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Restaurant week sucks! [moved from Boston board]

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jajjguy Mar 15, 2008 02:57 PM

Hoping to provoke a little discussion here. I've found that RW can really mess with things, rendering some of my favorite standby places overly crowded and compromised with a lousy menu and overextended service. What's the point of bringing people out of the woodwork to eat at your restaurant if they have a bad and unrepresentative experience? Is there a good side to RW?

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  1. ScubaSteve RE: jajjguy Mar 15, 2008 03:40 PM

    yes, yes it does.

    1. b
      Blumie RE: jajjguy Mar 15, 2008 04:31 PM

      Agreed. It's a lousy week to dine out, even if you order off the regular menu.

      1. a
        adamgendreau RE: jajjguy Mar 15, 2008 04:31 PM

        No .. there is not a good side to RW.

        1 Reply
        1. re: adamgendreau
          cassis RE: adamgendreau Mar 15, 2008 05:29 PM

          This will be my first try at RW and I am getting kind of worried after reading so many negative posts. Seems a lot of places give you cheap ingredients in smaller than normal portions with unfriendly service--but as long as the menu is in French or Italian the dumb public is expected to lap it up. With some notable exceptions! We are having lunch at Sel de la Terre, we should be OK since they have a prix fixe menu that is only slightly more than the RW menu. Yeah, what IS the point?

        2. BeantownHound RE: jajjguy Mar 15, 2008 05:33 PM

          What do you mean theres no good side? You get to dine on a healthy plate of either very cheap ingredients, or just a very small amount of them, sometimes slapped together because restaurants are two or three times busier than they typically are. Plus it makes restaurants kick into "turn em and burn em" mode to get the 80 people standing at the bar seated and service is usually hurried. Instead of 50 covers on a Monday, they do 300, and make just a little bit more money (for the higher end places at least) because they have to have more staff, more overtime, and the checks are way lower. Yes please kill restaurant week it is LAME.

          1. f
            flyer1 RE: jajjguy Mar 15, 2008 05:43 PM

            Restaurant week can work only in this way...For those that do not dine at the top end highly-priced places..rest. week allows you to check out these places..if you go to mediocre, low to med. priced places..what's the point?

            1 Reply
            1. re: flyer1
              BeantownHound RE: flyer1 Mar 15, 2008 06:51 PM

              But what is the point of going to a high end place, if your not going to get their 'real' atmopshere and experience? If you don't make enough money (like me) to go out to eat at high end places, then when you do get to go it is a memorable trip and you get the whole package, food, service, ambiance. During restaurant week you get something totally different and I think it hurts places when someone goes in expecting something way more and get a toned down version of the place. If you go to a restaurant that typically has 40 dollar entrees or a 100 dollar tasting and you are getting a 35 dollar three course meal, and then feel like it was just OK then that defeats the whole point of RW, because many people leaving feeling underwhelmed and likely won't go back and try it at full price.

            2. capeanne RE: jajjguy Mar 15, 2008 06:28 PM

              We work very hard twice a year to be sure that we know what restaurants are NOT particpating so we can plan our meals out...hate it

              1. enhF94 RE: jajjguy Mar 15, 2008 06:43 PM

                My usual line is "RW is for amateurs," but then I said that to two of my co-workers this week. They both know I'm way into food, so they honored me by asking where to go for restaurant week. They're going this week because they don't make enough money to go during the rest of the year. So when I said "RW is for amateurs," I felt like a jerk.

                Sure, restaurants must use cheaper ingredients, smaller portions, or turn'em quick service during restaurant week - but lots of folks who normally can't afford fancified food get to visit. That's worth something.

                Maybe next time, instead of saying "Restaurant Week is for amateurs," I'll say "try these cheapie gems instead, like Wang's, or Lupita... and save money for Rialto during a regular week."

                1. StriperGuy RE: jajjguy Mar 15, 2008 06:50 PM

                  Hate to say it, but I agree.

