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Mar 14, 2012 06:39 AM

Restaurant Impossible: So Would You Eat There?

I enjoy the show, but I don't think there's been a single episode where I came away saying I'd like to eat there. In fact, even with the professional makeover, I have yet to see a single restaurant where I would willingly eat.

If a place is disgustingly dirty, a clean-up and lesson in hygiene is called for. But the chances of relapse seen high. If a chef doesn't know enough to put salt and pepper in food, which seems a common error, then they don't know enough to be in the business and will probably be making bad food immediately again. You can tell the owner to stop screaming at the staff, but you can't redo a personality without at least six months of psychotherapy. (Ha!) You can gussy a place up in two days, but most of these restauranteurs seem possessed of numerous bad habits, and I come away feeling that just about everything is going to start its slide from mediocrity nearly immediately.

And here's the thing that really brings it home to me. This show often runs right after "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives"--which features places I'd be very happy to eat in. Most of these restaurants have some signature dish or dishes that make it worth a trip. Robert Irvine may donate a recipe or two to the places he upgrades, but they're still left without any signature dish. And that's the real flaw of so many of these restaurants. If you're serving the same food as dozens of your nearby competitors are, it doesn't matter if you're now only brought back up to their level. As Gypsy Rose Lee once said, "you need a gimmick," and these places are mostly a dime a dozen.

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  1. What happened to Irvine? I understand that year three is already in the can with Flay. Is that right? Is the Flay show now on TV?

    1. I think RI is one of the worst shows out there for a number of reasons. I've been reprimanded in recent years for saying that chronic money problems are not about money and this show makes that argument for me.

      The general themes of lack of interest in quality of food and having zero passion for food along with the cleanliness issues are enough to keep me away from any of the places. They all suck as far as I'm concerned.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Janet from Richmond

        It's the general filth in these places that turns me off completely. I have enough restaurant experience that it's not surprising, but I wouldn't eat at a place that has had its dirty laundry exposed.

      2. The idea, it seems to me, is not to get you to eat there, but to get you to watch the show.

        1. It's funny, we were talking about one of the recent episodes-delaware I believe, the crab shack place-that the $10,000 would be better spent on psychotherapy for the owners hoarding issues. Anyone who could accumulate that much "stuff" has bigger issues...

          2 Replies
          1. re: andieb

            "I've got a great idea to turn this loser into a success Mabel. Let's call the RI people to video how filthy we keep usually keep this dump. The RI will have some British loud mouth with huge steroid enhanced arms come in and scream at us and we can can watch him throw ten grand down the drain putting up cheap wall paper and making a sandwich and then the episode will go on national TV and then we'll have line ups for every lunch special we throw on the plate for ever. I wonder if Terry Valenti is looking for a job?"

            1. re: Puffin3

              The place the show is about tonight has already closed down!! Before the show has even aired. That sums up the places on this show. Not worth eating at!

          2. Of course they're not worth eating at! If they sucked horribly, how is 48 hours going to change that enough to make them Chow worthy?