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Jul 9, 2008 10:11 AM

L. A. Times rips Gladstones

No surprise to the people on this board, though I've never thought they were THAT bad. But this is possibly the worst restaurant review I've ever seen in the Times. No stars.

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  1. "No stars."

    More than that.
    Their website states "No star: Poor to satisfactory".
    She explicitly wrote "Rating: Poor".

    9 Replies
    1. re: RicRios

      Seriously, though. How is this the review of the week? What's next? A review of how the food at Saddle Ranch is subpar?

      1. re: mollyomormon

        There's nothing wrong with the LA Times reviewing Gladstones. As the article says, it is the highest grossing restaurant in the area. Why not give tourists a heads up?

        I remember Gladstones in the late 70s, early 80s being pretty good. The last time I went was in the late 90s and it was a truly dreadful meal. This line of the review sums up everything:

        "It's terrible to gaze out to the ocean and imagine the volume of precious seafood being pulled out and ruined every day by this restaurant."

        1. re: Jwsel

          i believe that the ownership changed during that time--possibly explaining the changes.

          1. re: Jwsel

            Yes, I remember it being one of my favorite places in the world in the late 1980s (but I was young and dumb and from Oklahoma, which is getting there slowly but is mostly far from chowish).

            Sad to hear it but I agree it's not surprising.

          2. re: mollyomormon

            Also, it says at the end of the article that S. Irene Virbila is on vacation.

            1. re: I got nothin

              I doubt she would have rated it any higher.

              1. re: hrhboo

                I agree. I was simply suggesting that as a reason why a review was done for Gladstones. Different reviewer might equate to different types of restaurants covered (including over-priced tourist traps like Gladstones).
                Although, I have admit that as a young child I enjoyed the New year's day brunch at the old Gladstones in Newport Beach, where you would pay 1/2 price if you wore your pajamas to brunch. Or at least that's what my parents told me.

            2. re: mollyomormon

              Good idea on the SR review. I jog past there quite often and there always people eating. Now I can understand going there if you're too drunk to get to Universal Studios for dinner, but I've seen sober looking people eating there. I ate there once when they first opened because they gave us a neighborhood coupon, the food was either free or 2 for 1, can't remember, but either one, it was a rip-off.

              1. re: mollyomormon

                Why not? Even if one doesn't live near it, anyone heading up PCH has probably seen it, and if carting visitors, it looks like a great place to stop and enjoy the coast.

                It's arguably one of the best situated restaurants in terms of "coast meets major roads" and judging by profits, they are making the most of it. As much as hounds love the shabby strip mall finds and scary area gems, sometimes you have to go for the most obvious of places, especially when showing off the city.

                Given how many places there are to eat in LA, divided by the number of food reviews they can do per week, LAT can't even hope to cover a decent percentage of them without dedicating a decent sized team.

            3. That IS the worst restaurant review I've ever read - bravo to the reviewer for having the guts to speak the truth. The food editor must have been asleep when they let that pass by.

              13 Replies
              1. re: monkuboy

                Have you read Frank Bruni in the last few weeks?

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    Yeah, the Ago review was what I was referring to, but apparently he is not alone in his opinion of the joint, Alan Richman, and the New Yorker's "Tables For Two" column have also chimed in:

                    1. re: ChinoWayne

                      There is another review of his that was quite scathing - I'll have to search here to see if I can find it. Thanks for the link.


                      This is beautiful:

                      "Ago offers a Blueberry Martini, which comes garnished with the dry, mottled lemon that seems to have appeared on the lip of every glass of Diet Coke served this decade. It isn’t fit for a Smurf."

                    2. re: MMRuth

                      Thanks, MM -- that review made me LOL. I particularly liked:

                      "Then came an entree that perplexed us, a pale slab of meat with one long bone.

                      “What is this?” asked one of my friends.

                      “The special veal chop,” said the food deliverer.

                      “But I ordered rack of lamb,” my friend said. I had heard him.

                      “Yes,” said the deliverer. “That’s rack of lamb.”

                      My friend pressed: which was it?

                      “It’s the special rack-of-lamb veal chop,”

                      Also, the comment on the noise level: "bring ear plugs and ibuprofen"

                  2. re: monkuboy

                    "The food editor must have been asleep when they let that pass by."
                    actually, leslie brenner, who penned the review, IS the editor of the food section.

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        And a frequent contributor (and maybe current lurker?) to CH in the old days.

                        1. re: Servorg

                          are you thinking of "lesley b?" that's actually someone different - from eaterla.

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            No, (unless Leslie Brenner is also responsible for eaterla - which I'm sure she isn't). Leslie Brenner of the LA Times was a frequent contributor here on the LA board in the past.

                              1. re: Servorg

                                aha - that was before my chowhound days ;)

                      2. It is "that" bad when you consider the location, the crush-amount of traffic it gets (mostly tourists), and the appalling prices (that they don't *dare* to post on their web site). They do have a happy hour menu that is somewhat cheaper, but outside of that - yes, zero stars. Makes me miss the beach snack bar that used to be on that spot years ago.

                        "Happy Rocks' " only saving grace (imho) is the public part of the deck outside where you're free to bring your own picnic food - that's right, beer and wine too. That land belongs to the Calif. Coastal Commission and is free use for the public. We've never been told we can't, so... Grab that Taco Bell from across the street and enjoy!

                        1. The original comment has been removed
                          1. I'm so glad she spoke the truth. Gladstone's is... awful. It's beyond awful -- it's absolutely chaloshes. There's a reason it's mostly tourists -- they don't know better, and I suspect the local hotels have the usual arrangement.

                            So, if you're a tourist, and you're reading this, skip it. If you want to be overcharged for good (or just decent) seafood with a view, go to the Lobster or even to Ocean Avenue Seafood in Santa Monica, or to Duke's further up PCH.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Das Ubergeek

                              I was wondering, do people really have that bad a taste that they crowd into such places with horrible food? But then look at El Coyote - same thing. I thought maybe it's because they go to drink and don't care what the food is like, but then that wouldn't explain crowds at places like Red Lobster or Olive Garden.

                              1. re: monkuboy

                                A lot of people think that if it's crowded, it must be good. Look at Mexicali. Or El Cholo. Or (CAAAAAAACK) Tito's Tacos.

                                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                  haha, I LOVE Tito's Tacos (seriously). Maybe that's what it is - some of us have different gene defects, lol.