                  1. teaTomE RE: jajjguy Mar 15, 2008 10:42 PM

                    RW has been excellent at showing me just how many totally forgetable mid-to-high price restaurants there are in this city. They all have stylish oddly-spelled one word names like 'qwartet' and menus that proclaiming 'by Sean Flamange' or some chef you've never cared about. White tablecloths, bland upmarket furnishings and winelists that send you to sleep. And without much exception they all do:
                    a) mussels in a white wine cream sauce
                    b) steak and fries with a balsamic reduction
                    c) penne al arrabiata
                    d) Asian 'inspired' appetizers
                    e) a sinful chocolate mousse

                    For 80% of the participants RW is just a great way to show how they are all 80% the same as one another.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: teaTomE
                      almansa RE: teaTomE Mar 19, 2008 11:28 AM

                      I thought they all served beets with goat cheese and hazelnuts, mussels with chorizo and something or other with Great Hill Blue and, yes, a balsamic reduction.

                    2. pamalamb RE: jajjguy Mar 16, 2008 06:59 AM

                      While I agree that many restaurants do not handle RW well, there are some who do a great job. I have had fantastic meals and service at Excelsior and Davio's that proved to me what they can do. Since I don't have a lot of money, I won't be eating at places like this regularly, but now I've done enough research to know that they would be good choices for a special occasion.

                      For me, if a restaurant that chooses to participate in RW can't make a decent presentation, I don't want to go back. I understand that they want the extra business, but if they turn people off, they won't get any repeat visitiors.

                      1. MC Slim JB RE: jajjguy Mar 16, 2008 08:00 AM

                        I've gone back and forth on RW over the year: initially an excited, avid goer, then disillusioned after a series of bad-value, bad-food meals, now sort of resigned and wary, but not totally anti-RW. I don't plan an itinerary of places to visit, but if I wander into a place that's doing RW, I will try to sit at the bar if possible, recognize that RW is a low-paying trial for servers, take advantage of the ability to buy maybe a little nicer wine, and tip like royalty. But mostly I just patronize places that aren't participating.

                        1. s
                          saltyair RE: jajjguy Mar 16, 2008 08:05 AM

                          RW is only good if you are broke, like to eat out and choose a place with a decent RW menu...also dine out on a Monday night

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: saltyair
                            d
                            derekj RE: saltyair Mar 16, 2008 09:48 AM

                            The Boston city council missed the boat when they outlawed trans fats instead of RW.
                            OT: While we're at it, let's outlaw ANY of those horrifically lame and overpriced events done by phantom gourmet!

                          2. Bob Dobalina RE: jajjguy Mar 16, 2008 10:00 AM

                            Friends went to Excelsior for RW - made similar comments as above - menu uninteresting and not the usual fare.

                            Went to the fine Wed. prix fixe at Ten Tables, in part because it was not participating in RW. At $29 for three courses, we got choices all from the regular menu. Beats salmon or steak ala ordinary for $33.08

                            1. b
                              bostonbroad RE: jajjguy Mar 16, 2008 10:40 AM

                              Sadly, I have to agree overall. I have had some positive experiences and tried places that I hadn't gotten around to and now revisit - a wonderful RW meal at La Morra, a decent meal at Marco - but was able to see what would be good about this place during regular times, and a surprisingly good lunch at Top of the Hub (a co-worker invited me last minute, or I would never have bothered with that place for anything but drinks.)

                              However, the meal at Marco was clearly not as good as it could have been, and I had one of the worst meals in a restaurant that is supposed to be great - Radius. I had lunch there with some co-workers during RW last time and it was so bad that when a friend tried to get me to go there during non-RW, I couldn't do it. Their prices are so high that I didn't want to risk having a meal that bad again for full price. So, I wonder why places like that bother considering they lost a potential customer due to bad food and bad service during RW?

                              1. limster RE: jajjguy Mar 16, 2008 10:58 AM

                                I don't think RW is a big problem. Only a very small percentage of restaurants in the area are involved.

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: limster
                                  a
                                  adamgendreau RE: limster Mar 16, 2008 08:34 PM

                                  Last time I checked there were 173 participating restaurants.
                                  The list gets bigger every year.

