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Top 5 Most Overrated in Manhattan

This is not a comment on the quality of any of these restaurants. Some on my list I personally find to be excellent and others I believe are terrible. The point here is to list restaurants where the quality falls well below the hype. The hype could come from a number of sources including hyped up on Chowhound, by newspapers, by word of mouth etc....

1) Babbo -- The end all be all of Italian food in NYC (maybe America) falls short. Battali may be a wiz with noodles but he needs more to justify the several month wait for a good reservation.

2) Carnegie Deli/Stage Deli -- this one is more for tourists but as any local knows, just go to Katzs

3) Juniors -- maybe a Brooklyn place but they have a Manhattan location and their cheesecake is nothing special. come to new york and get a pastrami at katz's and a cheesecake at juniors is what I was told (by a carver at Katz's) but I couldn't disagree more. No graham cracker crust?!? Get that cheesecake away from me.

4) Clinton Street Baking Company -- Good pancakes, not nearly good enough to be considered the clear favorite in the city on chowhound.

5) NYC Hot Dogs (dirty water dogs) -- I think everyone on this board would agree with this. Somehow people outside of the city tend to think of New York as a great destination for a hot dog. The ubiquitous hot dog vendors throughout the city stand as a testament to that belief. Having lived in DC for years where hot dog vendors are also common (and excellent), i can't for the life of me figure out why people love the dogs in nyc. if tourists started getting chicken over rice, then they'd be on to something.

Places that almost made my list but in the end live up to the hype: Doughnut Plant, Shake Shack, Momofuku Ko

Honorable mention to the single most overrated dish: Uni Panini

What would be in your top 5 most overrated places?

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  1. Spotted Pig, I love pork more than anyone but have not walked away from here feeling like I just had a great eating experience.
    Shake Shack, there is so much hype no burger could live up to the expectations.
    Virgils, doesn't even crack the top 10 BBQ joints in NYC
    Pizza 33, overpriced and under cooked
    Del Friscos, 3 times there and my steak has never been cooked to the correct doneness.

    5 Replies
    1. re: princeofpork

      I must disagree with Spotted Pig - was just there on Friday and it reminded me how much I love the gorgonzola burger and devils on horseback...

      1. re: Crepe Suzette

        LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Spotted Pig! Sweetbreads with Stewed Peppers one of the best things I have ever tasted! Followed that with Hampshire Pork Belly with Bean Purée & Chard We were just there this past week and savored every moment! I love restaurants that have a casual vibe, not pretentious, but server excellent food. BRAVO!

        Spotted Pig
        314 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014

      2. re: princeofpork

        I agree with your comments on Spotted Pig. I just don't understand the hype and the LONG WAIT. Total disappointment.

        1. re: princeofpork

          I agree with Spotted Pig. Over priced and mediocre food.

          Spotted Pig
          314 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014

          1. re: princeofpork

            Agree with shake shack being totally overrated. The lines are always long and the burger is always a bit tasteless. The price of it also makes you feel a bit ripped off. Howevr they do have great shakes, but burgers are really subpar. I rather go to Paul's place in st marks.

          2. Joe's Shanghai, Soup Dumplings.

            9 Replies
            1. re: scoopG

              5 is a bit hard for me to come up with but I will have to agree with Joe's Shanghai. I will also put Congee Village, Ippudo, Union Square Cafe and Jaiya (Murray Hills) on my list too.

              1. re: bearmi

                I agree with Joe's Shanghai and Spotted Pig. Also Fatty Crab - but that one I am on the fence about and think I should give it another chance, hehe.

                1. re: YummyInTheCity

                  I agree about Fatty Crab. Not a fan. I thought the service was awful and the food just not good.

                  Fatty Crab
                  643 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

                  1. re: AYSConsulting

                    I agree with Fatty Crab....I was totally let down....my boyfriend and I were on a separate pilgrimage when we spotted Fatty Crab out the cab window we stopped immediately having heard all the hype. It was awful before we even finished some appetizers he was asking for the check. It didn't help that it's a semi open kitchen displayed the dude cooking who had a massive beard and no facial net thing gaurding it from getting in the food. I refuse to believe that he is the only man alive who's beard doesn't shed!

                2. re: bearmi

                  Is Jaiya that well liked on this board? I thought that the general impression was that the food is decent, not great.

                  Yummy, I'm with you on Fatty Crab. I know Chowhounds are less sweet on it than Bruni for the most part, but his awarding of two stars was overly kind IMO. It's really no more than a one. But I might be judging it too harshly for the really fourth-rate Hainan chicken rice I had recently... In my book, this dish is something divinely inspired. The version at Fatty Crab was heretically bad.

                  1. re: cimui

                    joe's shanghai, how did i leave that off my list. ippudo i initially included but decided against it. i agree though, it's overrated. spotted pig i've never been to but i do love me some fatty crab.

                    1. re: cimui

                      I think there is a loyal following for Jaiya out there, although it's probably not the most discussed or most liked Thai restaurant on the board. I also feel that Jaiya is brought up often at other venues, probably because it has been around for a while...

                  2. re: scoopG

                    Can you recommend a good soup dumpling place? Thx!

                    1. re: scoopG

                      I think it really depends on which Joe shanghai you went to. Personally the one in Manhattan Chinatown is really ... Not that great. Every time I go there for a soupy dumplings fix, the dumplings are deflated and just generally sucky. But the Joe's Shanghai in flushing is a totally different story, actually I just went there yesterday in the mid afternoon at 4pm when there we no crowds and the dumplings were ridiculously plump and filled with soup, so yeah Joe's Shanghai in Chinatown, Manhattan = overrated but Joe's Shanghai in Flushing = awesome

                      Joe's Shanghai
                      24 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

                    2. I'll dodge the verbal brickbats for saying this, but my last couple of visits to Katz's were nothing special. Pastrami is now just good, not life-altering- and nothing else there is worth the shlep.

                      42 Replies
                      1. re: addictedtolunch

                        Katz's is just good NY Deli, not life altering. the Carnegie is every bit as good, with better cheesecake. The Stage however, is just not that good.

                        1. re: OC Mutt

                          i think carnegie's food is miles more enjoyable than katz's...i will say that my last trip to katz's actually seemed like they were on the decline. my meat plate was small, cheap, and dried out...service was abysmal...and ive been eating here for 15 years.

                          langer's in LA beats them all though.

                          1. re: OC Mutt

                            I fail to understand how the pastrami at Carnegie can even be compared with the same at Katz's.

                            1. re: johnindabronx

                              I agree with you, but the Corned Beef at Carnegie is better. So is the cheesecake.

                          2. re: addictedtolunch

                            Katz's would top my list too. I've had worse, but I hate to say it, I've also had much better.
                            I find the sandwiches to be chintzy, and tough, with a predominant flavor of greasy salt water.

                            Katz's Delicatessen
                            205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

                            1. re: sugartoof

                              Where can I get better pastrami than at Katz's?

                              1. re: KTinNYC

                                You can't. Katz's is the BEST.

                                1. re: ZaZa

                                  Sarge's pastrami is much better than Katz's. This has been a subject of much discussion.

                                  1. re: ellenost

                                    I disagree. I like the pastrami at Katz's better.

                                      1. re: thew

                                        2nd Avenue deli better than Katz's and easier to get to.

                                        1. re: Daka

                                          i dont agree with either of those assertions

                                    1. re: ellenost

                                      Not really, Katz's is by far the overwhelming favorite.

                                      1. re: BTaylor

                                        2nd Ave's is not bad...for that matter, neither is Carnegie's, really ...but ZaZa is right.

                                        None hold a candle to Katz's, at least as far as Pastrami is concerned.

                                        Katz's OWNS it.

                                    2. re: KTinNYC

                                      Langer's on the corner of 7th and Alvarado in Los Angeles.

                                      1. re: sugartoof

                                        chintzy? i can understand not liking the flavor ( i don't agree, but i understand) but chintzy? it's not a small sandwich by any means......

                                        1. re: sugartoof

                                          "I find the sandwiches to be chintzy"

                                          A quick Google search shows this definition of chintzy - "cheap: embarrassingly stingy."

                                          I think that word does not mean what you think it means.

                                          1. re: Bob Martinez

                                            It's posts like that which prove Katz's is numero uno on the hype meter.

                                            Feel free to consult your dictionary all you want, it's not going to erase my memory of mediocre meat plopped on top of two dinky pieces of bread. It's a chintzy offering for $15.

                                            1. re: sugartoof

                                              Please, please let me know where I can find better pastrami!

                                              1. re: KTinNYC

                                                I never claimed to have a key to a secret stash of pastrami.

                                                Any place I've had better at, I've also had worse at. To me this is like arguing over who has better shoe tongue. I've never had a sandwich at Katz's that thrilled me, felt worth the money, or the hype. I never left craving it the next day, and I don't know anyone outside the internet who loves the place, but I know it's still sacrilege to express this opinion. The best Pastrami I've had personally was in LA.

                                                (I'm glad people here have been satisfied and had better luck at Katz's though, honestly. I've always felt I was missing out on what's just seemed to be a huge myth)

                                                1. re: sugartoof

                                                  Hey now, folks. Lay off a bit. I agree with sugartoof that there's an aura of untouchable greatness that surrounds certain Manhattan Institutions -- and those kinds of assumptions can only be the enemy of open discussion when it comes to food. sugartoof's point, as I take it, is to say: Set aside the boundaries. Set aside what The General Populace considers sacred. Consider food on its own merits and then decide.

                                                  I really respect that RGR was able to come out and say that Sarge's serves as good (if not better, IMHO) pastrami as Katz. I agree. I also have also enjoyed the pastrami at 2nd Ave. Deli very, very much, though I understand from other posters that the quality may be uneven. (The times I've tried it, it's been wonderfully flavorful and moist.) And I humbly submit that I've helped make better pastrami with friends than what I've had at Katz's.

                                                  So I agree, ultimately, with sugartoff: Katz is good... but to call it the best in NYC? Just think about the hype factor before you make any assumptions. Think about all the places you haven't tried.

                                                  Keep the discussion alive. Free your mind. :)

                                                  Peace, love, good eats...

                                                  1. re: cimui

                                                    Would you describe the sandwiches at Katz's as "chintzy?"

                                                    1. re: KTinNYC

                                                      I definitely agree that people should question what they disagree with... but at the same time, give the good 'Hound a chance to back down from a stronger statement than perhaps intended without losing face, eh? It pains me to see such a pile on...

                                                      [Ok, sorry to take this discussion OT. I guess it belongs more in Site Talk than anything.]

                                                      Back on the subject... Bob, nope, I wouldn't call the portion size at Katz small, but I know plenty of folks think the price tag is pretty steep for a mere sandwich. Perhaps sugartoof was talking about relative value?

                                                      1. re: cimui

                                                        I've never heard anybody say that the amount of meat in a Katz's sandwich is anything but enormous. It's really enough for two sandwiches. To call it "chintzy" is .... eccentric. The statement "I've also had much better" begs the question "Where?"

                                                        I'm not an absolutist. Maybe some other place is serving pastrami that's as good or better than Katz's. Why not share that information on the board? Cimui, I'll buy you sandwich at Katz's if the OP volunteers that information.

                                                        1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                          "You've said you've had better pastrami than Katz's. Well, that's good news, even if the restaurant is in another city."

                                                          Agreed. Although a long-time fan of Katz's pastrami on rye, I've never felt threatened or offended at the prospect of their being something out there that is better. On the contrary: it gives me something to look forward to.

                                                          sugartoof refers to arties, mendys and sarge's. i've also had some very good pastrami at arties and sarge's - never been to mendy's - but I don't put them in the same league as katz's, so i'd disagree there. then again, there's room for more than one good pastrami sandwich in manhattan, and i'd never blame a place for not being katz's.

                                                          the place i hear more about than others in the whole best pastrami argument is Langer's, in LA, which is yet one more reason to pull me out to the Left Coast for a bang-up gorge and eatfest. On a previous thread, however, I've read about a place in Jersey that some enthusiasts swear by. Someone help me out here.

                                                          If Katz's is, indeed, #2, I'm fine with that. Bring on #1.

                                                          1. re: Polecat

                                                            Langer's is very good. But it's a different kind of pastrami sandwich than Katz's. The bread (rye) is better, and the pastrami is aged, so it's a different kind of pastrami. The sandwich is served with coleslaw on the sandwich and swiss cheese. In all, a great sandwich, but if you're looking for pastrami on rye with mustard, Katz's is the place. I like both for different reasons. 2nd Ave. is too salty (like everything there), but I haven't found a better pastrami in NYC than Katz's.

