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Feb 12, 2009 10:14 AM

Winterlicious - Majority terrible, why people still bother going?!!

Out of curiosity, I spend some time going through all the Winterlicious posts on this board. Based on my calculation, I would say over 90% of postings commented on how lousy and terrible the food or service was. The list of such establishments include L'atelier Thuet, Amaya, Bymark, Truffles, Toula, Edo, N44, .... to name a few. If the overall consensus are so negative, why do people still bother going?

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  1. My experience has been 50/50.

    I was not impressed with Pangea (dinner). $45 +++. Entire bill came out to $150 per person. Blamed it on the wine however. But even then, the food was just ok.

    I was ok with Auberge (lunch). $25 +tax/tip. Value was ok, food was quite good.

    I was very impressed with Oliver & Bonacini (lunch). $15, +tax + tip = $20 per person. For the price, very good value. True to the spirit of Winterlicious.

    I guess like all things, hit and miss. You have to watch your dollars and try to get value wherever you can.

    Last year for Winterlicious, loved Bymark , and hated Truffles.

    1. There are hundreds of restaurants and thousands of people partaking and you get posting from the same 10 people about 10 restaurants its not so bad.. I would say people like to bitch and if they are upset they will spread it around but most people enjoy the experience and just do not post about it..

      1 Reply
      1. re: OnDaGo

        One thing that CharlesYu is touching on is : what does "winterlicious" mean.

        I go because it is a reason to get out. I expect little, and I pay little. So I am satisfied. But when I pay full price, I expect (and are usually somewhat disappointed) by the experience.

        When I was in Palm Springs last year, a certain high end restaurant was advertising 1/2 price all wine on Thursdays. No restrictions at all. That was true value, because most of the wines were then sold to customers at close to cost.

        Perhaps many restaurants are somewhat abusing the intent of "winterlicious". Then again, we patrons have to be somewhat realistic. Most restaurants close down, and very few make serious money.

      2. I did three 'licious meals this year. Two (Trappers, Toula) were bad, and one, Oliver & Bonacini, was surprisingly excellent.

        With the low price of admission on these meals, I figure it's worth a try to socialize with my friends and maybe happen upon a happy accident.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Jacquilynne

          Yes - Toula wasn't good at all. Perhaps I just picked the wrong option. The lobster pasta was horrid. My SO had a stuffed ravioli which he said was not out of the ordinary, but it was nice and hot like he likes it. The appetizers were just okay as well. I had the cocktail shrimp and scallop, and SO had a veggie stuffed crepe with sauce. Dessert was like a 5cm by 5cm cut of cappuccino cheesecake and chocolate ganache. We could totally tell that they were skimping..

          Service was okay though. He wasn't quick to get us out of there either.. so we gave a decent tip. Toula was at the $35/person price point. They also had everything that we ate on the menu. So given what we had tried, we won't be returning.

        2. With $45 dinner and 18% tax+tip, I don't think I would even spend time to look at their menu ...well, that's just my thought.

          3 Replies
          1. re: skylineR33

            You mean it's not a good deal?
            If so, I agree. I stopped going to summer/licious because you end up paying close to the same amount you would on a normal night. Maybe less, I don't know. But not worth it to deal with the crowds, stressed servers (not a knock against them, just reality) and a low success ratio in terms of food quality.

            1. re: grandgourmand

              Yes, I mean it is not a good deal. I would rather spend $10, $20 or $30 more bucks go on a regular day to have choice on their full menu without dealing with the crowd and higher chance on disappointment with the low success ratio.

              1. re: skylineR33

                I'm with you skyline. I had a dish I didn't care for at Canoe. One of the things that upset me the most is wondering if the restaurant let its standards drop. $45 is still a lot to drop for a meal and I left unsettled. I'd rather pay a little more, eat what I want, and not worry about the authenticity of the event.

          2. To be honest Charles, probably because it is a deal to most people. I have seen your posts on where you eat and how often you eat. You obviously have a pretty good thing going money wise and restaurant wise. You can eat when you want and where you want at very nice restautants. Consider yourself lucky

            2 Replies
            1. re: rafer madness

              Yes, Charles is lucky that he can experience so many interesting restaurants and dining experiences. I glad that I am also lucky enough to have the opportunity to try many restaurants. Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't this a site for people who know about food to share their knowledge and experiences?

              However, I believe the discussion is about why people go to Winterlicious when the experiences have been questionable. I stopped going to Winterlicious a few years ago - not because I had bad food or service but because generally speaking, the food offered on the special menu is not representative of the actual food of the restaurant. I would look at the regular menu and compare it to the Winterlicious menu and find myself wanting several things from the regular menu and none of the offerings on the Winterlicious menu.

              The idea of Winterlicious is to give people a chance to experience some restaurants they would not ordinarily be able try. But if the regular menu offers a sous-vide duck breast with a variety of exotic garnishes prepared with the latest techniques and the Winterlicious menu offers chicken breast with some sort of salsa, then you aren't getting a true taste of the restaurant.

              By the way, I tried the dim sum at Yangs that Charles recommended and it was great!

              1. re: rafer madness

                I know what you mean, but I'd argue that winterlicious isn't really a great deal. It's more hit than miss, so money not well spent.