                                  1. re: adamgendreau
                                    limster RE: adamgendreau Mar 17, 2008 03:03 AM

                                    For the Boston area, yelp lists over 2500 restaurants. 173 is less than 7%. Last I looked, there are all sorts of places out there that aren't even in yelp. While many of the restaurants that participate in RW may be more obvious because of the prominence in the press, there's no reason why a chowhound should not seek out great places that have been neglected by the food press.

                                    1. re: limster
                                      j
                                      jonship RE: limster Mar 17, 2008 09:28 AM

                                      But that number of 2500 restaurants on Yelp includes many restaurants that could never be part of restaurant week (four Anna's locations for example, or Galleria Umberto). I would say the % of restaurants that could be part of restaurant week and choose to do so is much higher than 7%.

                                      1. re: jonship
                                        yumyum RE: jonship Mar 17, 2008 09:35 AM

                                        I think the point is (although I would never speak for Limster) you might have a much better meal at Anna's or GU than at some of the places that are just phoning it in for RW.

                                        1. re: yumyum
                                          j
                                          jonship RE: yumyum Mar 17, 2008 09:39 AM

                                          Ah, good point. With that I agree (Boston Public last week was very poor).

                                          1. re: yumyum
                                            limster RE: yumyum Mar 17, 2008 12:32 PM

                                            Yes - thanks! Deliciousness is not confined to particular types of restaurants (and certainly not just to those that participate in RW, whether it's RW or not). Given that RW only affects a small % of restaurants, and not all of them are good anyway, it doesn't really make much of an impact.

                                            1. re: limster
                                              b
                                              Blumie RE: limster Mar 19, 2008 08:29 AM

                                              You're absolutely right, limster, that there are innumerable non-RW places to go, and to that extent my statement that RW is a bad week to eat out is an overstatement. It would be far more accurate to say that RW is a bad week to eat at RW participants (IMHO, of course!).

                                  2. yumyum RE: jajjguy Mar 16, 2008 02:48 PM

                                    I go back and forth. Haven't been to my 2 restaurant weeks pick yet this time, but will be interested to see how they do. One, Taranta, has been a great pick in years past but they also don't have the gnocchi on the menu so I'm a little sad. The other, Oiishi, hasn't published a menu. I figure it's a place I'd like to try out before committing to dropping $100+ for dinner. If it's a nice meal, I'll most likely return.

                                    I think I'm the target RW patron -- I use it to check out places I wouldn't normally go, I cut the servers a lot of slack, but not the kitchen. I admire places who take a little pride in making the menu. I understand that the servers hate it. I go back if I have a good experience. And I tell 10 of my friends about how it was -- good or bad. Ultimately I think restaurants should think twice about doing it if they are just going to phone it in.

                                    11 Replies
                                    1. re: yumyum
                                      franksnbeans RE: yumyum Mar 16, 2008 05:55 PM

                                      Couldn't have said it better myself, yumyum. I posted last week saying similar. There are some great meals to be had, but do a little legwork, people. Have a look @ the posted RW menus vs. the restaurant in question's regular menu. Clearly, some places are planning to phone it in. Clearly, some places have a well-planned menu that gives us great value. (Probably, most places fall somewhere in the middle.)

                                      We went to Gargoyle's last week and had an excellent meal. Service was good, if at a bit less of a relaxed pace than normal, and the food was terrific. I have to say, taking RW into account, I was really impressed with the menu they put together. They simplified for RW, so there was no "regular" menu (though the extensive prix-fixe RW menu was based largely on their normal menu). And the RW menu was well-planned in that it allowed great taste and value without overwhelming the kitchen. Clearly, they prepped a ton, and I don't imagine any servers had the night off, but they were jamming when we were there, and the kitchen having no trouble keeping up -- because they avoided dishes that are high maintenance for the cooks. Because they did it right. Obviously, a lot of places don't.

                                      P.S. Highly recommend the tuna poke (great as always), the raclette, hanger steak frites, and the duck confit. Only off note was a meh sea bass.