                                                            1. re: Hoc

                                                              The rye in L.A. (Langer's, Nate & Al's) is corn rye, a different rye experience IMHO. The meat - that's a toughie. Katz's is MY personal favorite, but I love Langer's, Carnegie, even Artie's on the UWS, (that last just to get the heat from whomever out there ;-) ) . . . A quality corned beef or pastrami on a couple of nice pieces of rye with some great deli mustard . . . that's a treat (east, west, or even north - I love smoked meat sammies in Montreal), and best in this category is similar to saying you like Granny Smith apples over Golden Delicious - a matter of opionion. But can you be RIGHT? Best we can determine would be: 1) which is most popular. 2) whose standards are slipping or holding or (God forbid) improving. But it's fun to discuss, absolutely. And BTW - Nate & Al's in Beverly Hills makes the best chopped liver app. Go ahead, tell me I'm wrong! ;-)

                                                  2. re: KTinNYC

                                                    I think the pastrami at Katz's is superb, but I have also found the pastrami at Sarge's to be consistently top-notch. Different in style from Katz's, but equally delicious.

                                                    1. re: sugartoof

                                                      So, do you think there is too little pastrami on a Katz' pastrami sandwich? Or just lousy pastrami? Where do you think we can get better pastrami in Manhattan?

                                                      1. re: MMRuth


                                                        It's hard for me to imagine anyone saying there is too little pastrami on the sandwiches at Katz's. From my experiences, the sandwiches are always bulging with meat. So much so, that the flimsy bread (there's no disagreement about that) can't support the juicy meat and literally falls apart. Note also that Katz's countermen still hand-slice their pastrami, so pieces are much thicker than when a machine is used, as is the case at every other deli.

                                                        At Sarge's, even though the machine slices are thinner than at Katz's, if you specifically order "fatty" pastrami, the meat remains very succulent. Also, the spicing is different from Katz's. But I think in its way, the pastrami at Sarge's is just as delicious. And the rye bread at Sarge's is more substantial, so it holds up better to the mound of juicy meat.

                                                        The thing to keep in mind is that pastrami should never be ordered lean because it's the fat that provides the juiciness and flavor. Lean = shoe leather.

                                                      2. re: sugartoof

                                                        You obviously didn't slip the counterman a buck!

                                                        1. re: sugartoof

                                                          Yes, the tip leads to a slightly thicker sandwich. And it's a very good sandwich. But at that price point, where a sandwich costs, with tip, about as much as an entree in many decent restaurants, I'm over-paying for something that is about as good (or within 10% as good) elsewhere, for much less money. And it's the only thing there that's even arguably a "stand-out" at all-the rest is just O.K. if not mediocre deli. Which means we have a place here that's existing off of past glory. When a restaurant, like a boat, "coasts", it slowly sinks lower in the water. If you are about the food and not about nostalgia or hype, a visit to Katz's is now a let down.

                                                          1. re: addictedtolunch

                                                            The tip for a larger sandwich is also a myth. You can try it for yourself. Put your tip in the cup before once and then try it another time and tip after, the sandwich is the same size. These guys make so many sandwiches they are on auto-pilot. I've tried it myself and there is no difference when the tip is presented.

                                                            1. re: KTinNYC

                                                              Will they gladly give you a taste of the pastrami if you ask beforehand? Or do you need to tip them in order to get a sample. I have never been to Katz, however I have heard they are pretty gracious about giving out tasting samples before you decide what you want.

                                                              1. re: steakrules85

                                                                Yes, you get a sample. Trust me, the second you get to the front to the line the cutter is already getting the "sample" ready for you. These guys must make scores of sandwiches a day, they are on auto-pilot.

                                                                1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                  Awesome.. thanks. I would like to sample the brisket and pastrami before I decide what to get. Even though I know I will most likely be going with the pastrami. Brisket tends to be too dry at these places.

                                                                  1. re: steakrules85

                                                                    The pastrami was heavenly but the brisket at Katz suxs! I would have forced for my brisket money back and show it on youttube if the line wasn't so long.

                                                      3. re: sugartoof

                                                        "but I hate to say it, I've also had much better. "


                                                        1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                                                          2nd Avenue Deli. I've had an off pastrami day or two there, but mostly I've had really delicious and moist pastrami. As for Katz's I just have little reason to return based on pastrami.

                                                    2. 1. Shake Shack. I'm from Chicago and Danny Meyer's shack doesn't match up in terms of dogs or custard. Don't even get me started on the burger and the fries are mealy and miserable.

                                                      2. Max Brenner

                                                      3. Carnegie Deli

                                                      4. Serendipity 3 - overpriced, overhyped, and the one time I was there they artificially inflated the wait time (plenty of open tables inside)

                                                      5. Sarabeth's - I still like the lemon ricotta pancakes though

                                                      3 Replies
                                                        1. re: windycity

                                                          Serendipity 3 is okay to go to ONCE. I loved the Frozen Hot Chocolate the first time I went. It tasted much duller the second time around, though.

                                                          Serendipity 3
                                                          225 E 60th St, New York, NY 10022

                                                          1. re: windycity

                                                            I didn't know there was much of a hype over Max Brenner. I'm originally from Sydney, Australia and I can tell you that the max Brenner in Sydney tastes a whole lot better, because it's not ... As rich? I find the max Brenner here wayy to rich and that their menu has too many items. Max Brenner in Australia only concentrates on the treats none of this wrap and chicken business. So I think the lack of concentration on a particular food is killing their quality

                                                            Max Brenner
                                                            841 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

                                                          2. 1. Porchetta--dry, dull, tasteless.
                                                            2. Little Owl--cramped, one of the worst pasta dishes I've had in awhile was the gnocchi. The sauce was watery and tasteless;
                                                            3. Minetta Tavern--$26 hamburger wasn't as good a $5 burger at a good burger place, bone marrow was feeble, foie terrine wasn't very good;
                                                            4. Keste--crust turned to soup after a couple minutes, sausage looked like dog food and had NO taste;
                                                            5. Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery--WAY too much hype for what tasted like a Duncan Hines cupcake.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: Slob

                                                              100% agree on porchetta...an absolutely ridiculously lame place.

                                                              my other picks:

                                                              1. una pizza nepaletano - no choices, overpriced pies, no ice for my diet coke...this place must die.
                                                              2. spotted pig - the wait, the crowd and the star f$cking...the inconsistent kitchen...im not going back.
                                                              3. momofuku noodle shop - i know they barely serve ramen anymore but its so goddamn overrated, they need a new word for it.
                                                              4. babbo - besides pasta, this place just does not deliver. very disappointing.
                                                              5. little owl - the food does not warrant the constant attention. cute place but the food does not deliver.

                                                              1. re: sam1

                                                                sam, I couldn't believe just how bad Porchetta was after the crazy hype I read on it. I couldn't even finish my sandwich because it was so dry and devoid of taste.

                                                                And I think Little Owl's secret to their hype machine is the fact that they can only fit 3 people in there at a time, so it's always full and gives the appearance of being busy.

                                                              2. re: Slob

                                                                I agree with you onthe bone marrow at Minetta Tav. BIG disappointment after all of the hoopla. Loved the burger, tho.

                                                              3. I will put the Carnegie Deli's corned beef sandwich against other deli in NYC.

                                                                And, original poster, why do you care if people want to eat hot dogs from sidewalk carts?

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: Hinterlander

                                                                  why do you care if i like another corned beef more than carnegie?

                                                                  it's the same thing, i just think the hot dogs are crappy and very overrated (in this case by tourists).

                                                                  1. re: demigodh

                                                                    What sense does that make? A $1 hot dog purchased on the go from a street cart isn't a dining experience as eating in a restaurant is.

                                                                    1. re: demigodh

                                                                      I think Sabrett makes some of the tastiest hot dogs I've ever had. Tasty with a nice natural casing snap.

                                                                      They are better grilled (a la Papaya King and Gray's Papaya) than boiled, but still not bad from a cart.

                                                                    2. re: Hinterlander

                                                                      30 years ago, the corned beef at Carnegie Deli was really great.
                                                                      I have been there 3 times in the last 10 years and each time resolved never to go again. Nowadays the corned beef is just dry and there is lots of it.

                                                                      I don't know where to get good corned beef sandwiches anymore in Manhattan.
                                                                      The pastrami on club at Katz's is still great.

                                                                      1. 1. Degustation - constantly and consistently fawned upon by members of this board. Unfortunately, I just wasn't wowed by anything. Thought I was perhaps missing something, but right now, I can't even remember what I had there.

                                                                        2. Corner Bistro - kinda surprised it gets any hype at all. And I don't like how the fries taste like bacon. If I wanted bacon-taste, I'd order bacon.

                                                                        3. Katz's pastrami - granted, I've only had it once, but my whole family left the place like, "really?? that was it?!" It's a pile of salty meat on some rye bread. Nothing to get so excited about.

                                                                        4. DiFara's - don't shoot me. But it's just too parmesan-y to me and the extra drizzle of olive oil doesn't do anything for my taste buds but does to my waistline. Yes, the pizza is good. But worth the trek out to Midwood and lingering at the counter for 1.5 hours for a pie? Ehhhh....

                                                                        5. Clinton Street Baking Co. - I did love the pancakes. I love pancakes, period. Yes, they are a bit crispier on the outside and nicely thick. But is it light years beyond another competently-made pancake? No. If there wasn't a 2 hr wait at brunch, I'd pick this place over others, but that's not the case. Also, was kinda saddened to see that Bobby Flay beat them in the Throwdown.

                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                        1. re: janethepain

                                                                          I agree with most of your comments -there is NO WAY DiFara is worth the hike to Midwood and no way Clinton street is worth the wait ( and I LOVE pancakes!)...

                                                                          1. re: crovito

                                                                            Agreed indeed on DiFara. Ditto on Zero Otto Nove. The crust is amaturish.

                                                                          2. re: janethepain

                                                                            With you on DiFara's. If anyone shoots you, I'll step in front and take the bullet.

                                                                            1. re: janethepain

                                                                              Ugh, I guess I'll have to add both Minca and Ippudo to this list. Minca was just no good to the point that I'm shocked it's constantly one of the top picks for ramen in the city. In short, broth very rich/greasy with no balance of flavor.

                                                                              Went to Ippudo for the second time yesterday, and while it was good (got the Akkamaru Modern), it's nothing I had a food revelation over. Tasty and much better than Minca, but not worth waiting 1-2 hours for.

                                                                              1. re: janethepain

                                                                                The state of NYC ramen is mediocre at best. When I go to Minca, I enjoy the springiness of the noodles and the fatty pork pillows. I do not enjoy the broth and hardly drink it.

                                                                                On the other hand, Menkuitei has a very serviceable broth but the noodles aren't as springy and the meat is used much more sparingly. I guess Ippudo would be the best happy medium, but I'm never happy after waiting 2 hours for a seat.

                                                                                1. re: windycity

                                                                                  I agree, Ippudo's noodles were perfect - even after sitting in broth for a while, it maintained its springiness and avoided waterlogging. But Minca's broth is just inexcusable. There's no pleasure in eating the noodles, etc. if the broth is just blechhh.

                                                                                  Strangely, i had a sip of the tonkatsu broth at Village Yokocho and it was amazing - very milky-boney. I was drunk at the time so I'll have to go back and confirm.

                                                                              2. re: janethepain

                                                                                Revisited Katz's to confirm my original opinion. The pastrami was ok I guess, but nothing that I'd ever have a craving for. I guess I just don't pastrami is that great. But the prices reflect the heavy tourist premium.

                                                                              3. 1. Shake Shack - good burgers and custard and if I'm in the neighborhood and hit them at an off time with no waiting I'll gladly buy their food. But worth more than a 10-minute wait? Are you kidding?

                                                                                2. Doughnut Plant - I appreciate that they use first class ingredients and try different flavors and combinations but I'm always disappointed. The doughnuts are tough and the overwhelming sweetness overpowers any other flavor.

                                                                                3. Any cupcake bakery - Sugar Sweet, Magnolia, they're all mediocre.

                                                                                4. EMP - Much beloved and hyped by this board, my meal there was very good if a little uneven but in no way was it as amazing as I expected it to be based on the Chowhound raves.

                                                                                5. Barbeque in general - Blue Smoke is the best of a mediocre lot but why does NYC 'que have to suck so badly?

                                                                                19 Replies
                                                                                1. re: angelhair

                                                                                  I am shocked to hear you think Bluesmoke is the tops of NYC BBQ. It doesnt even crack my top 3. Please venture up to 131st and get some Dinosaur Pulled Pork or Hill Country for the Beef ribs

                                                                                  1. re: princeofpork

                                                                                    I've been to Dinosaur and it was okay but certainly not memorable in any way. Is it better than Blue Smoke? Probably a toss up depending on personal preference though I do like the sides at Blue Smoke. Fette Sau is (was?) better than both of them but even that is a far cry from even average barbeque in a place like Memphis. My lament was for the overall mediocre quality of barbeque in this city in general. I haven't tried Hill Country yet so can't speak to that but given the poor quality of 'que in NYC I'm not expecting much.

                                                                                    1. re: angelhair

                                                                                      Please do try Hill Country, and PLEASE start with a quarter pound of each of the moist and lean brisket, as I've noticed that a umber of people love one but hate the other, while I adore both. Focus on the meat. The sides are adequate, but forgettable, but then again, the sides aren't that great at the temples in Lockhart, either.

