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Zagat Article in L.A. Times

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  • Coachboy Oct 15, 2003 12:26 PM
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Excellent article in today's LA Times by David Shaw on the L.A. Zagat Guide...In a nutshell, useful only as a reference and memory jogger. Ratings are worthless.

Nice to see someone put this in print.

Coachboy

PS. Also a great review of Hong Kong Palace in Rowland Heights - will check it out on Friday on way to desert.

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  1. Everyone rags on zagat, but I have to tell you, like anything in life it is 80/20. I feel 80% of the zagat stuff is pretty right on, atleast for my taste and likes.
    There are some people on this Board whose oppions of the same places I like are the complete opposite, so just leave zagat be. It is a really good resource, just like this board is a great resource.

    12 Replies
    1. re: Burger Boy
      a
      Alfredo Garcia

      I like Katsu-ya, and used to eat there weekly when my GF lived in the Valley, but we like my current local sushi place better. Number 2 restaurant in L.A.?

      I think the Zagat has to be taken with a grain of salt, and word of mouth works better.

      1. re: Alfredo Garcia

        And Cafe Bizou always does well...makes me suspect that the lion's share of "Los Angeles" survey respondents are a stone's throw in either direction from Ventura Blvd.

        1. re: Ted

          All you need to do is look at the most popular restaurants. Based on the 2000 survey:

          CPK
          Cheesecake
          Jerrys
          KKRoo
          INnOUT
          Daily Grill
          Baja Fresh
          Il Fornaio
          Wolfgang Puck Cafe
          McCormick & Schmick

          All Chains (though some are good). Not exactly haute cuisine.

          Coachboy

          1. re: Coachboy

            In fairness, most popular isn't "best food". It's not like people are giving Daily Grill a 27 in food.

            1. re: Coachboy

              In fairness, most popular isn't "best food". It's not like people are giving Daily Grill a 27 in food.

              1. re: David L

                You're right. However, it's an indication of where the voters dine. IMO, Cheesecake and Jerry's are must avoids. Wolfgang Puck Cafe's isn't much better.

                It bespeaks of a chain mentality that is decidedly "unchowhound".

                Coachboy

                1. re: Coachboy

                  Man I love In and Out MMMMMMM

                  1. re: Coachboy

                    I've contributed to Zagat before. Thanks for invalidating my opinions. Why the harsh crit of the Zag? Like someone here said, it's just a resource, take it or leave, but to make a sweeping judgement and say all the reviews are worthless is like saying everything on this board is worthless. They are just opinions, not necessarily right or wrong. This isn't the Michelin guide, but even the Michelin shouldn't be taken verbatim.

                    But, FYI, I've gotten food poisoning from both Cheesecake Factory and Wolfgang Pucks and I think Jerry's is OK in a pinch, but definitely not the best deli in town. Art's has that distinction.

                    Off my soapbox.

                    1. re: Coachboy

                      I've contributed to Zagat before. Thanks for invalidating my opinions. Why the harsh crit of the Zag? Like someone here said, it's just a resource, take it or leave, but to make a sweeping judgement and say all the reviews are worthless is like saying everything on this board is worthless. They are just opinions, not necessarily right or wrong. This isn't the Michelin guide, but even the Michelin shouldn't be taken verbatim.

                      But, FYI, I've gotten food poisoning from both Cheesecake Factory and Wolfgang Pucks and I think Jerry's is OK in a pinch, but definitely not the best deli in town. Art's has that distinction.

                      Off my soapbox.

                2. re: Ted

                  Keep in mind that there are 3 Cafe Bizou's, including Pasadena and Santa Monica, as I recall. Thus 3 times the opportunity to appeal to its crowd, even though it also rated #1 when Sherman Oaks was the only one.

                  1. re: Ted

                    What is all the hoopla about zagat ratings? Nobody said it was the gospel on dining out. It is based on ratings by their voters...The Public. It all comes to the math...most votes wins. It is no different then chowhound....just ordinary people offering their opinions. Be your own judge!

                3. re: Burger Boy

                  Zagat's a tool. I think the new division of LA County into sections particularly, "The Westside," continues a self-validating concept that the good food is all in one area. It encourages insularity. It also makes the book harder to navigate--unless you never want to leave your neighborhood. But I got it free after doing the survey so I'm not complaining.

                4. I agree with you about the LA ratings - but its not confined to this side of the country - we were just in Provincetown a couple of weeks ago and landed in a place for breakfast called something like Back on the Bay which was a Zagat favorite. Locally its known as Backside on the Bay. Food way below edible and the crowning point was while we were waiting, the wait person cleaned all the tables around us - including us - with liberal squirts of glass wax - mumbled 'sorry' when she squirted us.
                  THAT was the moment we should have taken off.

                  1. Don't trust zagat, at all!

                    1. I've seen plenty of untrustworthy reviews in Zagat AND here.

                      Really, these things are a basis to start from, not the bible of food. I know that when someone reviews beef as soul food I know this person doesn't know soul food. Use it as a suggestion and take it from there.

                      1. Coachboy -- You mentioned Hong Kong Palace in Rowland Heights. We used to like and frequent this restaurant for Dim Sum. Then, however, they were very inconsistent, and their Health grade fluctuated quite a bit -- sometimes A (long ago) to C. We have not returned in awhile, so please do post after you go. They have a wonderful almond pastry tea that they serve at about noon on dim sum days. Perhaps you can ask for it!

                        1. wow, this review is from three years ago. better late than never.

                          1. sadly, the author of the original times article has passed away.

                            1. Until I can put Chowhound in the glove compartment of my car, then Zagat serves a purpose. Yes, you have to consider the crowd that reviewed the restaurants before you accept the numerical ratings. That is especially true in places like Pasadena and the OC, where the food options are less imaginative and more driven by chains. But the Zagat guide is conveniently organized so you can make quick use of it, especially when you find yourself in a new area looking for something to eat now. I don't mind that they are not putting places like La Playita in the guide because that would make the place more crowded and frankly it is not demanded by the typical Zagat user. Let's face facts: we're freaks when it comes to food. That's no crime, but we are different.