                                      1. re: franksnbeans
                                        Sal Monella RE: franksnbeans Mar 17, 2008 06:36 AM

                                        We also made to Garg's on Friday night and forgot that it was RW. 99% of the time we sit at the bar but unfortunately, this occasion was marred with a crazy crowd and a longer than usual wait to get a couple of barstool seats. We don't regret going as we love the place but RW is a headache for the regulars. Paul and Maureen were at the top of their games too.

                                        1. re: Sal Monella
                                          LindaWhit RE: Sal Monella Mar 17, 2008 11:01 AM

                                          RW goes through this week, doesn't it? Supposed to be going to Gargoyles on Saturday for a birthday, so the delay in bar seats could be a problem. What time did you get there this past Friday night, Sal M?

                                          1. re: LindaWhit
                                            Joanie RE: LindaWhit Mar 17, 2008 11:04 AM

                                            RW usually isn't on Sat.

                                            1. re: Joanie
                                              gini RE: Joanie Mar 17, 2008 11:22 AM

                                              Right, but Gargoyles has extended their's till Saturday.

                                              1. re: gini
                                                LindaWhit RE: gini Mar 17, 2008 11:34 AM

                                                Didn't realize that RW usually isn't on Saturday. But good to know re: Gargoyles - thanks gini.

                                            2. re: LindaWhit
                                              Sal Monella RE: LindaWhit Mar 17, 2008 12:09 PM

                                              Hey Linda. We got there later than we usually do. Typically we are one of the first guests on an average Friday...5:30. This time we got there ~ 7:15...didn't get a couple of stools for good 30 min...and we were sandwiched in. There were a few regulars but most of the people were 1st timers taking advantage of RW. You may want to get there earlier than you usually do.

                                              1. re: Sal Monella
                                                LindaWhit RE: Sal Monella Mar 17, 2008 12:34 PM

                                                Cool, thx Sal. Usually get there between 6:30/7pm if we're having dinner, so we might find the same issue this Saturday night. Not sure how many regulars are going to be there, so someone might be getting a table in the bar as well. Don't know the arrangements yet.

                                                1. re: LindaWhit
                                                  Sal Monella RE: LindaWhit Mar 24, 2008 08:47 AM

                                                  Linda, how did things turn out? Did you try anything from the RW menu?

                                                  1. re: Sal Monella
                                                    LindaWhit RE: Sal Monella Mar 24, 2008 12:28 PM

                                                    Sal, when I checked "My Chow" this afternoon and saw you had posted on this link, I wondered if you were responding to me. Unfortunately, I had a blinding headache almost ALL weekend - so I didn't go on Saturday night. Probably good because I found out from a friend that the owner had a band/DJ there for birthday celebrations for Paul and some regulars. Loud band/DJ + headache = unhappy Linda. :-) I was bummed, as I was looking forward to eating there (haven't been for dinner in awhile).

                                                    1. re: LindaWhit
                                                      Sal Monella RE: LindaWhit Mar 25, 2008 11:00 AM

                                                      Sorry to hear you weren't feeling well but on the flip side you didn't have to add to your headache. Definitely try to make it down for dinner soon. The latest iteration of the menu may appeal to you.

                                      2. g
                                        Gabatta RE: jajjguy Mar 17, 2008 06:43 AM

                                        Amen brother.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Gabatta
                                          w
                                          wax311 RE: Gabatta Mar 17, 2008 09:13 AM

                                          This is my opinion of restaurant week, from a cook's perspective working at a pretty good restaurant that does RW dinner only.

                                          Most cooks and servers that I have encountered through the years hate RW, but I must say I do enjoy it. Where I work now, we run only the RW menu, which has about 4-5 choices per course. This means that I only have to prep a small amount of dishes in bulk. During service, I am only have responsible for four dishes, instead of the 7-8 I am normally responsible for. Due to the smaller amount of items I need to prep for (albeit in much larger quantities) and the fewer dishes I need to juggle in my head during service, RW week is much easier mentally. So basically, I get two weeks where I don't really need to think much, just cook. Physically, it's about the same level of exhaustion as normal.