                                                                                      p.s. I'm pretty ecumenical in my bbq tastes, and when I'm wanting saucy, I also head to RUB (and sometimes it's the beans that push me over the edge--they are damn good).

                                                                                      1. re: planetjess

                                                                                        When HILL COUNTRY first opened, I bought both the moist and lean brisket at the same time. My decision was that the moist was the one to go with-- until that summer day, when I bought the moist brisket to go.

                                                                                        By the time I got home, the bag was dripping with fat onto my wood floor! It was awful. When I opened the wrapper, there was so little meat, I threw the whole thing out and never returned.

                                                                                        I've tried just about everything there. The only things that remain favourable are the spicy Texas Link and the whole chicken to go. However, after that experience, I wouldn't go back there.

                                                                                      2. re: angelhair

                                                                                        angelhair, where are you from? I've spent the last month in both Austin and Memphis and I have to say that overall the barbecue is better in both cities I don't think the best places in NYC are that far behind. I really like RUB and Dinosaur and I while don't think they are as good as the best in Memphis I think they can hold there own. BTW, the beans at RUB are better than those at either Central or Interstate but then again, who goes to barbecue for beans?

                                                                                        1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                          I'm from Dallas and while the barbecue is better elsewhere in Texas, I'd take the worst places in Dallas over the best in NYC by a longshot. I haven't been to all of them (ie. Hill Country, Blue Smoke) but the sampling I have had leaves me no reason for hope. The much hyped places that I have been severely disappointed by include: RUB, Smoke Joint, Dinosaur, Fette Sau.

                                                                                          You might enjoy the 'cue here as much as in Memphis or Austin but I just don't feel the same way.

                                                                                          Tangent: I miss fried okra at BBQ places in this city. Not that this would effect anything I've previously stated but if anyone knows a 'cue place that has fried okra please let me know.

                                                                                          1. re: demigodh

                                                                                            "if anyone knows a 'cue place that has fried okra please let me know."
                                                                                            look beyond straight 'cue places.

                                                                                            Amy Ruth's may be worth a shot...

                                                                                            other places that serve it include Acme Bar & Grill, Alias, Delta Grill, and Mara's Homemade.

                                                                                            Amy Ruth's
                                                                                            113 W 116th St, New York, NY 10026

                                                                                            76 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

                                                                                            Mara's Homemade
                                                                                            342 East 6th Street, New York, NY 10003

                                                                                            Delta Grill
                                                                                            700 9th Ave, New York, NY 10036

                                                                                            9 Great Jones St, New York, NY 10012

                                                                                            1. re: demigodh

                                                                                              Why would people expect the BBQ in NYC to be anything but okish-good at best!?!?
                                                                                              When i travel to Alabama for a football game, i m not looking for the best kinish in Birmingham(regardless of the hype a place gets). When i m working out west, regardless of how bad i want a bagel with lox with thinnly sliced red onion, i know i m not getting one(a good one).

                                                                                              New York is NOT a real BBQ town, no ifs ands or butts(no pun)about it.

                                                                                              1. re: baldwinwood

                                                                                                I can't imagine that anyone would think NY is a real BBQ town - I certainly don't. I was responding to the request for overhyped restaurants. And it seems that some barbeque place is always being hyped by somebody so to me, just about any and all NYC 'que is overhyped and mediocre.

                                                                                                1. re: baldwinwood

                                                                                                  fette sau, is way better than even average

                                                                                                    1. re: baldwinwood

                                                                                                      It was a BBQ town back in the 1970's and 1980's when Smokey's had 2 locations. One was in Chelsea 24th and 9th Ave., the other was on the upper west side. Fantastic and very much missed!

                                                                                              2. re: princeofpork

                                                                                                I have always wanted to try the beef ribs there but have heard they do not have a lot of meat on them these days. Is this true or no??????????

                                                                                                1. re: princeofpork

                                                                                                  I second Hill Country; AMAZING BBQ

                                                                                                  Hill Country
                                                                                                  30 W 26th St, New York, NY 10010

                                                                                                2. re: angelhair

                                                                                                  Agreed w/ you re: EMP and Shake Shack.
                                                                                                  Have to add Babbo to the list, as I'd describe my 2 experiences the same way that you described EMP. Good but not orgasmic.
                                                                                                  Perilla, Dovetail: Again, both are good, but they didn't live up to my inflated hopes


                                                                                                  1. re: angelhair

                                                                                                    agree with EMP. all three my meals there were disappointingly mediocre.

                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                      Another vote for EMP. Worst meal I ever had on my numerous trip to NY this year.

                                                                                                    2. re: angelhair

                                                                                                      wildwood has been much better lately! give it another try.

                                                                                                      1. re: angelhair

                                                                                                        what flavors did you get at donut plant???? try the tres leche - it's delice

                                                                                                      2. 1) Pizza -It's changing rapidly with all the new places opening,but generally 99% of the slice joints are forgettable.

                                                                                                        2) Cup Cakes - Any Girl Scout could match this garbage.

                                                                                                        3) Co. - To associate the things they make with the word pizza is just downright deception.

                                                                                                        4) Five Guys burgers - Greasy,burnt grease tasting and on par with white castle as the worst burgers IMO.

                                                                                                        5) Tabla -If it wasn't a DM joint it would be out of business relying on the food alone.

                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: xny556cip

                                                                                                          5) Eleven Madison Park- went twice and both times had rude service and tiny portions that were not mind blowing

                                                                                                          4) Spotted Pig- sure it's good but michelin-star-worthy? Nope.

                                                                                                          3) What is with the cupcake craze! I'm with you guys on that but I'm also not a dessert person.

                                                                                                          2) Del Posto- wildly overpriced and inconsistent food.

                                                                                                          1) Blue Hill- This is a controversial one to list (don't hit me!) but I really had the worst service there. A smug waiter, dishes that sat in front of us far too long, etc. The Spanish mackerel was bland.

                                                                                                          I do have to disagree with Babbo on this list as I had the highest expectations and it still exceeded them. It's not just the pasta but all of the incredible innards there. Sweetbreads mmm! And focused, doting service even when packed.

                                                                                                          I also want to say that it seems like some people are just listing places that they think suck, but aren't necessarily that hyped. Is Virgil's really supposed to be great BBQ? Not as far as I know. I've never really heard that NY is supposed to have great hot dogs, maybe I've missed something.


                                                                                                          1. re: foodie4life

                                                                                                            I'm going to EMP in a few days. If it isn't mediocre, I'll be sure to let you know =P

                                                                                                          2. re: xny556cip

                                                                                                            I beg to differ about Five Guys. Their burgers are only above average but their fries are fantastic. Then again I like White Castle, so what do I know?

                                                                                                            1. re: vinegarhill

                                                                                                              Five guys burgers are horrific. Burnt to a crisp yucky!

                                                                                                            2. re: xny556cip

                                                                                                              I'm so glad to find someone else who thinks Five Guys is disgusting! But what I really wanted to say on this thread is THANK YOU to everyone for this thread. I'm making a list of places to avoid in NYC when we're just walking around looking for a place to grab lunch.

                                                                                                              1. re: xny556cip

                                                                                                                Grimaldi's made me change the way I think about pizza, and Lombardi's wasn't too far off. I do agree that there are way too many average pizza shops, though.

                                                                                                                47 W 20th St, New York, NY 10010

                                                                                                              2. Shake Shack -- I like it but it's not worth the huge wait. I only go when the line is on the short side.

                                                                                                                Lombardi's -- May not get the hugest love on these boards, including me. But you'd never know it from the long lines in front of the restaurant.

                                                                                                                Di Fara's -- I agree with jainthepain that it's overrated, but perhaps for different reasons. I used to live near there and went before all the hype. I thought it was great. But there's no way I'm going to trek to Midwood these days and deal with the wait and "watching" my pizza to make sure nobody swipes it from me unless I was going at an off-hour.

                                                                                                                Magnolia -- OMG! What a tourist trap! Horrible dry cupcakes. Only thing I liked there was the banana pudding. But I refuse to set foot into that place anymore.

                                                                                                                Buttercup -- While not as hyped as Magnolia, it's still pretty popular. I actually think the cupcakes are even grosser than Magnolia's.

                                                                                                                Doughnut Plant used to be on my list before I tried the cake doughnuts. The yeast ones are way too heavy and greasy. Cake are heaven!

                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                  Agree with the Magnolia review...the cupcakes are NOT good but the banana pudding is worth the wait (NO more than 15 minute wait)

                                                                                                                  1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                    Apart from the chocolate cupcakes with either chocolate or mocha icing, the cupcakes at Magnolia are uneatable. Ouch !

                                                                                                                    The cake/cream donuts at the Doughnut Plant are a magnificent creation and wondrous gift to humanity--the black-out chocolate, hazelnut, creme brulee, the tres leches guarantee a one-way trip to Heaven--and there's no turning back. Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you !

                                                                                                                  2. I think greys papaya has some of the best dogs in the world. I love them so much. maybe its the combination with the papya juice, but they are perfect just crispy enough and just the right size. Other cities hot dogs are too damn big and taste like old ham.

                                                                                                                    As far as the street vendors, they are just fine, but a bargain at $1. Plus the onion sauce is awesome, that makes the dirty water dog.

                                                                                                                    The dog vendors around the tourist areas also seem to have different dirty water dogs and often charge mare than the $1 standard. So maybe you only go to time square.

                                                                                                                    1. 1. Nobu: was great when it opened, but now seems dated and there is a much larger selection of great Japanese out there now
                                                                                                                      2. Burger Joint at Parker Meridian: Not sure why people think these are great burgers. They are like fast food burger IMO. Like Shake Shak, they are overhyped
                                                                                                                      3. Aquavit: it can be inventive but it still has to taste good. yuck.
                                                                                                                      4. Anthos: Not sure why this got a star. just seemed like nothing special
                                                                                                                      5. Steakhouses in Manhattan - None of them live up to the high bar set by Peter Lugers (I'm really talking about the copycat ones like Wolfgangs).

                                                                                                                      19 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: kinggofg

                                                                                                                        Simply a silly comment about Wolfgangs. I am a Luger's fan. It sets the bar for others to be judged. When original Wolfgang's opened it was, decent, AT BEST. I would never step foot back into the original on Park. But the Wolfgangs in Tribeca is, IMHO, is a different story and is as close to Luger's as it gets (at times better). It does not have as good bacon, but as far as steak, spinach and potatoes are concerned, why drive to Brooklyn and be forced to pay cash when you can have almost as good (if not better) in Tribeca? Have I mentioned the homemade potato chips served at the bar? OMG!!!

                                                                                                                        1. re: LVI

                                                                                                                          Both wolfgangs use the same meat in the same ovens. The spinach and potatoes use the same recipe. How can one be so much better than the other?

                                                                                                                          1. re: princeofpork

                                                                                                                            Different staff, different meat aging lockers, different approach. It is not uncommon for restaurants of the same name to differ. Just look at those who say the Great Neck Luger's is inferior to the Brooklyn location. And lastly, try having a conversation at each bar. The decibel level at the Park Ave. location is off the charts loud.

                                                                                                                            1. re: LVI

                                                                                                                              Completely agree about the noise at Park. The one at Park also never seats you anywhere near your reservation time. However, I have had some fantastic steak there.

                                                                                                                            2. re: princeofpork

                                                                                                                              It's called technique, skill and consistancy. That's what make Lugar's the standard. And pardon me for being direct but who do you know it's the same meat?

                                                                                                                            3. re: LVI

                                                                                                                              I'll give you one reason why Brooklyn Lugers over Tribeca Wolfgang's. Because it's the original. That, for me, is reason enough. It's my little way of paying tribute to the guy who first came up with the idea.

                                                                                                                              1. re: nooyawka

                                                                                                                                lugar invented the steakhouse?

                                                                                                                                1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                  All of the Lugers signatures that all of its copycats copy.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: nooyawka

                                                                                                                                    original is nice, but doesn't necessarily equate to best

                                                                                                                                    1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                      Peter Luger is unequivocally the best steakhouse in the world IMO.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: steakrules85

                                                                                                                                        The beautiful thing about CH and other sites is that it enables us all to voice our opinions. And voice we do. However I would hesitate to call any place "unequivocally the best...in the world", even elBulli.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: steakrules85

                                                                                                                                          "Peter Luger is unequivocally the best steakhouse in the world IMO." - steakurles85

                                                                                                                                          I hope that was a hyperbole, either that or you haven't been to Japan or Argentina. PL is good. The steaks are marbled and tender. But I think there is such a thing as over-aging. I feel that the steaks at PL are aged a bit too long such that the beefy flavor is almost a bit bitter, if not spoiled. I feel that the more marbled the meat is, the more careful you need to be about dry aging. The butter finish at PL is also way too greasy for my taste. I actually found the cheesecake there much more memorable than the steak.

