and everyone else seems to really like it. Perhaps I need to try it one more time, but the few times I went I thought it was so-so.

      The other way around---I actually like Kramerbooks and Afterwards. It's not's not even 1/2 way to Citronelle. But there are items on there that are pretty good, their desserts are delicious and decadant, and I like the atmosphere. I eat there by myself quite often, the staff has always been friendly (and rather naughty when they manage to talk me into a slice of their apple pie or chocolate cake), and it's a good place (obviously) to read a book and eat a meal. My favorite light meal has become their salad with a big piece of pounded herb grilled chicken (or hanger steak) and gorgonzola cheese. Their "best piece of bass (or salmon) in town" is pretty good as well. They usually have large portions, which is always nice. It is what it is, but I like it :)

      7 Replies
      1. re: Elyssa

        Agreed 100% on Zaytinya. It's in my neighborhood and I've tried to like it--in fact I've been there 5 or 6 times. I just don't get all the hype!

        1. re: KWynn

          And while all you people hate it, I love it which puts me on the why in the world do you like that place side.

          1. re: ktmoomau

            I really like Zaytinya as well although I can't really explain why... I have had some very mediocre dishes there, and I really don't like their wine selection - but I always have a good time, and keep wanting to go back! I've also had some great dishes there -- one that is amazing and is only on the menu on Sundays and Mondays is the Manti... picture from an unrelated website below:


          2. re: KWynn

            I should also mention that the first "disagrement" my bf and I had happened to take place during a meal at Zaytinya so that might put a bad taste in my mouth about the restaurant---but I just didn't "get it." I think the crowd is a tad annoying, the food is only so-so and our service sucked. I would rather go to the 10 other excellent restaurants in that area then hang out at Zaytinya.

          3. re: Elyssa

            I like Kramerbooks too. I love the atmosphere, and that it seems to be one of the few breakfast/brunch places around that knows how to poach an egg for that perfect ooze in an eggs benedict.

            1. re: Elyssa

              I also dislike Zaytinya! I have been a few times, and have never had a great meal. And I tried different things each time. Plus, they seem to put pomegranates on everything, and I am violently allergic. Sooooo the combo just doesn't do it for me. Plus, it seems too "sceney" if that is a word.

              1. re: Elyssa

                I'm with the side that loves Zaytinya...their shrimp with shallots rocks my world...

                I also love Kramerbooks and Afterwards. I've taken alot of visitors to brunch there when we can sit outside...I always get a piece of cake too!

              2. Almost every time I've been to Bistrot du Coin, I have had a raucous good time. So I love it, even though the food can be average and the service can be brusque...I just associate it with a great time and so perhaps I go in with a positive attitude.

                On the other hand, though I love Ethiopian food, we had a very off-putting experience at Etete, and I can't drag S.O. back, ever again. But everyone else loves it...

                1 Reply
                1. re: dcandohio

                  I agree about Etete. I was there a year ago and it was quite average. The food also didn't some freshly made. I don't need to go back there again.

                2. I'm sure I'll get some flak for this one...but I have to say Central.

                  Atmosphere: Excellent
                  Service: Top-Notch
                  Food: Haute Cafeteria

                  I was so excited to try this place. My SO took me their for my birthday and we sat right by the kitchen. I can't tell you how discouraged I was to see that each station in their MASSIVE open kitchen had a microwave (which was being used frequently). Between that and the salamander at the end of each row of stations, there was very little "cooking" going on...and I could taste it. The food didn't have soul. I guess preparing everything more or less from scratch in a restaurant that big would be difficult to say the least, but I don't think anything we ate had been "fired" or "sautéed" or anything. Just pulled from a refrigerator or shelf and "heated".

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: gatorfoodie

                    TOTALLY AGREE except i thought the atmosphere was a zoo, too loud & crazy. I think it's total overrated and i won't go back!

                    1. re: DCDOLL

                      The food at Central is great, you guys are nuts!

                      1. re: elegantelliot

                        no, we are not nuts we just had a different experience from you. I for one don't like to walk out of a restaurant with a migraine from the noise, no matter how good the food is (and it wasn't BTW).
                        But this is why there are so many different choices to please all!

                    2. re: gatorfoodie

                      I had two totally different experiences at Central. The first time was at an all expense paid reception. Everything served was top shelf and everything we tried was outstanding: lobster rolls, miniature burgers, fried oysters, and other fish finger food. Everything was great. I couldn't wait to go back. So i went back for lunch a couple weeks ago. I had the onion soup, which was pretty good but not the best I'd ever had, and a caesar salad with blue cheese, which was mediocre and the dressing was just poured on. We also felt a bit rushed. So on par it was just OK for lunch. I guess I can go back another time but they definitely didn't live up to the promise of the impression I got from the reception. And yes it was crowded and loud. And that was a Monday!

                      Another place was PS7. I went with several others and we tried the tasting menu with accompanying wine flight for dinner. At this point I don't remember the details but overall it was merely OK for a $500 dinner for four. On the other hand, I went back for lunch and had a great meal, including their tuna sliders for a very reasonable price. I think I'd go back for lunch and skip dinner.

                    3. Thai Arroy

                      As far as my experiences go, it is average Thai food served by nice people on a pretty plate. It's acceptable for local takeout, but not the type of place I would go out of my way for or recommend to others unless they were specifically looking for Thai in Federal Hill. Even when I lived a couple of blocks away, I would rarely go there or take out.

                      When I order Nam Tok or Nam Prik Pao, I shouldn't have to indicate that I want it spicy. I am sure they heard complaints about the spiciness and decided to tone it down, but it is Thai food and indicated as "extra spicy" on the menu. I don't know how this could be interpreted other than "If you don't like your food very spicy, don't order this dish." Of course spiciness is relative, but I have eaten enough Thai in enough places to know that this doesn't qualify. Obviously it can be remedied by asking for the food to actually be spicy, but when the menu says "extra spicy", it would be nice if they served what I ordered. It would be one thing if the food was flavorful and the lack of heat could be interpreted as allowing the full flavor to come through, but the dishes weren't anything special to begin with.

                      The curry was the most disappointing. Green curry is one of my favorite dishes. Unfortunately, the curry at Thai Arroy was very watered down - like they didn't use any coconut cream. The flavor enhancement usually offered by the fat was absent, the texture was off and it was very one-dimensional, which is quite an accomplishment for a Thai curry.

                      I think they're having an identity crisis between trying to make authentic Thai and trying to create a more 'upscale' experience for the Federal Hill clientele (which involves lowering the heat and going easy with the fish sauce). And untill they fall to either side of the fence, I hesitate to frequent or recommend the place.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Chowtimore

                        Try the whole fish dishes. I followed up some tasty $1 oysters at Ryleigh's happy hour with a bowl of Thai Arroy's subgum shrimp soup and a crispy whole fish with snow peas, carrots and stems of green peppercorns. It was delicious. I've never figured out what to order out of the assortment of conventional Thai dishes. I'm stuck in the rut of the subgum soup, fresh spring rolls and fish dishes. I'm waiting for a thai food afficianado to recommend other dishes on the menu.