                                          I have worked at restaurants who do both lunch and dinner and restaurants that do both RW and their regular menus. I must say, these are the types of places you should avoid during RW. Two services - lunch and dinner - is very taxing on cooks and servers, especially when the restaurant doesn't normally do lunch. At one restaurant a few years ago, I had to work every day during RW from 9 in the morning until midnight because they wanted to do lunch to boost sales for that month. Running two menus during RW- the regular menu PLUS a RW menu - is very taxing on the cooks, as their workload increases dramatically. At one place, I was resposible for 8-9 menu items instead of 5-6, and not only did that result in longer hours, but my I didn't have enough room at my station for extra ingredients for three more dishes.

                                          SO I think RW can be good or bad depending on how each restaurant does it. My one complaint for RW city-wide is that now it is two weeks in the winter and two weeks in the summer. It used to be just one week in the winter, then one winter one summer, then two weeks both seasons. Now, restaurant week takes up a whole month out of the year, which is just too much. It should be limited to just 1-2 weeks.

                                          1. re: wax311
                                            yumyum RE: wax311 Mar 17, 2008 09:23 AM

                                            Thanks for posting that. Very interesting perspective ... sounds like your place is doing it right.

                                            I agree that winter RW is too long now. After all, it is called Restaurant WEEK. In the summer, a couple of weeks seems more reasonable, but I find the menus to be even more repetitive in August than in March.

                                            I don't know. I'm a sucker. Every time I say I'm not going to participate and every time I end up going to one or two places. Limster's right ... there are an awful lot of places that are NOT doing RW, and these are where we should be headed instead -- live and learn.

                                        2. p
                                          Patricia RE: jajjguy Mar 17, 2008 09:26 AM

                                          One word will suffice - Pigalle; but I'll go on just a bit. I have eaten there twice for RW (and once at another time) and I was delighted and amazed. Service and food were very good on all occasions. If Pigalle can pull it off and pull it off consistently during RW, why can't others? RW has been my first experience at many of the places I've tried so, granted, I have no basis for comparison to non-RW food or service. But I have had more good than mediocre or downright awful experiences at other restaurants during RW.

                                          1. s
                                            smtucker RE: jajjguy Mar 17, 2008 09:39 AM

                                            I hear everything that is being said, and it just doesn't sit well. Restaurant week[s] were designed by the restaurants to address the fact that during certain periods of time, they don't do enough covers. In exchange, the TONS of people who can not afford to eat at the higher-end restaurants but who enjoy and love good food are given an opportunity to satisfy their palette and curiosity at an affordable price.

                                            I remember all too proudly, my 21 year-old daughter taking her boss last summer to a restaurant week lunch. Saving for college, working as a free intern and a paid lifeguard at a housing project, didn't leave much for eating out, and yet, she had this wonderful experience.

                                            I admit that I have raised her well. She knew to tip the full amount, and she is polite and smiles easily with her servers. She reviewed chowhound reports for hours to select just the right spot. This was one of the steps she is taking towards learning to be an adult, and I suspect that she wasn't alone.

                                            If the restaurants and patrons aren't living up to their ends of the bargain, it isn't a problem with having a week of set menus, but in implementation.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: smtucker
                                              b
                                              Blumie RE: smtucker Mar 17, 2008 09:46 AM

                                              I'm not sure restaurant week was designed by the restaurants. Rather, I think it was designed by some tourist board or other authority to try to drum up business during slow periods. Perhaps restaurants were more enthusiastic about it initially, but not many would prefer not to participate, but nonetheless feel that they have to.

                                              1. re: Blumie
                                                t
                                                taves7 RE: Blumie Mar 18, 2008 10:22 AM

                                                You are completely right. Restaurant Week in Boston was designed by the GBCVB to help boost tourism and spending during slow months.

                                            2. g
                                              gyppielou RE: jajjguy Mar 17, 2008 10:24 AM

                                              I tried to start a thread but it disappeared for some reason.

                                              I would be interested to a list of restaurants who agree. Restaurants that once participated but no longer.

                                              Anyone?

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: gyppielou
                                                BostonZest RE: gyppielou Mar 17, 2008 10:27 AM

                                                I always thought it has something to do with American Express-- that they were behind it and that accepting the AMEX card has some part in taking part in the deal.