                                                                                                                                          In terms of service, I think the actual waiters are fine. Both times I was there, the waiters were friendly and had a sense humor. But the seating hostess (this short old lady) is beyond rude. The first time she gave us an attitude when seating us. The second time we arrived 20 min early and the restaurant was still getting ready. The bartender let us in - so we were going to order drinks at the bar to wait for our reservation. The lady came over to tell us that the restaurant was not open yet and basically threw us out. Was that really necessary? Pretty egregious IMO.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: mountsac

                                                                                                                                            yeah, the butter finish is icky...

                                                                                                                                            1. re: mountsac

                                                                                                                                              I had a really bad experience with that woman too - I had an 11:45 lunch reservation and was directed to her to be seated. She led me into a nearly empty dining room, and, with a grand flourish, exclaimed "Enjoy"! and showed me to the absolute worst seat (the corner next to the bathroom and the waiter station. It's so bad that it's actually detrimental to the waitstaff to have someone there - after someone finally accepted the seat, I noticed that the waiters were no longer able to stand there to survey the room b/c it was too close).

                                                                                                                                              I politely asked if I could move away from the bathroom and she shrugged, "sure". As I walked toward a table by the window, she barked "Stop! You can sit *there*" and pointed to the third table from the window. Later on, a couple (led in by a waiter, not by the woman) rejected their first table and asked for and were given the window table I'd been eyeing, so she clearly wasn't actually saving those tables for anyone in particular.

                                                                                                                                              I have never, ever had anything like that happen to me before - indifference, snottiness, sure. Full-on outright rudeness was a new and unpleasant experience. In retrospect (esp given the mediocrity of the burger), I wish I'd walked out at that point, but I was too stunned to think. At least my waiter was nice.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: nooyawka

                                                                                                                                      If I lived in Brooklyn I may agree. And if I always had a wad of cash I may agree. But for a steak that is marginally better (can be marginally worse sometime too) I find the drive too annoying and the cash only policy out dated. This is not a statement that Lugers is inferior, by any stretch. All I am saying is Wolfgangs is a contender and I would choose it 9 times out of 10 because of the reasons I listed above. .

                                                                                                                                      1. re: LVI

                                                                                                                                        I totally agree Wolfgang's and most of the other major NYC steakhouses are extremely competitive. Each one has its defenders and detractors, for different reasons. And NYers love to engage in this debate ad infinitum b/c it's fun. I totally understand your reasons. I'm just saying that, all other things being relatively equal, I would always prefer the original. Because the 1 time I ate at Park Ave Wolfgang's, I couldn't help but compare it to Luger's. So, I figure, instead of having a whole complex during dinner, why not just go to the original.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: kinggofg

                                                                                                                                    I've recently become a fan of Burger Joint. For one thing, I like that their burgers are a modest size and they don't try to overwhelm you. Whether it's worth $7-$7.50 for one, well, only the individual can judge. I find that a burger with "the works" as they call it, really does work. $7 is really pushing it for me, so I have them sparingly.

                                                                                                                                    I agree with you on all of the copycat Lugers. Whatever people might say about Lugers, positive or negative, at the very least, Lugers is an original.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: kinggofg

                                                                                                                                      Peter Luger's
                                                                                                                                      Minetta Tavern
                                                                                                                                      Blue Smoke
                                                                                                                                      Porterhouse tied with BLT Prime

                                                                                                                                      Minetta Tavern
                                                                                                                                      113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

                                                                                                                                      BLT Prime
                                                                                                                                      111 East 22nd Street, New York, NY 10010

                                                                                                                                      Blue Smoke
                                                                                                                                      116 East 27th Street, New York, NY 10016

                                                                                                                                      1. re: kinggofg

                                                                                                                                        Went to Aquavit last night.The food had no taste at all. My mom had a pork chop that was dry,Ihad the chicken which was dry - and the "spring onion" cream sauce had no taste. Neither did the chocolate pots de creme. We had a gift certificate. That's spent and so are we!!

                                                                                                                                      2. Spotted Pig
                                                                                                                                        Shake Shack
                                                                                                                                        every single BBQ restaurant (agree with the other poster - BBQ in this city is generally weak. Yes, I've been to Dinosaur and Hill Country, probably think it or Fette Sau is the best I've had, but neither that great. See what $5 can do for you in Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, etc. etc. etc. and compare it to these spots).
                                                                                                                                        Degustation - a phenomenon on Chowhound for some unknown reason.
                                                                                                                                        Peter Luger - one of the worst restaurant experiences I've had in any city. Atrocious.

                                                                                                                                        Babbo is so revered and talked-about on this board it kind of cannot help but be "overrated", but I would still say it's very, very good.

                                                                                                                                        YMMV and all that.

                                                                                                                                        27 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: jonasblank

                                                                                                                                          I've eaten a lot of BBQ in Memphis and $5 will get you nothing. Maybe I've been going to the wrong places?

                                                                                                                                          To be fair you can't compare food prices between the places you mentioned and NYC. Rent here is greater by at least a factor of 3.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: jonasblank

                                                                                                                                            Won't argue with you on price (which will apply to just about any kind of restaurant in NYC compared to the places you name), but you have to compare apples to apples, and saying a Texas-style bbq place isn't "that great" followed by references to a number of states that aren't Texas and have their own different styles of bbq may say as much about what type of bbq you prefer as it does about whether Hill Country is doing a good job of it. Not quibbling with your right not to think it's that great within it's own genre, but I guess I'm just pointing out that it's never going to be Memphis or Carolina bbq, but then it's not trying to be. A fairer comparison is how it stands up to Kreuz's, Black's and Smitty's--IMO, it does so very well (grading on a curve with allowances for this being NYC, of all places) or pretty well (no curve).

                                                                                                                                            Kinda with you on Luger's though. Didn't find it atrocious, but it's the first restaurant that springs to mind when I do a word association for "overrated".

                                                                                                                                            1. re: planetjess

                                                                                                                                              Sorry, the BBQ remark was (by definition) heavily overgeneralized. A better way to put it might have been, it is a regional cuisine which I don't find well represented here, regardless of which specific region is in question.

                                                                                                                                              I think BBQ annoys me more than some other things because of the excessive hyping of it on food blogs, etc.

                                                                                                                                              I've also never understood why the Mexican and Tex-Mex food here doesn't seem to be as good as it should be, but that's another topic....

                                                                                                                                              1. re: jonasblank

                                                                                                                                                "I've also never understood why the Mexican and Tex-Mex food here doesn't seem to be as good as it should be"
                                                                                                                                                why "should" it be better than it is here?

                                                                                                                                            2. re: jonasblank

                                                                                                                                              jonas, You are DEAD ON with your Pete Luger call. It was the worst restaurant experience I've had ANYWHERE. I'm talking overall experience.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Slob

                                                                                                                                                Thank you! Ugh! Luger's! They kept my party of 6 waiting over an hour past our reservation time. I would have left within 15 minutes but it was my brother-in-law's birthday and the restaurant was his choice.

                                                                                                                                                There was no room in their crowded bar area and we were constantly bumped around by the service staff as they walked past the maitre d's station. Were we offered anything other than a bland apology? Ha! Overrated is a compliment!

                                                                                                                                                You can have a far better dining experience at Dressler across the street. Their sirloin and short rib combo is lovely.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Mmmango

                                                                                                                                                  Luger's reputation for surly service is no secret. It's a major reason we've never bothered to go there.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: RGR

                                                                                                                                                    I've never experienced surly service at Luger's. Granted I only go at lunch but to me it's another urban legend.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                      brusque, perhaps, but not surly

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                        Urban legends generally have at least a kernel of truth to them. Even if it's brusque rather than surly, that still doesn't exactly fill me with a great desire to go to Luger's. I don't need to be slobbered over, but it doesn't take all that much for service to be pleasant. The other steakhouses I've been to do manage to provide that.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                          I agree, just an urban legend. I've been to Peter Luger many times and the service has never been surly.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: RGR

                                                                                                                                                          Luger's service is always top notch for me. "Surly" is such a myth it is ridiculous.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: steakrules85

                                                                                                                                                            agree 100% rules, if you know how to talk to the GM(Tommy) you will not have any issues with really long waits or bad service.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: baldwinwood

                                                                                                                                                              Patrons should not have to "know how to talk to the GM" in order to get good service.

                                                                                                                                                              Long waits are a whole other issue. If a restaurant takes reservations, then you should be seated promptly; if there is a no reservations policy, then you take your chances about how long the wait will be.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: RGR

                                                                                                                                                                I have never meet nor to the best of my knowledge have I spoken to Tommy and the service I receive is always competent. At a restaurant like Peter Luger there isn't too much interaction with the waiters.

                                                                                                                                                                There is one waiter with the black hair that is graying who is very friendly and all the others I consider very competent rather than brusque or surly. I'd rather have that than a waiter who introduces himself, gets down to my level acts like we are going to be friends after the meal.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                                  oooo, yeah, that "getting down on my level" gives me the cold toilet seat shivers. I could care less about "friendly." All I want is my food served. To me, personality in a food server is absolutely irrelevant. In fact it's a major turn off. If they can answer my question, get my order right and bring my food hot, I'm happy as a clam. Note to waiters: I tip MORE if you don't force the fake friendly routine upon me!

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: RGR

                                                                                                                                                                  Everyone on here knows how much I love Peter Luger. I have never had to wait more than 5 minutes to be seated and I have been there dozens of times. I have had several different waiters and they have all always been polite and accomodating. Will they be kissing your ass? No but they will provide you great service and will be very attentive. The best server there is Shabo!

                                                                                                                                                                  I always try to request him when I go, however last time I couldn't manage to get him. I forget the kind gentleman's name who served us last time, but he was an older gentleman with gray hair who was the nicesttttttt guy and was bending over backwards for our party of 8 (maybe Al??) and he was great!

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: steakrules85

                                                                                                                                                                I have always found the service at PL to enhance the meal. I never understood the "surly" myth either. Anyway that's what it is a myth.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: biga290

                                                                                                                                                                  Bingo. It just seems like people tend to believe everything they hear or read., Go there and experience it for yourself and then draw your own conclusions.

                                                                                                                                                                  Have there been people who have experienced bad service on occasion? I am sure they have but obviously the same can be said for any restaurant in existence. I thought Eleven Madison Park had the best service of any restaurant I have ever stepped foot in. But I am sure there are some people who have had bad experiences. The point is things like this happen sometimes for whatever reason.

                                                                                                                                                                  Nobody is perfect and there will be bad experiences along the way it is just impossible to think it will be flawless every time. However I would definitely maintain that bad service at Peter Luger is without a doubt the exception and not the rule.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: biga290

                                                                                                                                                                    To call it a "myth" is an insult to the people who have ACTUALLY experienced the rudeness/surliness first-hand. When the jackass waiter tosses the menus on the table and grunts out inaudible slop as he walks away, that qualifies as "surly", and it's not a "myth". When he flings the stupid little coins on the table at the end of the meal without so much as a "thank you" or any other words for that matter, that's not a myth. When he acts as if it's a total chore when you ask him a question that should easily answerable, then he's a douche.

                                                                                                                                                                    On top of the surly treatment, they like to keep people waiting for extended periods of time even when they have reservations. I guess they can get away with that garbage, though, because of the "myth" regarding the excellent food.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Slob

                                                                                                                                                                      As I said upthread, "urban legends" tend to have some basis in fact. Thank you, Slob, for proving that surly, dismissive service at Luger's in *not* a "myth."

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: RGR

                                                                                                                                                                        If one or two negative posts are enough to prove the point that the waiters at Luger's re surly, why aren't the larger number of positive posts equally convincing?

                                                                                                                                                                        I've read these threads for years. My guess is that either a few waiters, but not a majority, are in fact gruff ^or* some people go in looking for gruffness and manage to find it.

                                                                                                                                                                        The French have a similar reputation. I've been to Paris a dozen times and never found the French any ruder than New Yorkers but people swear that this is the case. I've learned to be suspicious of similar claims. People usually find what they're looking for.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                                                                                          All I look for is a good meal and competent, pleasant service and treatment. Any insinuation that I go out looking for a beef with waiters is a weak stab at propping up a sad dinosaur of a restaurant and deflecting from reality. One could just as easily claim that those so intent on shouting down Luger's critics are just lost in some cyclonic hype vacuum.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: RGR

                                                                                                                                                                  RGR, their putrid service is one of the main reasons we will never return to Luger's. I can forgive a dicey meal when the place treats me well and has a good reputation. I know there are some ups and downs with food prep. But when it comes to surly treatment from a bunch of ahole waiters there is no forgiving it.

                                                                                                                                                                  Ms. Munchie and I received the absolute worst treatment we've ever had at a restaurant when we went to Luger a few months ago. And the food certainly wasn't nearly good enough to overcome the rotten treatment.

                                                                                                                                                                3. re: Mmmango

                                                                                                                                                                  I just ate at Lugers this past Wednesday and can give my 2 cents.
                                                                                                                                                                  So crowded, no where to stand, 20 minute wait with reservation.
                                                                                                                                                                  Steak was good, but definitely not the best ever. Spinach not so good.
                                                                                                                                                                  Bacon was the best I have ever had, someone please tell me where to buy it!
                                                                                                                                                                  Potatoes very nice also.
                                                                                                                                                                  Am I dying to go again, no. Cash policy does suck. Prices are high and I would expect more. Desserts were very good. Service was good also.
                                                                                                                                                                  Was a nice experience overall, but I have had better in other states. Charlie Palmer in Las Vegas is one of my favorites!

