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What happened to moderate excellent dining in San Diego?

It has been some time since I contributed to this website on a regurlar basis. Now I find that the most of the posts are for fast food type of places.
Note there are no long strings on restaurants participating in SD Restaurant Week. :(

Has the economic downturn had such a major effect on the foodies, that used to post herre?

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  1. RW is a crap shoot at best and not necessarily an indicator of what a kitchen is capable.

    Fast food? Are we reading the same board?

    1. In between the "helpful" suggestions to drive to LA you still get some good advice, you just need to be patient.

      7 Replies
      1. re: thirtyeyes

        I can count on one hand the number of times anyone has suggested visiting LA instead of eating here. Please stop flogging this dead phantom horse.

        1. re: Josh

          Now Berlin- that comes up over and over.

          1. re: Fake Name

            Understandably, you must admit!

            1. re: Josh

              the culinary world rotates around Berlin

              1. re: honkman

                I can't believe you'd insult the physically challenged in that way.

          2. re: Josh

            Don't think the horse has given up the ghost.

        2. It's good to see not too many posts about SD RW which are the worst time to go to any restaurant. I also don't see many posts on fast food type places on this board.

          3 Replies
          1. re: honkman

            +1 in agreement with Honkman.
            Seems to me that the LA Board is more focused on fast food than is the San Diego Board, FWIW.
            I like the SD board for the colorful reports of Fedora hats and such.

            1. re: honkman

              Yeah, I don't think I have ever seen people talk fast food on here. I think they would get hazed by all.

              1. re: honkman

                what fast food places? Have I been missing something??

              2. RW is, frankly, what some less courteous folks would refer to as a cluster(fair). Crowded and rushed is the atmosphere, and sloppy food are the hallmarks.

                Mrs Name and I went to a CH favorite downtown before a performance at Sushi and on our arrival were disappointed to learn it was restaurant week. The place was mobbed within moments after our arrival, and the kitchen was really slammed. And the otherwise reliable food demonstrated that. It was a decent price for what would have been an otherwise solid menu, but in the RW milieu, it was just not given the love necessary to shine.

                I'll skip RW, thanks.

                1. Agree with the previous posts re: Restaurant Week. I went once to RW at the Pampelmousse Grille. I was sitting next to a local celebrity (a football player, I think) and the chef, Jeffrey Strauss came out to greet him. The chef was complaining that RW nites were brutal and that on a typical nite they served 120 plates but on a RW nite they served over 300 plates. That would explain why the restaurant was overcrowded with extra tables and the wait staff was trying to move you along quickly. I'd rather pay the full price and have a better experience.

                  1. nutritition..think your in need of a multi-vitamin..if you think that the SD board has become a 'fast food' type for posts?

                    RW..pedestrian dining at places that usually are quite good.

                    1. I avoid RW, limited sub par menu offerings, often over priced or up-charged for what they offer, rushed service, etc. just isn't worth it and I'd never look to RW to determine if a resto is credible.

                      1. All of the above, plus RW always-always gets 'extended for another week, by popular demand'. it started last Sunday and now 'Celebrate Week 2' is up on the website.


                        9 Replies
                        1. re: Cathy

                          What's the purpose of Restaurant Week anyway? To make more $$$ for a few weeks a year or to gain new customers who will return? The latter seems doubtful with the poor service and food expected during RW. Maybe the event has gotten too large??.

                          1. re: Island

                            Restaurant Week NYC started July 12 and ended Sept 6 this year...


                            1. re: Island

                              It seemed to be good maybe about 2-3 years ago but now restaurants are offering just as good of deals on a day to day basis, so there isn't really a need for RW.. Going to restaurants for RW is like dining out on New Years Eve or Valentines, it's amateur night, service and food is going to spotty and you are going to be surrounded by people that would never normally be there.

                              1. re: Island

                                Restaurant Week started as a lunch only affair back in 1992 in NYC as a way to provide some service to the 15,000 (or maybe it was 1,500) journalists who were going to be in town for the Democratic national convention. It's kind of grown from there.

                                I was living in the Bay Area at the time of the Dot.Com bust and I remember many of the restaruants offering RW-style dining incentives to get customers in their seats.

                                RW in San Diego was the brainchild of Ingrid Croce after she experienced it in NYC in 2002. It was wildly successful the first few years it was in place as it allowed diners to try restaurants they might not have ordinarily been able to try. It has deteriorated over the last couple of years and the quality standards do not appear to be what they once were.

                                RW serves a couple of purposes.

                                First, it levels the playing field through it's pricing model of $20, $30 or $40 prix fixe menus so that the littler places with fewer resources can compete with the bigger places with greater resources. Theoretcially, it allows a place like Bully's East to compete with a place like Cowboy Star.

                                Second, it allows consumers with limited resources to dine at places that they normally might not be able to afford. It's also part of educating the palate of diners who aren't regularly exposed to finer or higher end dining.

                                Third, it allows restaruants to fill seats during slower seasonal times. RW in NYC is in July because it's a slow time for restaurants in that city because people leave town for vacation homes and retreats. Now, SD is a major tourist destination during July, but after Labor Day? Not so much. Families are back to their normal routines, schools are in session and dinner business slows for many restaruants. Same with January, the other RW period in SD. It's after the holidays when people are less inclined to eat out.

                                Whether the recession is over or not, many, many restaruants have been impacted by the economic decline and need as much patronage as they can get. Consumers are buying fewer apptizers, skipping desert, looking for lower end entrees and not willing to spring for those pricey bottles of wine, or bottle service at all.

                                RW was designed to help operators over seasonal (or economic) rough patches by connecting a greater number of consumers to them via attractively priced meal options. Great concept actually, unfortunately, the execution hasn't been a consistent as one would wish.

                                Bully's East
                                2401 Camino Del Rio S, San Diego, CA 92108

                                  1. re: DiningDiva

                                    Good history lesson. It is interesting to note how many times san diego follows new york trends about 10 to 20 years after, ie boutique hotels, tapas etc.

                                  2. re: Island

                                    The first Restaurant Week I went to (maybe 5 years ago?), I went to Marine Room and had a great meal. I thought it was an excellent value. We went the next year, and it had obviously become much more popular, and the food was much worse. I didn't bother after that.

                                    Marine Room Restaurant
                                    2000 Spindrift Drive, La Jolla, CA 92037

                                    1. re: Josh

                                      I had a memorable RW meal at 1500 Ocean a few years ago. Been back, and have suggested it to others. But it's out of control now.

                                      1500 Ocean
                                      1500 Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA 92118

                                1. Sort of an odd comment coming from the group's Pho expert. :)