                                                Do AMEX customers out there get the list first to make reservations?

                                                1. re: BostonZest
                                                  LindaWhit RE: BostonZest Mar 17, 2008 11:04 AM

                                                  I'm a longtime Amex cardholder, and I don't recall getting any advance notice re: the ability to make reservations first.

                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                    p
                                                    Patricia RE: LindaWhit Mar 17, 2008 12:23 PM

                                                    In fact, Amex cardholders used to be able to reserve one or two weeks ahead of everyone else. With the links to opentable now on the "official" RW site, I don't think this applies anymore. I remember getting notice one year but only happened that one time.

                                                    1. re: Patricia
                                                      gini RE: Patricia Mar 17, 2008 12:30 PM

                                                      Actually, it happened again this year, but I never take advantage since the menus aren't posted by then.

                                              2. g
                                                gyppielou RE: jajjguy Mar 17, 2008 10:29 AM

                                                I would be interested to see a list of restaurants that once particiaped in restaraunt week and have chosen to no longer participate.

                                                Anyone?

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: gyppielou
                                                  p
                                                  Patricia RE: gyppielou Mar 17, 2008 12:26 PM

                                                  First year I participated I went to Lucca for dinner but I don't think they've ever been on the list since. 9 Park used to do lunch but they don't any more...neighbor who works there says it's because their food/menu just doesn't fit with idea of RW. I don't remember seeing Locke Ober on the list this year but I have been there for lunch. It was great and Lydia Shire was walking around the dining room and talked to just about everyone.

                                                2. j
                                                  jajjguy RE: jajjguy Mar 17, 2008 10:37 AM

                                                  Glad I'm not alone in my view. Thanks for the tea and sympathy, folks.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: jajjguy
                                                    c
                                                    CambridgeFoodie RE: jajjguy Mar 17, 2008 07:28 PM

                                                    I think its extremely presumtious to just write off RW for poor food quality and amateurs. Much like my regular restaurant experiences, I look to CH to help guide me to what restaurants are doing a good job during RW.

                                                    American Express does have a nice RW promotion - if you charge three meals (lunch or dinner) on your AMEX - then send in the receipts, you'll receive a $25 AMEX gift card...a nice little bonus.

                                                  2. a
                                                    adobokid RE: jajjguy Mar 17, 2008 09:12 PM

                                                    I agree with smtucker, this thread does not sit well with me either. There are a few posts here that seem a bit too pretentious. Also, judging from other threads on this board, there are plenty of people on this board to look forward to and appreciate the opportunity RW affords. Who are we to rain on their parade.

                                                    I’ve missed the past few restaurant weeks, but straight out of grad school a few years ago, this was an event to look forward to. A chance for a nice night out with my girlfriend (now wife).

                                                    From RW experiences, I’ve returned to some restaurants and avoided a few others. This should be a lesson from participating restaurants. Those that do it right certainly attract new patrons. There are a number of restaurants that showcase their talents using ordinary ingredients like chicken and salmon during RW.

                                                    If you don’t like RW, just avoid it. If you are having a “hard time” figuring out how to avoid restaurant week, are you truly a chowhound? Most of the favorite places on this board do not participate in RW. These are the gems that we have uncovered and are happy to tell other hounds about. Maybe this is a chance for you to check them out.

                                                    For those of you with RW reservations… Get dressed up and enjoy your meal! Don’t let all these posts from discourage you. Try to tip well because the servers are indeed working extra hard.

                                                    7 Replies
                                                    1. re: adobokid
                                                      Joanie RE: adobokid Mar 18, 2008 05:09 AM

                                                      Very well said. And to Cambridge Foodie, I wish I'd known about that Am Ex offer. I sure didn't hear about it but maybe my cheapie AE Blue card doesn't do that.

                                                      1. re: Joanie
                                                        SEH RE: Joanie Mar 18, 2008 05:54 AM

                                                        I hadn't heard about the Amex offer either so I went and searched it out: http://www.bostonusa.com/rw08/AMEX%20....

                                                        Looks like it's good using any amex card.