                                                                                                                                                                4. re: Slob

                                                                                                                                                                  For all the complaints about Lugers' service, or cash only policy, or remote location, having been there several times none of those were issues for me. Service was , well, serviceable (sorry!), there was an ATM nearby, and I live in Brooklyn. But I just never found the steak (yes, the porterhouse signature steak) all that transporting. Good, yes. Worth the money? I didn't think so. Best I ever had? Definitely not. And no, I'm not a 'filet mignon' fan, and I do prefer aged steaks and know the difference. Definitely nominate as overrated, although that's a minority stance.

                                                                                                                                                                5. re: jonasblank

                                                                                                                                                                  I'm in Austin and $5 in most quality BBQ places (including Lockhart, Luling, Driftwood, Spicewood...) won't go far either.

                                                                                                                                                                6. id have to tiknk about my 5, but until then - i disagree about the hot dogs.

                                                                                                                                                                  there are a lot of different brands out there - the golden d brand, and whatever they sell inside central park, for example, are awful. the sabretts can be really good.

                                                                                                                                                                  shake shack would certainly be on my 5 - i can't stand those thin fast food style burgers,, and carnegie deli might, although i can imagine there would be 4 more overhyped places that would knock it off the top 5

                                                                                                                                                                  i love degustation.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. Three come to mind:

                                                                                                                                                                    1. Clinton Street Baking (pancakes were good . . .people wait in line for this? It's cult like . . .)
                                                                                                                                                                    2. Corton (sauces were the high point, bread and desserts left alot to be desired for the price point)
                                                                                                                                                                    3. Dovetail

                                                                                                                                                                    I hope I'm not disappointed by Aldea and Locanda Verde . . .breaking my rule of going to newbies again . . .

                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                                                                                                                                                      Oh, thank you. I was actually reading this board to see if anyone would post anything about Dovetail, which was the place that came immediately to mind for me. I was visiting last month for a weekend, and my disappointment over having wasted a precious meal in that place cast a pall over much of my food memories as a whole. Bitter, yes. I know that's my own fault, but my goodness-- it was like a roller coaster, where the amuse was the highest point, and it may have gone up and down after that, but there was no denying that we were on the descent after that first tease of what we had hoped would be a (pleasantly) memorable meal to come.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. Where is Tavern on the Green in this discussion? Or is it too obvious to mention?
                                                                                                                                                                      Others I would pick include GROM and (don't shoot me) Momofuku Ssaam. I may have gotten the wrong things at Ssaam but it was far from blowing me away. I recognize that it's naturally on a different level from Ko but still...

                                                                                                                                                                      18 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: orthorunner

                                                                                                                                                                        i've been M.Saam twice and both meals were entirely forgettable...didn't dislike it, but the hype baffles me...

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Simon

                                                                                                                                                                          I agree Momofuku and Momofuku Ssam are both not worth repeat visits. There are better Asian and Asian-inspired places in town. For traditional Asian noodles, try Soba-Ya - very good, but traditional, so you have to be into the food, and not the hype. For more hyped up scene (yet elegant) and good casual food, but expensive, there is of course Bar Masa.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: SamanthaNYC

                                                                                                                                                                            momofuku ssam is not asian, and while it has some asian flavor profiles i wouldn't really call it asian-inspired. If you go in expecting "asian" you will be disappointed. If you go in expecting a global fusion high end casual comfort food place, you will be more at home.

                                                                                                                                                                            also, the last time i was at soba-ya, a place i really love, the broth was kind of flat. i'm hoping it was just an off night.....

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: SamanthaNYC

                                                                                                                                                                              Completely agree. At Momofuku, the food was barely mediocre and the service was of the "too cool" vibe. Left the restaurant feeling like just another victim of the PR machine.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: orthorunner

                                                                                                                                                                            I've been to Ssam twice in the last week (various guests in town etc.) as well as a number of other times, and I've always enjoyed everything I've eaten there. I don't know about "blowing me away" but for pure porky deliciousness, it hits the spot for me every time. And just love the new BBQ sandwich. I will add that I've never really waited more than five minutes, if that, for a table, as we usually go for an early dinner or late lunch. I think because of that, generally, I'm able to ignore the so-called hype of places and just enjoy the chow. Same goes for Shake Shack and Spotted Pig. I just can't imagine waiting 45 - 2 hrs for food anywhere, and if I did so, it would surely affect my perceptions of the food and increase my expectations.

                                                                                                                                                                            Edit - I just realized, as an aside, that I will wait an hour for a pie at Di Fara. But that is the only place I'll do so.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                                                              MMRuth, That's a great point you make about a long affecting perceptions of the food. We went to Clinton Street Baking three times and really enjoyed it. Those 3 times we had virtually no wait. The 4th time we went was on a cold March morning, and we waited outside for a seat for over an hour standing in the cold.

                                                                                                                                                                              Not surprisingly, that 4th experience kind of stunk. We haven't been back since because we didn't feel it was a meal worthy of standing around and waiting for such a protracted time, especially given that people just seemed to linger in there forever after they finished their meals making the wait even more excruciating.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                                                                I am not from the area but when I and the hubbie go on one of our NYC urban hikes (like this weekend), we stop by and get the pork belly steamed buns. The first night after coming home, I literally dreamed about the buns - SO GOOD!!! Drool on my pillow. And, please, if there are other foodstuffs akin to these steamed buns out there in NYC that is as good or better, I would love to know for our next hike!

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: orthorunner

                                                                                                                                                                                Maybe it's just me, but I pretty much never see anyone arguing that Tavern on the Green is any good, so that's why I wouldn't put it on my list--it seems generally identified as an egregious tourist trap.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: planetjess

                                                                                                                                                                                  TotG is a horrific mess. Not only does the food royally suck, but the prices are outrageous. The reason you don't see anyone arguing over it is b/c people stopped debating the place atleast 10-15 years ago.


                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LeahBaila

                                                                                                                                                                                    Yet it is still the highest grossing restaurant in the nation....

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                                                      That is not true. The top grossing restaurant in the USA in 2008 was TAO in Las Vegas.
                                                                                                                                                                                      Del Friscos is the top in NYC

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: princeofpork

                                                                                                                                                                                        Correction, the top 5 for 2008 are as follows;
                                                                                                                                                                                        Tao - Las Vegas, 66 mil
                                                                                                                                                                                        Tavern on the Green, 37 mil
                                                                                                                                                                                        Joes Stone Crab - Miami, 30 mil
                                                                                                                                                                                        Smith and Wollensky - NYC, 28 mil
                                                                                                                                                                                        Tao - NYC, 26 mil

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: princeofpork

                                                                                                                                                                                          I stand corrected. Second highest grossing restaurant in the nation.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: LeahBaila

                                                                                                                                                                                      Just took it off my list of places to go. However, I would like to LOOK at it all lit up and maybe go for a drink or dessert in the evening; is that reasonable? Or should we literally, just look! A friend wants me to buy her a bracelet there; would I be able to without eating there?

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: itryalot

                                                                                                                                                                                        Sure, have a looksie and a non-alcoholic beverage (b/c those, too, are overpriced and crappy). You can def go w/o eating.


                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: orthorunner

                                                                                                                                                                                    Tavern on The Green is not highly rated (though it may still be overrated)

                                                                                                                                                                                    No one but tourists goes there and maybe the clueless recent transplant

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: msny98

                                                                                                                                                                                      TOTG also does lots of corporate functions (been to two of them) and a huge number of weddings, bar-mitzvahs, sweet sixteens, weddings, and other social receptions.

                                                                                                                                                                                      They're actually more a catering hall than a restaurant - which partly accounts for the totally mediocre (at best) food, and probably for the lion's share of the grosses.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: orthorunner

                                                                                                                                                                                      I think the only reason it hasn't been mentioned is I don't think anyone "rates" it highly anymore... but I agree that it is certainly one of the worst very-crowded, very-profitable restaurants I've been to (though I hear now they are having problems).

                                                                                                                                                                                      I admittedly am on the Ssam bar love train, but to each their own.

                                                                                                                                                                                    3. Have to disagree with you about the Carnegie Deli...
                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm very particular about my deli food, and I have never been disappointed by food at the Carnegie. Pricey, maybe, although I've always had plenty left over for another meal (and sometimes more). No complaints whatsoever about the food quality though. Their corned beef and pastrami (made at their wholly owned plant in NJ) is certainly as good as or better than anything out there.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Park Avenue Winte: Forgettable food. Lack of service. Lack of communication between servers/hosts/kicthen.

                                                                                                                                                                                        BLT Steak: Just so many better places in NYC for steak

                                                                                                                                                                                        Primehouse: Even worse than BLT

                                                                                                                                                                                        OTTO: Food was 'eh. Price wasn't worth the try.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Del Posto: small servings, extreme prices.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. ok, i'll add mine:

                                                                                                                                                                                          Babbo, Lupa, Esca, Otto, Spotted Pig...notice a theme?...*smiles*

                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Simon

                                                                                                                                                                                            Cannot agree with you on spotted pig. Top 3 burger in NYC. I've also had outstanding entrees, roasted monkfish and bone marrow stands out as does the gnudi. Sure, it's hellishly small and the wait can be dreadful but go when it's quiet and it's a fantastic food venue. IMO of course...

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Simon

                                                                                                                                                                                              I strongly disagree about Lupa. We just had dinner there again the other night, and the 2 of us had 2 courses and a bottle of wine for about $125 including tip. The food is absolutely delicious every time, the wine list is fabulous, even the cheapest bottles are excellent. I don't know of anywhere else that can compare.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. DEFINITELY BABBO! It was good but far from expectations...Joe's Shanghai. I gave it 2 chances. Now I don't think you could PAY me to eat there. Burger joint - just not worth the wait for those miserable fries, that measly burger OR that price tag. Jean Gorges...Like babbo i thought it was good but definitely not great and i'm not rushing to go back. and Cookshop...one of the least enjoyable brunch meals for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Definitely Del Posto and Burger Joint. Del Posto should be totally ashamed of their portion sizes for the prices they charge. And Burger Joint gets so much hype but their burger is nothing special at all. Just a regular burger on a crappy bun. I made a better burger in my backyard last night for dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  As for Babbo I loved it and I don't know why so many people have decided to hate it on this thread. Same goes for EMP= Probably one of the best meals of my entire life!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: steakrules85

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Some of the seating is very uncomfortable; they push certain dishes (I realize that most places do this) even when the table indicates that it is not interested (not everyone finds offal enticing) and more than once, a wine on the list chosen was reported not to be available (though a more expensive substitute was readily proffered.) Does this make it over-rated? I'm not playing that game, since most people here are just reacting to their several (or singular) encounters...let's just say that I understand their game, but now that I have experienced it, I prefer to go elsewhere. (Oh, and Sicilian Life Guard Calamari tasted more to me like Life Boy Soap.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: penthouse pup

                                                                                                                                                                                                      You know what they say to each his own.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I partly agree and partly disagree with #5 NYC dirty water dogs. I used to love them. They had to be from a street vendor, and they used to be Sabrett's. I found them to be tasty and to have snappy skin. Combined with ketchup and the sweet onions...mmm...that used to be one of the most satisfying fast-food meals for me. Then over the years, I sensed a change. The hot dogs were no longer so good. I can't explain why, but I've definitely discerned a decline over the last 10 years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. 1) Babbo, hands down. I think it's flat-out awful from soup to nuts. It's become the new Il Mulino (B&T like it because they're supposed to).
                                                                                                                                                                                                      2) Luger - Lame. Craftsteak, Wolfgangs are both better.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      3) Jean-Georges - Change the menu already.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      4) Daniel - Boring.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      5) Le Bernandin - Fish on a plate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: CocHoliday

                                                                                                                                                                                                        daniel, jean-georges, peter luger, le bernardin, and babbo. wow. these were the top 5 restaurants in nyc for the past 10-15 years minus per se. mind telling us what restaurants you DO like?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: halo

                                                                                                                                                                                                          i haven't tried the other three but jean-gorges and babbo were both disappointing for me. it must be all the hype build up in my head and the food just couldn't live up to it

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: kelea

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I agree: Babbo and Jean Georges were big disappointments.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Sweets: Magnolia - the lines are shorter these days so I think it's catching on that there are better spots for cupcakes now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        DIMSUM: Dim Sum Go Go - true, the food is hot, and the food is "good" but not at the level of praise that this place gets.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        "Brasseries": Pastis/Balthazar - certain dishes are good, but the ambiance is greater than the food

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Steak: Del Frisco's - never again, just too many choices

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Japanese: Haven't really had bad experiences at the top japanese restaurants, but if there was one to put on the list it would be the Yama chain even though it's not really considered a top spot

