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Chowhound reprieve?

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We've all seen posts on this board and elsewhere saying something along the lines of "Don't even think of going to Name Of Restaurant Goes Here!" We all do it it. Once a place goes on our "list", it is sentenced for life, and we sometimes continue to pan it even years after our last visit.

But every once in a while such places turn things around. Today's challenge or question is this - What's your most notable turn-around discovery? What are the places that were once deemed to be the embodiment of "The Anti-Chowhound" that are now actually worth another try?

I ask because it seems like this is perhaps the hardest of undiscovered gems to find. The standard business advice says "it costs less to keep a customer than to get a new one", but this takes it one step further "It's REALLY hard to get a customer back once you've lost them!" But this goes for customers, too. We could be missing out on great stuff, because once we've rejected a place, we're naturally reluctant to go back, no matter how many raves we hear, or how trusted the sources of those raves may be.

So the question for the 'Hounds is this - which formerly outcast places do we need to go back to?

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  1. Hubby had a really bad experience at Dino to the point he didn't want to go back, but I am going with a friend (I am trying to convince him to try it again and I think I am about there).

    We both also caught Sushi Kaz on an awful night the service was so slow it took us 30 minutes for drinks and over an hour to get food, we never got refills on our drinks and we were so hungry and we hadn't ordered enough but it took so long we just went home and snacked, but after all the posts on here and donrockwell I am sure it had to be a bad night as it gets good reviews so I am going back at some point (again probably with a friend Hubby will not be convinced on this one).

    Tallula- We used to love Tallula then we went a couple times before the new chef and had a couple awful brunches and one bad dinner, but we recently went back twice for brunch and both times were great! I want to go back for dinner. For brunch they brought out homemade doughnuts to start with a great glaze on our second visit, then first recent visit I had the suckling pork which was really good flavorful pork with rich grits, tamatillo sauce added good balance, I went back recently had the crab cakes (with a poached egg) and that was really good too very rich but good- was great had been out the night before food. Both Hubby and I were so happy it had turned around. Kudos to the new chef now we will be regulars again.

    1. One dining establishment I can recall that had an "issue" about 10 years ago, was Tio Pepe's in Baltimore. (I won't elaborate on the details).

      But my husband and I were so put off due to the circumstances, we just avoided dining at Tio's.

      About 7 months ago I happened upon the restaurant's website and viewed the menu. I wasl salivating as I recalled some of the excellent dishes I'd had there in the past.

      I eventually convinced my husband that we should forgive and forget and make a return visit to the restaurant. We did so with pleasant results. So, now it's on our "go to" list again. FoiGras

      1. i fell hard and fast for the washington boulevard lost dog when i first moved here, but after several soggy pizzas and late deliveries i gave up on them. my boyfriend recently moved to columbia pike and i can safely say my lost dog love has been renewed. In the past two weeks I've probably spent upwards of $150, at both locations, too. Though their reputation never truly soured, my opinion of it has gone from great, to terrible, to amazing.

        2 Replies
        1. re: littlew1ng

          littlewing, did you get a chance to try anthony's pizza yet?

          1. re: alkapal

            nooo, i haven't been over to the neighborhood in a little while. BUT I've got some time off coming up soon so I will probably add it to my staycation lunch spot list!

        2. This is interesting, as components have been touched on in many other threads. "I would ditch a restaurant after X bad meals or service"...

          An off time or two for service alone (or mostly service), when I know they can do great food, will not sour me to a restaurant. Thus, I do not agree with those who reject a place on that premise alone or based heavily on service problems. The next waiter could be fantastic...
          When I get consistently bad food I want something to change: chef, manager, ownership. I look for that before I return. I am hard pressed for a place I have come back to. I have too many options, I guess.

          1. I would suggest that Bertha's in Fells Point maybe one of these places that one may need to revisit.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Hue

              WHY??? I've only dined there one time about 20 odd years ago. What a dive. But, I am more open minded to be adventuresum and make a return visit.

              I must preface my comment and opinion, when I dined there way so many years ago, I didn't order the mussels. Actually had never even eaten a mussel at that time. I was accustomed to oysters and crabs.

              Now that I do love mussels, perhaps it is, indeed, time to revisit a Baltimore "insitution.." Convince me if you can. Thanks. Foi Gras

              1. re: FoiGras

                agree. went recently-bad; kids went recently-bad. not worth staying on the Fell's Point list with so many other great places, for seafood or atmosphere.