                                                        By the way, I've had 2 good RW meals so far: Summer Winter & Mare. In both cases the dessert was not what was posted on the original menu but it was all good, filling, well executed, etc. at both spots.

                                                        Over the years I've had some great RW meals and some not great experiences and some inbetween. I have learned to read the menus as this can be huge if they are only offering 2 or 3 choices and you don't care for any of them.

                                                      2. re: adobokid
                                                        b
                                                        Blumie RE: adobokid Mar 18, 2008 06:15 AM

                                                        If criticising something we don't like is raining on people's parade, should we avoid discussing bad experiences at restaurants, too?

                                                        By all means state your opinion (as you've done quite ably), but don't criticise others for having a different perspective!

                                                        1. re: Blumie
                                                          Joanie RE: Blumie Mar 18, 2008 06:49 AM

                                                          But it's like a broken record. And what good does it do? You don't like it, it's been stated over and over and over. I'm actually surprised this thread doesn't get a reprimand from the moderators. And I know I'll be deleted again in about 5 min.

                                                          1. re: Joanie
                                                            Angel Food RE: Joanie Mar 18, 2008 07:07 AM

                                                            I agree with Joanie - It's not critizing the opinion on RW, but, seriously, do we really need another "RW Sucks" thread? As much as you can guarantee there will be RW two times a year, you can bet there will be these tired threads that just rehash the same complaints from 6 months ago.

                                                          2. re: Blumie
                                                            a
                                                            adobokid RE: Blumie Mar 18, 2008 07:27 AM

                                                            I'm sorry if you misunderstood my post. I am all for criticising restaurants and letting others know about our bad experiences. I've had a few bad RW experiences myself.

                                                            It just seems to me that this thread has gone too far and is criticizing the idea of nice restaurants becoming available for the general public to try. I'm not refering to all the posts on this thread, but there are a number that sadden me about the "foodie" scene in our city.

                                                          3. re: adobokid
                                                            StriperGuy RE: adobokid Mar 18, 2008 06:22 AM

                                                            Chowhound is about positive and negative comments. That is what we read and post for. I personally have largely given up on restaurant week having had one too many crappy experiences, and yet I do knuckle under every now and then and give it a whirl... usually regret it as I did this year.

                                                          4. p
                                                            phonelady RE: jajjguy Mar 18, 2008 08:50 AM

                                                            I, for one, use RW to visit somewhere I normally cannot afford to with friends - I have never had a bad meal, and frankly - I have more fun spending time with them than nit-picking at everything!

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: phonelady
                                                              t
                                                              taves7 RE: phonelady Mar 18, 2008 10:30 AM

                                                              I don't know what restaurants you have been to, but I wish you'd share. I have had some great experiences for restaurant week Sandrine's, Grotto & Pigalle for instance. But I have also experienced poor quality and service--Marco & Tresca.

                                                              1. re: taves7
                                                                NYA Joe RE: taves7 Mar 18, 2008 11:21 PM

                                                                I just had two awesome RW experiences in a row. I'm an amateur and take full advantage of the freedom that comes with that title. I went to Fleming's and Ruth's Chris, both times for steak, and both times ordered the NY Strip. Those were two of the best steaks I've ever had. Disclaimer: I don't go to these places under normal circumstances, nor the Oak Room or Grill 23, etc. I'm a Bugaboo or Outback guy, because I can't afford a real steakhouse...except during RW. What do these places get from me? I'm reminded how a good steak tastes, and I'll patronize these restaurants for those very, very special events in my life, when cost is no object. By the way, I've also had completely disappointing RW experiences. I've yet to find anything worth even RW prices in Harvard Square. And many RW places are not even a good deal, so why go during a crowded, hectic time when establishments are trying to cut every corner? By the way, I'm going for 3-for-3 with The Palm!

                                                                1. re: taves7
                                                                  j
                                                                  JCPope RE: taves7 Mar 27, 2008 08:28 AM

                                                                  I think Tresca is slipping-regardless of RW. The service was laughable, and the food was mediocre at best. Maybe its time for a new chef?