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: quon

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I agree with Babbo's. I could not wait to try his dishes; however I was quickly disappointed. The only thing truly savory to my palate were the desserts. Too bad the pastries are made by a different chef!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Although, I disagree with the Carnegie Deli being listed...the pastrami has always been top notch since my first visit as a child. I always loved the green tomatos, which have remained the same in taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Korhogo126
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Tribeca Grill
                                                                                                                                                                                                            One if by Land, Two if by Sea
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Aquavit Dining Room
                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Modern - Bar Room

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. It's funny..NO ONE on this topic has mentioned the 2 most overrated restaurants in NYC..both of which give you NO BANG for the buck.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1- Momofuku KO- For $100, tiny portions, no atmosphere, stuck up chefs.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                2-Morimoto Sushi Bar- Beautiful restaurant, mediocre (at best) sushi, friendly service, totally overpriced.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sockster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  THANK YOU! Yes, the entire Momofuku empire actually has never ceased to disappoint. I always leave wondering how my tastebuds are that different from, oh, everyone else's in the entire city. And right on with Morimoto too. Food was a major snooze.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The OP definitely has it right on Clinton Street. Even I can make better biscuits than that, and I am about as inept in the kitchen as they come.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Porchetta, Little Owl (how can you ruin gnocci??? ask them!), Una Pizza... absolutely agree with you, Slob and Sam!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I love Babbo and Shake Shack though. Call me crazy. I will wait in that line for 45 minutes, no problem.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: _emilie_

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    see - that's
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    why tastes are different. i find shake shake totally dull, and love momofuku ssam

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: _emilie_

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Love Babbo too. For real porchetta, there's this little nothing of a store front in Rome...father and son...third generation, right near the train station....it doesn't get much better than that..... And one more word on KO, on egullet, there about 300 pages of KO lovers. When I posted my negative review...I got SO lambasted, it was amazing....what a waste of a meal...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. it is rare for me to write such negative reviews but here goes a first....I just got back home from a meal at LOCANDA VERDE.....I had been looking forward to it since it opened . Tonight I brought two of my friends and father there (he is a restaurant owner). The service was fine but most of the pasta dishes were very bland- I was actually embarrassed when he tasted his spaghetti al pomodoro ....there are SO many great Italian restaurants in the city and the decrease of Ago prices simply will not cut it. At nearly 20$ a plate, NYers rightly expect the best pasta this city has to offer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. can't believe people would even discuss katz's as a viable option. let the dead bury the dead.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1) Luger's - erratic and obnoxious. plus, the meat is too old-school for me. i like to know a little more about my red meat before i eat a whole platter of it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2) Motorino - Boy, was that one lame pizza. Doughy, puffy. Naan with good tomato sauce and cheese. For real. I want to be reimbursed for the year it took me to get to East Jesus Nowhere to try it. Nice people, but very over-confident. The good new-generation pizzas are actually, I find, the least hyped ones.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3) Momofukuniverse - I love the ingredients and i like the preps but David Chang is not the new Food Christ; I think he is fully aware of this and laughing at you right now. Fried chicken suppers? Fun, but come on, lets keep it real.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      4) Blue Hill - I can also go to the greenmarket and pull a great dinner together. It's lovely. How much genius is there at work here?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      5) All NYC BBQ - I've no idea why anyone expects NYC to suddenly be a great BBQ town after years of having nothing to speak of. Enjoy it for what it is, and when it's great, be glad. but why waste a lot of your money in this category...save it for when you're in Texas (my favorite regional style, and no, Hill Country doesn't work for me). Besides the pulled pork at dinosaur, truly the best thing I've had at an Manhattan BBQ resto (and I've been to most you could name) were the chili cheese fries at Virgil's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: biryaniboy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1) Spotted Pig -- have been three times and each time there was a tragic flaw in the food; twice too salty to eat; 1 overcooked protein; every time bad attitude
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2) Five Points brunch -- really?!?! it's just baked eggs with a lot of butter, people
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3) Union Sq Cafe -- not creative, not interesting spices or ingredients, not great ambiance or presentation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        4) Nobu
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        5) Felidia
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        6) Waverly Inn (for those who make the mistake of thinking this place exists to serve food)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: organicgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Whoa, I love Felidia. But I agree that Spotted Pig was too salty. Also, loud and uncomfortable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: fm1963

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I agree. Felidia was fantastic 10 years ago. Has consistently gone downhill since.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: stefathena

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I loved Felidia 10 years ago. They had the most amazing tasting menus. They were called Tastes of Italy and would focus on individual regions. I went during "Emilia Romagna" and had the most sumptuous, sensuous Italian meal, not to be rivaled by any other for nearly 8 years (a special tasting menu at Fiamma courtesy of the chef).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Felidia is a shadow of its former self. The plating is amateur, the technique lacking and there is no creative spark.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Del Friscos. Overrated to a Fault. Can't understand the place in the least. Someone in this thread said that it wouldn't even exist if it weren't for the business expense lunch. I agree wholeheartedly. Really crappy service, whatever steak, sides were as abysmal as expected. Hate this chain. Really HATE this place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I have to disagree with the Dirty Water dogs being overrated. I can't tell you how many times I have eaten them and they never get old to me...gross-maybe, but delicious nontheless :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I think almost every restaurant that serves pork belly is overrated - I'm sure there are exceptions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I love reading this because it reminds me what I'm not missing! I've been to a few of these fancy places - Allen & Delancey, Avoce, Ippudo etc - good food but not at all memorable. I remember places like Mara's where Mara gave me great suggestions like special pecan bourban she had just gotten in, Ivo & Lulu where the friendly frenchmen cork my wine and pour me a glass while I wait for a table, and Blue Ribbon Bakery where the waiter insisted on buying me the chocolate chip bread pudding dessert because I just had to try it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Also, someone mentioned Lombardi's - have to agree. If you're going to wait I think John's is much better - but I know pizza is a very, very personal taste :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh and I went to Grape & Grain for brunch and it was terrible but everyone raves about it so maybe they had an off day - don't we all?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Jacquelyn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think pork belly itself is overrated. this is stuff that NYers wouldn't touch a few years ago, now it's "omg so luscious and rich!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: janethepain

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "this is stuff that NYers wouldn't touch a few years ago"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Speak for yourself. This NYer has been eating pork belly his whole life.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Not a born and raised NYer...but I've loved pork belly ALL my life as well :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kelea

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "Not a born and raised NYer"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Not many of us are, lol!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ok, ok, maybe i meant the average NYer... I've been eating pork belly all my life too - I'm Korean. SAM GYUP SSAL BABY

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: janethepain

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    But certainly isn't "overrated". People may be late to the game but there is no denying the deliciousness of pork belly. Anyway whether most people knew or not they were eating pork belly in the form of bacon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: janethepain

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  there was a time, a zillion years ago, when this new yorker wouldn't eat sushi either. so what? i was wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: janethepain

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Robert Sietsema talked about this craze. He pointed out that pork belly is difficult to do right and inferior to pork shoulder. I agree on both counts. But I still really like pork belly. You would understand if you had eaten some in Shanghai.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                4. I hate to say it but I think Gramercy Tavern in a tad overrated. Momofuku Ssam as welll!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. NYC hot dogs are Gray's Papaya, not the junk from the street carts!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chroma

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Momofuku Milk Bar -- for me, this is the only truly bad Momofuku. Yes, the hype may make them all seem overrated but, come on everybody, the other Momofukus are decent enough.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Perbacco -- everybody says it's about ordering the right stuff, but Perbacco is not that good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Also, Fatty Crab is utterly over-rated. The UWS one especially is such a theme park and the cooking is sloppy / the food overly fattified. (And I typically appreciate lardo, etc.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Have to defend Blue Hill, though. Most of the food I've eaten there has been amazing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Clearly, some of these things are just a matter of taste -- those who aren't impressed by Blue Hill probably prefer more invention -- but the actually "overrated" places should be doing flat-out disappointing food for the money.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Blue Hill
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      75 Washington Place, New York, NY 10011

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      234 East 4th Street, New York, NY 10009

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Momofuku Milk Bar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      251 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: johannabanana

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think many who would list Momofuku's iterations would not do so because it is "bad" but instead simply because it is overrated-being vaunted as highly as it is, this is much easier to do than for a less visible restaurant. I am one of those who posted it and I felt it was good, but not anything craveable. Perhaps I had the wrong dishes, but anything raved about as much as it should have had at least one completely on target dish, IMHO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        To Jacquelyn, re Grape and Grain, perhaps the brunch isn't as good as dinner? I have only had dinner and thoroughly enjoyed it but could see how the concept wouldn't work as well for brunch. It gains something from being somewhat of an oasis in the middle of the outreaches of alphabet city-can imagine this is not quite as appealing for a brunch as in the evening with a bottle of wine and great music playing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: orthorunner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Momofuku has decent to good food, but the culinary payoff is nowhere near meriting the waiting times, enduring the crowds, the higher prices and overly effusive praise - which is why many including myself consider it to be quite over-rated.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: OC Mutt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            i've never had more than a 15 minute wait at Ssam.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You're right, the wait times at Noodle Bar and Ssam are exaggerated by many people.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, I went for lunch on Saturday around one, and there were lots of empty tables. And I do love the food there, and the wine selection.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I think Union Square Cafe is one of the most overrated places in the city. I have been there several times and never a good experience. I even work in the same company. I dont think I will be returning for a while, if ever! I can spend the same at many other places that I now I will love>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Is it not true that traditional NY cheese cake does not have graham cracker crust?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Junior's is uber-traditional in that respect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Graham cracker crust may be an innovation you like, but it should not mar a rating of a real true traditional NY cheesecake.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Most overrated waste of time and money. Benehana's.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Great places would be Benny's Burritos on 6th Street and A or &A on the corner of 7th and A. Once a week, Benny's has this shrimp pesto burrito to die for, and &A has the best and cheapest breakfasts available.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I never eat hot dogs from a stand. You need to go to Grey's Papaya on 8th Street in the West Village.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Top overrated restaurants:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            - Momofuku and sister restaurants
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            - Daniel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            - Yasuda
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            - Del Posto
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            - Mesa Grill and Bobby Flay restaurants
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            - Babbo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Del Posto
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Mesa Grill
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            102 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            23 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: KTinNY

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Just curious KT, but what do you find overrated about Daniel? Wondering because I've only been once, but my wife and I had a fantastic meal there. Granted, we did NOT do the tasting menu (not sure which menu you chose), so perhaps that plays a role?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Babbo has been excellent the times I have been, but I can certainly see how many consider it overrated. It is ripe with hype, and when taken in conjunction with the hassles that some customers get when it comes to reservations/greeting, I get it (though I don't necessarily agree).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Never been to Yasuda, Del Posto, or Mesa (been to the one in Vegas which was ... well, fine), and I generally like the Momofukus but will not put up with long waits to go ... though that being said, I think the continual complaints about the reservation system are overdone -- it's really not that difficult either to operate or to secure one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: a213b

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I've always done the tasting menu at Daniel; except for once, all times were on expense account. Nothing particularly bad about the food, but the preparation and menu are uninspired.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The Momofukus are simply bad food, strangely adored by the foodie-wannabes, simply hilarious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: KTinNY

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It's reasonable to call Momofuku (which one specifically?) overrated given the enormous hype that follows David Chang, but they do not serve "simply bad food." Also, Ko is completely different from Ssäm Bar and Noodle Bar, so grouping them all together doesn't make a lot of sense.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: hcbk0702

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I am totally with KTinNY on Momofuku. And yes, I do think grouping them all together does make sense as they all seem to share the same ethos and make the same mistakes. More does not equal better. Weird does not equal inventive. As for their dishes that are neither of those -- they're better on 32nd street, in Chinatown or at tons of other restaurants nearby.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Also agree with the Bobby Flay and Yasuda comments too. Yasuda isn't bad, just not the best in town. Bobby is just plain embarrassing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: _emilie_

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      If you're seriously comparing Momofuku Ko to the terrible restaurants in K-Town (only Madangsui and Don's Bogam are pretty decent IMO) or the mostly middling Cantonese fare in Manhattan Chinatown, I don't know what to tell you. Besides, Momofuku dishes are not remotely authentic Korean or Chinese by any stretch of the imagination. If you're looking for authentic Asian cuisine, then stay away.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      35 W 35th St, New York, NY 10001

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Don's Bogam
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      17 E 32nd St, New York, NY 10016

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Momofuku Ko
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      163 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: hcbk0702

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Manhattan's Madangsui can't hold a candle to the NJ location, but both Madangsui's have gone downhill in recent years unless you're into MSG-infused BBQ. If you're headed out to NJ, Zen Zen BBQ is still good for now for beef BBQ. Don Bogam in the city is good if you're in the mood for pork.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm afraid I can't recommend any of the Cantonese restaurants in Manhattan; all are fairly mediocre IMO; but what can you do?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Momofuku serves extraordinarily salty but average-tasting food that is neither here nor there, much like the thankfully closed Vongs. mKo's food would be an embarrassment to even the most modest of ryokan kaisekis; then again the kaiseki restaurants in Manhattan (Sugiyama, Kyoya, and Kai) were all pretty disappointing. mKo's silly reservation process makes you want to like the food, but I can recall the wistful hope as we progressed from one disappointing plate to the next. The worst of the group has got to be Milk. The ice creams are too salty (LOL...like the restaurants), and strangely I didn't feel a bit sad as I chucked out the cookies because they were simply bad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: KTinNY