                                                                2. re: phonelady
                                                                  b
                                                                  Blumie RE: phonelady Mar 19, 2008 08:27 AM

                                                                  Sorry, but IMHO nitpicking is what chowhound is all about. And I don't mean that in a bad way at all. The entire purpose of chowhound is to share our positive and negative reactions to all-things-food. So if you're suggesting that we should pull our punches because it would be "nitpicking," then I would suggest you're on the wrong website.

                                                                3. MC Slim JB RE: jajjguy Mar 19, 2008 04:40 AM

                                                                  To add to the meta-discussion, I think it's worth noting that not everyone posting to or reading this thread is a Chowhound veteran who has seen this timeworn topic thrashed out many times before. A discussion of the pros and cons of Boston's RW is new and useful to some readers, however tired it might seem to folks who have read 50 other RW threads on this board over the years. It's a topic that seems to attract a lot of new or infrequent posters, some fresh perspectives, so I'm finding it really interesting to read.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: MC Slim JB
                                                                    l
                                                                    Lucymax RE: MC Slim JB Mar 19, 2008 10:30 AM

                                                                    On the whole, I agree -- it sucks. However, my husband and some friends said they had a really wonderful, bargain dinner at Harvest (which we like anyway). They felt it was a really good deal. Next Restaurant Week (this August) I'm going to probably try to avoid making special plans for meals out -- and just concentrate on NON-restaurant week weeks.

                                                                    1. re: MC Slim JB
                                                                      Anon12 RE: MC Slim JB Mar 26, 2008 06:37 PM

                                                                      Thank you MC Slim. This thread has been very interesting for me. I personally have reservations about RW but have not seen the topic discussed on CH before. It's nice to be able to read all these perspectives.

                                                                    2. cassis RE: jajjguy Mar 26, 2008 06:10 AM

                                                                      I would like to amend my initial negative if generic comments about RW. Based on favorable CH reviews I had lunch at Sel de la Terre (State St) with a friend last week, and went back with another friend yesterday. Ordered both from the regular and the RW menus, and the latter was in no way inferior. Lovely experiences in every respect--food, wine, espressos, service. Our tables were ready immediately, we were not rushed, were not pestered by someone refilling our water glasses every time we took a sip, perfect.

                                                                      Except for one thing: where was the provence- inspired interior? A few walls washed in ochre or siena, stone floors, wood beams, baskets of lavender and sunflowers--you know the look!--would have been especially welcome after coming in from the windy, sunless street.

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: cassis
                                                                        yumyum RE: cassis Mar 26, 2008 09:12 AM

                                                                        Funny. Last time I was there with my chowmom and we both remarked on how they'd taken some sweet touches from Provence and added them to an otherwise boring dining room. No, it's not like being there, but some of the oversized rustic serving stations, the linens, etc. were reminiscent. And I could swear there are some baskets of lavender in there!

                                                                        Most importantly, glad you enjoyed the food.

                                                                        1. re: yumyum
                                                                          cassis RE: yumyum Mar 26, 2008 10:15 AM

                                                                          Thank you, yumyum. Next time I'll look out for those elusive baskets of lavender!
                                                                          .
                                                                          Actually, this might be an interesting thread (certainly for me, an architect): does interior decoration add to your experience of the cuisine? I'll work on that.

                                                                          1. re: cassis
                                                                            yumyum RE: cassis Mar 26, 2008 10:39 AM

                                                                            Cool topic, and I think we've already begun talking about nifty spaces in Boston. If you get more general than that, the mods would want you posting on General Topics. Or, who knows, maybe someone has already started a thread on this?

                                                                      2. b
                                                                        bistro66 RE: jajjguy Jul 18, 2008 12:49 PM

                                                                        I go to Restaurant Week in NYC ( I was doing a search for NYC and wound up here) and have to say, I see your point, but at least here in Manhattan it is a great way to check out standards like Gotham Bar & Grill and Gramercy Tavern before committing to dinner. Have no idea what the Boston restaurants do but having lived there for 15 years, wouldn't be surprised if it was a bust. Take the Fung Wah down to NYC and enjoy yourself!

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