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          KT, I can totally understand your frustration; coming from LA we have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to many different regional Asian cuisines.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I will say that I feel like Daniel is up and down, based on the reviews here ... we had a stellar (though certainly non-inventive) meal there, but it seems like more than a few others have had "good" but not great ones.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Out of curiosity, what are some of your favorite places in NYC? I'm always looking for more to add to the list, and you strike me as someone who lets neither hype nor review interfere/weigh upon your thoughts.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: a213b

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LA is amazing for Asian food; for Asian in NY, I prefer Taste Good in Elmhurst for Malaysian, Mapo Kalbi or HahmJiBahk in Flushing for Korean, Sushi of Gari/Masa/Tomoe/15 East for sushi.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Daniel...; I shudder when anyone suggests Daniel. For Western, I prefer Bouley, Gramercy Tavern, Milos.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Wher do you like, a213b?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: KTinNY

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I quite enjoyed Gramercy Tavern, though we did dine on the Tavern side. Also am (along with RGR) a huge fan of EMP. Per Se is superlative, of course, and while we have yet to go to Bouley it is on our "must hit" list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              We both liked SHO, think Minetta and Balthazar are outrageously overrated, and while everyone else seems to love it, we LOATHED Deugstation -- really liked the idea behind it, but it was the only time I can ever recall having a tasting menu where halfway through the meal I just desperately wanted it to end. Maybe we just hit it on a REALLY off night?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm sure there's a slew of places I'm forgetting; do you have any other recs?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: a213b

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm sure I put Degustation on my list of overrated on this thread, but I wholeheartedly agree (and on this board, am a freak for not liking it). I'm just baffled at all the praise it gets.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: a213b

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Like you, I'm also a big fan of EMP and Per Se. Even though Bouley doesn't get much love (or like) from this board, it's one of my long time favorite restaurants. I've just made a reservation to return to Bouley.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: _emilie_

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          with the exception of the eponymous ssam, the dishes at momofuku ssam bar are small plates for the most part, so your comment that more does not equal better makes close to zero sense to me

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I get that criticism of the momo empire makes zero sense to anyone on chowhound. You guys all drank the kool-aid, and I should realize that its pointless to argue on the internet. Heaven forbid someone dislike momo -- I'm a glutton for punishment I suppose.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            As for my comment, I don't mean "more" in terms of size, I mean more in terms of salt (to KTinNYs point above - and I love salt), in terms of overuse of hoisin and other sweet flavors (completely masks the flavors of the food), and in terms of throwing ideas/flavors together on a plate with no sense of balance or restraint just because it will look *badass* to all the foodies ("Oooo look I threw rice crispies on my pork! Aren't I a culinary genius!").

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The desserts at milkbar are over the top, cloyingly sweet to the point of being inedible, except when they are so instead due to oversalting (agree about the ice cream). Dumping the entire contents of a pantry in a dish and calling it a pie is exactly what I mean by more not being better. I'm sure you love its childish whimsy, and I'll admit it sounds fun. But I just want it to taste good. It doesn't. Rosemary ice cream - wow, that sounds really interesting. Does it taste good? No. It tastes like salt ice cream. Verbena ice cream - cool! How is it? Yuck - in the garbage.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Over at noodle bar, they ruin delicious, perfectly cooked sweetbreads with an overpowering glaze of hoisin. Same with the rice cakes -- so crispy-perfect in texture on the outside, but drowning in a bath of red sweetness and desperately in need of some acid note or spice for complexity. The tongue burns out after just a couple of bites. These are things I love to eat, and yet could not finish (and I'm a clean plate kind of gal). As for the noodles and pork buns, they are fine, but nothing revelatory. Other things like apple kimchee at ssam sound wonderful, but have no flavor whatsoever. I'll admit, the techniques are there, the creativity may even be there, but the palate just isn't. Makes me wonder if you guys are just reading the menu and not actually eating the food?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I get that momo is not trying to be authentic -- I never said that it was. What I am saying is that you can get anything you get there (pork, inventive small plates, fake-homemade desserts, korean and chinese inflected dishes, pork buns, noodles), elsewhere, done better, and without the surrounding bs. Believe me, I wanted to like them, and gave them second chances (because HOW could THAT MANY people be wrong?), but the momos are just so disappointing every time. And if I'm comparing the momos to restaurants that are mediocre and unremarkable (Ktown and Chinatown - and yes, I agree), its because the momos are likewise mediocre and unremarkable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: _emilie_

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I am also in the camp that Momofuku is overrated. I agree with you on many points. Tried it twice and got to experience it but overall I felt underwhelmed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: _emilie_

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                i have no problem with anyone liking or not liking anyplace. I have no problem with negative criticism of places, even places i happen to like. Now that you explain what you meant by more i have no issue with what you said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                i have not eaten at ko. i am not crazy about milkbar. i only tried noodlebar once, the ramen was pretty good, but not outstanding, but id like to explore the menu further. Ssam on the other hand is one of my favorite places. I enjoy their approach to food. not because CH says so. Not because it is hip to like them. because the food pleases me - or i wouldn't return. would i put them in my top 5 meals ever? no. but ive gone there more than the place i would put in the top 5. because i enjoy it. that's all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: _emilie_

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "throwing ideas/flavors together on a plate with no sense of balance or restraint just because it will look *badass* to all the foodies ("Oooo look I threw rice crispies on my pork! Aren't I a culinary genius!")."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm sure that's *exactly* what David Chang and his cooks think when they come up with dishes. /sarcasm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Stop your inane projecting. If anything, Chang has a well-publicized and rather vitriolic distaste for self-professed "foodies", perhaps to the detriment of the service at his restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "Makes me wonder if you guys are just reading the menu and not actually eating the food?...because HOW could THAT MANY people be wrong?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm sure that's *exactly* the case as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: hcbk0702

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Really? He hates foodies, that's why he participates in all sorts of foodie-focused industry PR events and is in every other episode of No Reservations? If you don't see how that show -- or these restaurants -- are built for foodies, you aren't being very honest. I'm sure he sees it. He does very well as a result.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The only people I've heard him come out against are picky eaters, vegetarians, and people who complain about the Ko resy system. He may hate the *word* foodie, like, oh EVERYONE, but the people -- he knows those are his bread and butter. Case in point: his recent addition of fried chicken -- a foodie phenomenon long before he tried his hand at it. Which hot foodie trend will he conquer next?! And the crowd goes wild!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: _emilie_

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Using that much hoisin should be illegal in a restaurant kitchen outside of a Peking duckhouse.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: _emilie_

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      What a fantastic, intelligent reply emilie. As far as what foodie trend he will conquer next, I would bet on a $25 pig liver (foie gras) topped burger with hoisin sauce or asian mac and cheese made with pig milk curds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: princeofpork

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm embarrassed to admit I'm really intrigued by pig milk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: _emilie_

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ahhh...It is so refreshing to find these posts. I am returning to NYC for my 2nd trip. We tried ssam bar last time we were in town and it was like the emperor had no clothes! We found it average, decent food, maybe a bit pricey for what it was, and like the chef needed to have one less (at least) ingredient on each dish. And yet, people would look at me like I was crazy when I didn't rave about the place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Now that we're returning, I keep doubting myself, wondering if we just were there on a bad night or what, should we try again, but given that you all seem to have the exact same issues, I feel confident in my decision to not try again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: KTinNY

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Agree with you 100% about Daniel. The service is the most "snooty" I've ever experienced. I thought the food was not memorable either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. DBGB
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Momofuku Milk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Momofuku Milk Bar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              251 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: theAVE

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                'virgils is bad
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sylvias is horrible
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Milk is worst

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: theAVE

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Haven't tried Babbo, have you ever eaten at Batali's 'Luppa'? This has a lot less hype and is pretty awesome. Spaghetti carbonara and swiss chard tortellini are two of my favorite meals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. I like your #5. Where I come from (Olympia WA), there is no where to get a hot dog unless you cook it at home or get it at a ball game for 10x the price and even then, no onion sauce -- which IMHO makes the dog -- to me what makes a NYC dog the best! I saw a Nathan's in Vegas and they had chopped onions.. big deal. I think there is a dog place on the waterfront in Seattle but that would not be my one meal while up there so never tried it.. I'm sure it is just a dog place - not a GREAT dog place. Oh wait, my mistake.. you can buy a dog outside the big box hardware stores -- I think those are actually polish sausage. Anyway, so that is why I think NYC Hot Dogs are so great, because they aren't great anywhere else.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. 1. Jean Georges
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Tried it twice. Once doing a regular prix fixe, the second time doing "dueling tasting menus" (one of us had the seasonal one, the other the chef's) - both times completely underwhelmed. Desserts were better, but I don't think Iuzzini is the best on the city like a lot of people do. Top ten, maybe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Daniel & DBGB
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A tie for his flagship and supposedly "cheap" downtown joint. The main restaurant I find stuffy and the food kind of uninteresting. DBGB I find overpriced and while there's a great selection of sausages, I didn't find any of them terribly earth-shattering. Eating in the main restaurant part is better, but the bar menu kind of blows. That said, his middle-range places - Cafe Boulud, Bistro Moderne - I love. I'd eat at CB before Daniel any day, price irrelevant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. Clinton St. Baking Co.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Specifically brunch - it's fine, but it's not worth waiting an hour+ in line for. Dinner there is very nice, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4. Porchetta
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've attempted Porchetta twice as well. Both times I felt like I was eating a grease sandwich lightly flavored with fennel. They were undersalted and the fat-to-meat ratio was way off, and don't get me wrong - I love my pork fat. I don't see what the big deal is. Get a good Cubano (I'll go with Cibao) for half the price, you'll get a much better pork sandwich.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    5. TIE: Lobster Rolls at Mary's Fish Camp and/or Pearl Oyster Bar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Rip-off. The cost is twice as much as it should be. The onslaught of $14 lobster rolls that are just as good should make anyone think twice before ordering one for nearly $30. And they're both overdressed, IMHO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Honorable Mention: The "Black Label Burger" at Minetta Tavern.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Delicious? Yes. Worth it? I've posted the math before so I won't do it again here, but here's the link:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Cafe Boulud
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    20 East 76th St., New York, NY 10021

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Pearl Oyster Bar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    18 Cornelia St, New York, NY 10014

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Jean Georges
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Minetta Tavern
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Mary's Fish Camp
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    64 Charles St, New York, NY 10014

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    110 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sgordon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. UNDERRATED
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Maialino, Travertine, Aldea, Apiary, Colicchio and Sons

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. SIMPLY NOT OVERRATED AT ALL
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Jean Georges, Daniel, DBGB, Le Bernadin, Bouley, Sparks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. SOMEWHAT OVERRATED AND/OR PAST PRIME
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Post House, Peter Luger's, Market Table, Del Posto, La Esquina, Mas Farmhouse, Felidia, Annisa, Veritas, L'Atelier

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      4. DEFINITELY OVERRATED
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Dell'Anima, Faustina, Maze, Clinton Street Baking, Japonais, WD50, Magnolia Bakery, Junior's, Fishtail, Cru

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Jean Georges
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Magnolia Bakery
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      401 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Del Posto
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      243 E 58th St, New York, NY 10022

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      43 East 20th St., New York, NY 10003

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      La Esquina
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      106 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Market Table
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      54 Carmine Street, New York, NY 10014

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      13 Barrow Street, New York, NY 10014

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      111 East 18th Street, New York, NY 10003

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      38 8th Avenue, New York, NY 10003

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Post House
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      28 E 63rd St, New York, NY 10021

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      31 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: pdquinn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        i cannot agree about wd50. i was happily wowed. food with style, flavor and a quirky sense of humor

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pdquinn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Have you been to Annnisa since the reopening? If so I can't imagine how you could call it overrated or past prime. And Veritas? Are you joking? The food is spectacular. When was the last time you were there? Cru? Underrated if anything. A steal at their current prices. Aldea is not underrated. In fact it is generally recognized as superb.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rrems

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            To be honest, I have not tried Annisa since it reopened and will have to give it another shot. Historically, I think the press/ foodie community has considered Anita Lo a "chef's chef" with her classical training etc. making them more inclined to print positive reviews.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I first dined at Veritas five years ago and found it to be one of the five best restaurants in the city. I recently returned last year and although still very good, the current incarnation seemed to be resting on its laurels just a bit. The overrated label is more due to the lofty perch that I originally placed it in my mind.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I had a big Christmas dinner at Cru a while ago and was extremely excited after all I had read. People were dressed like they were at TGIF's, the room was drab, service was only modestly friendly and the food was forgettable. I think it would be "lost in the shuffle" of NY restaurants if it wasn't for the publicity it gets for its wine list.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hype has certainly been building for Aldea as of late and I wasn't in love with the dining room but I just found the menu to be particularly innovative.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            43 East 20th St., New York, NY 10003

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            13 Barrow Street, New York, NY 10014

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            31 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: pdquinn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Agreed on Apiary. Food and service are both excellent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Wouldn't go to WD-50 if you're either hungry or paying for dinner. The molecular gastronomy thing is beyond played out at this point.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm convinced Batali's publicist has a crack team of review writers out there too...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Pedr0

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i can understand not wanting to pay. i can understand being bored by MG (though i am not). but saying you will be hungry? that does not jibe w/ my experience at wd-50

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: sgordon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I completely agree about Jean Georges. I had the seasonal tasting menu and my date had the chef's...to be fair there were two or three plates that were good. But seriously underwhelming! And the desserts...I couldn't believe it, but packaged Starbucks desserts would have been a better end to the meal. EMP the next night outshone Jean Georges.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm not a difficult person...it really was that lackluster and disappointing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Jean Georges
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4. i would put SHO Shaun Hergatt on my list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            SHO Shaun Hergatt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            40 Broad St, New York, NY 10004

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. PORCHETTA! Why do people praise this place for transforming a perfectly good pig into the the worst dry chicken breast?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cousincole

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Momofuku KO. One of if not the most disappointing meals I've ever had!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I hate to put down a Danny Meyer place but I must say I went to Union Square Cafe yesterday and was a bit disappointed. Maybe it's popularity has overhyped it and caused the quality to suffer? I did not think that he would allow that to happen, however I found the food to be very unimaginative and just decent. For the price, there are so many meals that are head and shoulders above.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: steakrules85

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Union Square Cafe has been mediocre for at least the past 10 -15 years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Nancy S.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah that's a shame. I guess when you are that popular and you know that you will be getting business no matter what you lose the edge to be the best. I find it very difficult to believe that a Danny Meyer institiution would let this happen but it certainly seems like that is the case.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I know comparing it to EMP is apples and oranges but I could never see this happening at Eleven madison ever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: steakrules85

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The quality of the food is largely dependent on the chef and how he/she leads the kitchen; Danny Meyer won't be able to do anything if his chef puts out food that's mediocre.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Keep in mind that before the arrival of Daniel Humm in 2006, EMP was a pretty average restaurant. A lot can change, and very quickly at that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: hcbk0702

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        While that is a valid point, I do not believe that the chef at USC has changed recently. Carmen Quagliata has been there for awhile.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        As for EMP, I cannot speak of how it was before Chef Humm, however I have had 2 meals without Humm in the house and had spectacular meals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: steakrules85

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Carmen Quagliata has been there since 2005 (I think) and USC has been unimpressive through his entire reign in the kitchen. It was also rather middling for several years before that. At least it's pretty consistent mediocrity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: hcbk0702

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Prior to Humm, EMP was not just average, it was a spectacular mess.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: steakrules85

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I had an unbelievably salty dinner at EMP on Friday. It started out nicely, but the last three savory courses and pre-dessert were outrageously seasoned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Nancy S.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm going to EMP this week. What dishes were improperly seasoned?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        4. re: Nancy S.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I've always liked USQ, but never understood why it was always on the Zagat's favorites list. It's a fine neighborhood place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Absolutely agree with NYC hot dogs. They are exceptionally bad, most uneatable. So inferior to any frankfurter you can eat in a nowhere gas-station in Germany, for instance, as well as many other places in Europe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Agree with Carnegie Deli/Stage Deli. Katz is declining as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I would add:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        NYC pizzas:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Despite the perception it is very hard to eat good pizza in Manhattan. Thousands of pizza places in NYC, most serve lousy pizzas. Lowest quality of cheese and horrible toppings. Many pizzas are really scary to eat, especially the pepperoni disks drown in industrial glue named “cheese”. These horrible pepperoni discs seem to me poisonous, a real threat to the public’s health.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Manhattan Cheesecakes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Represent the epitome of how-not-prepare (good) cheese cakes and how not to bake in general. I believe the monstrous sizes intend to put the eater in a coma before he can realize how bad it is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: SYCRoberts

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Months later, I'm pretty thrilled that you said this about Manhattan pizza. Most of it is rubbish, which leaves me unsure where to take people in neighborhoods i'm not too familiar with (because pizza is good everywhere in NYC, right?). As I rule, if the place looks tacky or I don't know it, the more expensive it is the worse. I prefer the $1 slices at 2 Bros at St. Marks to most of the $2.50-$4.00 garbage littered throughout the city, taking advantage of the craze and mythos. The ingredients might be second-rate, but at least flavor isn't absent and there isn't an artificial feel to it. For a chain, Famiglia does an alright job though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. recette: bad food, pretentious service and overpriced wine list...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          that is not a "recipe" for success...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          a trendy experience we could have lived without...only the fish dish was larger
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          than a tiny tapas...you'll definitely leave hungry...a few of the dishes were
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          truly awful combinations...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          if you're going to "share"...be prepared for a hefty bill...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          another bad fashionable restaurant for the west village...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: k52

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I disagree, thought the food portions were generous, and well executed. Theres definitely a lot of out of the box thinking in the dishes which isnt for everyone. Wine lists are way overpriced everywhere in NYC, this isnt europe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. The credited list is:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              (1) Grimaldi's - completely not worth it
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              (2) Shake Shack - this place is nothing special. It's basically an overpriced Steak n' Shake.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              (3) Babbo - incredibly mediocre
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              (4) Magnolia Bakery - way too much butter in the frosting
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              (5) Spotted Pig - decent beer selection, but the food is lackluster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Magnolia Bakery
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              401 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Spotted Pig
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              314 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              47 W 20th St, New York, NY 10010

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: maneki neko

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                i agree with this list but i disagree with shake shack...its the best fast food burger in the country.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I think that you guys got it right.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Especially Aquavit, by has that place gone South!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I would add Artichoke Basilles pizza to the tippity top of this list. It is constantly getting written up for being delicious and it was one of the worst pizza eating experiences of my life. A greasy, overcooked crust that lacerated the roof of my mouth, topped off with what tasted like scalding hot, bad cream of broccoli soup. It's been over a year since I had it and everytime i walk by I still get mad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Momofuku Ssam Bar by far. (SP best restaurants in the world? No. 26? WTF)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Momofuku Ssam Bar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      207 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Momofuku Noodle Bar. I wanted to love it. I still wish I did. Sad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Momofuku Noodle Bar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I hate to bring it up but I had a disappoiting meal at Prune last week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Boy, am I glad I saw this thread again: MAREA would be my choice. I expected to love it...Didn't.....not at all!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sockster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i loved marea - what didn't work for you?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                See my previous post in Manhattan section called sooo disappointed. I am not alone!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sockster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  not my experience there at all. our waiter was helpful, our food was tasty. the uni app could have been larger,as it was marketed as for the table, but thats about my only complaint

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: sockster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                how do you not like Marea? It's phenomenal. I could eat the fusilli every day for the rest of my life.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. Im a little late to this topic but i def agree with momofuko, way overrated, and too full of hipster douches
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Im surprised that no one here has mentioned caracas or westville. Both places are always mobbed and the food is not so great or cheap at both, sure the prices are cheap but the portions are tiny. Anyways my list

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Caracas
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Westville--any location
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. Prime meats
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                4. Lugers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                5. Shake shack

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: serf420


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You've resurrected a great topic. Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  For me, my disappointment is Le Bernardin. Full disclosure: my wife really enjoyed it and we both loved Chef Ripert's place in the Cayman Islands. In NYC, however, it was not great. Why?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  *. Atmosphere is cold, corporate and impersonal. Decor is boring.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  *. I'm a wine geek and sought pairing recommendations from the Sommelier. He suggested very standard stuff from the wine by the glass list. And, he added two doses of condescension with his comments.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  *. The seafood was delicious
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  * in the end, I felt like a corporate stiff on an expense account (I was paying with my own $) rather than a valued customer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  At this reputation and price point, I want the experience to be special. It wasn't.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cortez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Haha, I'd have to agree with the underwhelm. Not that it wasn't good - it just wasn't OMGAMAZING like I thought it would be. In fact, the thing I remember the most about the meal is the chocolate egg dessert that they gave me for free because they didn't have the wine I wanted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: janethepain

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think by now everyone knows how I felt about my lackluster experience there as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: cortez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yeah, I feel pretty much the same way as you do. The food is great. But I don't really enjoy eating there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: serf420

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Westville burger and Shake shack cheese fries are fantastic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      210 W 10th St, New York, NY 10014

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4. 100% with Minetta Tavern and its burger. Talk about overrated. Dry, tasteless and small. I've had better and tastier burgers at about 50 other spots in the city. Why the love for this place, on this website, I will never understand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: arisp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        couldn't disagree more. actually heading over there in three hours for some burger awesomeness. my top five overrated (some of which I actually enjoy) would be:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Recette
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Babbo
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. Milk Bar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        4. Any place claiming to have a good lobster roll. (i've tried them all and they are various degrees of bad and overpriced)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        5. Spotted Pig

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Spotted Pig
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        314 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        328 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10014

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: nmprisons

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I agree with you on Minetta Tavern's burgers - I've had both and have never found them to be dry and tasteless - don't remember noting the size one way or the other.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Minetta Tavern
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I agree. I think Minetta serves one of the best burgers around without a doubt. I mean the wonderful superior quality of the meat blend they are using alone makes it incredible. Add in those caramelized onions and the soft brioche bun and its tough to knock it. The fries on the other hand...... not so ethereal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: steakrules85

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              just came back from eating one and i can confirm that my initial very, very high rating of them was, if anything, an underrating.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i don't eat the fries. just let them sit there. they don't deserve to be on the same plate as that burger.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: nmprisons

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Just had lunch at Lupa last week. Completely underwhelmed. Scarpetta blew it away.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: princeofpork

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Scarpetta? And it's not totally over-rated, uninspiring food? Like Scott himself, the place is WAY TOO full of itself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: arisp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Did you order it well done? I don't see how it could be dry and tasteless otherwise.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4. Babbo and Union Square Cafe would be on the top of my overrated list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: brian211

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Just went to USC on a business dinner and to be honest it was pretty good. Did it match the top spot in NYC reputation is had for years no, but if it opened downtown, under a different name and offered the same food and service I bet a lot of folks would be saying how good it was.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: princeofpork

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I agree with Prince about USC, it is a top notch restaurant. Is it the be all and end all of culinary experiences, no - but what is? The service was excellent, and the food was both interesting/enticing and the execution was perfect. I walked away not only satisfied and very happy, but had my expectations exceeded. It earned it's well deserved reputation. Oh, and I'd add value to that as well, the prices were quite fair all things considered.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Not sure I have five, but here's three.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1) 90% of NY pizza, as in a NY slice. The vast majority of pizza places completely phone it in and use bad dough, low quality cheese, and absentminded cooking to produce a totally forgettable product. Of the top of my head I've know two slices that were worthy of all the shouting about NY having the best pizza in the country. One was at Tony's Pizza on Bedford Park in the Bronx, now closed, and one was at the original Little Italy in Midtown, in the late 90s before it moved. I think all the places selling regional Italian styles that have arrived in the past few years are a huge improvement over the current dross.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2) Bagels - again vast majority of places completely phone it in, not as bad as Dunkin Donuts, but not much better either. David's Bagels at 14th and 1st are/were wonderful (haven't been in a while) and Ess-A-Bagel also is great.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3) Peter Luger's - I went as part of a group of 8, between myself and my s.o., I spent $180 for greasy steak, had a jerk of a waiter who spilled salad dressing on my girlfriend and me and didn't apologize, the appetizers are a joke, and the sides nothing special. And I don't get all the fuss about the bacon, I'd take some good irish rashers over Luger's bacon any day of the week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                David's Bagels
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                331 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Magnolia Bakery.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The cake is too dry, and the icing is not sweet enough for me. (It's more buttery than sweet.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  While others might turn up their noses at Crumbs, I think that place makes the bomb-diggity cupcakes. There is a reason why they're dominating the cupcake game!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Magnolia Bakery
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  401 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Recently hit up Carnegie for a Woody Allen (pastrami plus corned beef). Unbelievably overwhelming sandwich. Plenty of seeds in the rye. Could have fed a family of 6 for a week. Definitely not overrated. I think the Second Avenue Deli (current incarnation) belongs on the list in its place though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Carnegie Deli
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    854 7th Ave, New York, NY 10019

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Second Avenue Deli
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    162 E 33rd St, New York, NY 10016

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Can I add The Dutch? Been twice now and it is seriously blah (and way overpriced). I can't believe the internet hype machine that place has going for it. Their PR people must be fabulous. Too bad the kitchen can't deliver, with the exception of the mini oyster sandwiches (which they were out of last time). I do actually like Locanda Verde, but The Dutch is a dud.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Locanda Verde
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013