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name 5 overrated, or over hyped or famous restaurants whose food doesn't live up to reputation

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I find there are many restaurants that get great reviews that i am not crazy about their food. I find the opposite quite often also, where a place gets a bad review and I love the food. In any case, there are so many restaurants that have loads of hype that don't live up to the hype. There are many with famous names that I can't believe are still in business, and there are those that have good food but just not as good as the ratings .
here's a couple for me:
1) Mr Chow's - very famous, lots of celebs, poor food and a rip off
2) Sarge's Deli - just all around terrible, but gets great reviews
3) Keste - I don't like there pizza, it's too soggy for me
4) The Harrison- I've returned food more than once here
5) Smith and Wollensky- terrible steaks
There are loads more even some of the best known. OK i'll name another 2
Sho -- nice place, but they lack a lot
Blue Water Grill- Not very good but packs them in.
Sara Beth's- a welcome site in Tribeca, a total disappointment
Megu- beautiful place, ok cooked food. Below par sushi and sashimi, expensive

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  1. Keens - didnt like the steaks or the sides. Loved the deserts and seafood platter

    Per Se - the price just killed it for me and I left hungry

    Most Cupcake Places in NYC
    Hearth - the wine list is a joke and the food not much better

    7 Replies
    1. re: princeofpork3

      I sure agree on the cupcake places. Magnolia being my least favorite, and they line up around the block

      1. re: foodwhisperer

        They line up around the block for Joes Shanghi soup dumplings as well.

        1. re: foodwhisperer

          +1 for Magnolia being a let down.

          1. re: foodwhisperer

            Because of Sex in the City, that's why they are lined up.

          2. re: princeofpork3

            Did you leave hungry because of the portions or because the price ruined your appetite from the get go? I consider myself a pretty hearty eater and I felt really stuffed after my meal there. The lobster mac n cheese probably did me in since it was exceptionally rich.

            1. re: miltronix

              Probably a combination of both. Some of the dishes were a single or 2 bites. I need more than that to enjoy a dish no matter how delicious it is.

            2. re: princeofpork3

              Keens may be the best old-style steakhouse in the city. The mutton chop is legendary and if you haven't tried their cheeseburger, it is a must. They also have a great bar. What's not to like here? I shared a T-bone recently that was awesome. The wines by the glass is a limitation, but I still found something I liked to pair with the steak.

            3. To me,
              Oceana- was beyond disappointed with their food.
              Lupa- used to be my favorite. My last 2 trips were total disappointments.
              Prune- went last week. wow, I felt like total waste of money and time. Almost reminded me of diner food. And their cramp space..gosh, i will never go back.
              Chikalicious- nahhh...nothing impressive.
              Billy's carrot cakes- seriously? I make better carrot cake than them.

              1. Not a proper restaurant, the Halal Guys Cart.

                Don't get the hype. The food may be cheap and plenty, but it's really awful stuff. Yuck.

                5 Replies
                1. re: Cheeryvisage

                  +1

                  1. re: Cheeryvisage

                    Third.....

                    1. re: LeahBaila

                      Fourth...I gag when I just walk by.

                      Edit: I have to take back my comment and remove myself from this discussion because I have never actually eaten at a halal street vendor. I don't think it is fair to denounce them if I have not tried them. I've had this type of food in restaurants and at friends' homes and enjoyed it, but not from street vendors. Sorry.

                    2. re: Cheeryvisage

                      Which halal vendor do you prefer?

                      1. re: E Eto

                        I have never had halal food from a street vendor E Eto and have edited my post to explain this. I apologize.

                    3. Daniel, Le Bernardin, Katz's.

                      1. Del Posto. Delicious and well worth it for a special lunch, but I can't imagine clamoring to go there for dinner.

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: loratliff

                          "Del Posto. Delicious and well worth it for a special lunch, but I can't imagine clamoring to go there for dinner."

                          Which leads me to believe you have never been there for dinner, so how can you really have an educated opinion on the subject of dinner there? Have you actually been to Del Posto for dinner?

                          1. re: ttoommyy

                            I haven't, but based on lunch, I wouldn't go back for dinner unless it was on someone else's dime. Are you telling me that they cook inferior food at lunchtime, as compared to dinner service? Both of the secondi courses I tasted are also on the dinner menu, so I have a hard time believing that dinner service is that much different.

                            (For what it's worth, like I said, lunch was very good, but for the dinnertime prices, I'd rather spend that money elsewhere.)

                            1. re: loratliff

                              No, the food at lunch and dinner is of the same level. I will say that dinner at Del Posto for me is an event: we spend at least 3 hours there. Lunch is different; it is more relaxed. When we go for dinner we wear jackets and ties and indulge ourselves in the evening. Lunch and dinner at Del Posto are two very different experiences for me.

                              I just think in a thread like this, one should base one's answer on actually having had the experience.

                              1. re: ttoommyy

                                Right, but my point was that the food isn't good enough to warrant a return for dinner. That's all.

                                If I want an event, I'll go to EMP and gladly spend 3 hours.

                                1. re: loratliff

                                  "If I want an event, I'll go to EMP and gladly spend 3 hours."

                                  Which we've done and found totally overrated! lol Different strokes...it's all good. :)

                                2. re: ttoommyy

                                  Del Posto was one of those dinners out that left me wondering what else I could have done with the money. The place and service were remarkable. The food was truly mediocre.

                                  1. re: roxlet

                                    Ditto......

                                    1. re: roxlet

                                      Yeah, Del Posto for me too - it wasn't even worth it for lunch, for me. Lovely space, but mediocre service and terrible food and wine pairing. I'll take EMP over it any day as well.

                            2. My experience with most restaurants in Manhattan is that they are overhyped. I thought that was a NYC pastime.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: linguafood

                                Yes, I find this is true...especially if you have eaten at other parts of the World...especially countries like France. There is just no comparison.

                              2. I have to think about the 5...but I disagree about Smith and Wollensky's, at least the Miami location. I always have a lunch there when I am in town.

                                EDIT: didnt realize this was in the NYC catagory....yes, SW isnt so good there LOL

                                1. Locanda Verde does have very good food, but they can be quite rude and the service can be quite unprofessional at times. It is a bit too cool for school and I won't be back.

                                  My wife and I were not impressed with Scarpetta. It was fine but overhyped.

                                  I live on the same block as Forgione--this place is just not that good. And that celebrity chef keeps stealing my cabs :) I was relieved to see him at the airport in New Orleans last Friday because I was leaving and he was coming so I knew I'd get a taxi in New York that night.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: bmoskowitz

                                    The hostesses at LV take a course on how to be rude to customers as part of their orientation.

                                  2. Here are my top over-rated and over-hyped restaurants. Keep in mind that I've only been to each of these places once, so maybe I just ordered the wrong things or it was an off day.

                                    1) Alta - I was so excited to try Alta because I hear great things about it and everything on the menu sounded delicious but the food turned out to be very mediocre. Nothing we ordered tasted very fresh and everything was over-cooked or over-sauced.

                                    2) Lure Fishbar - I had the octopus and the branzino. The food was good but there are so many other places in the city that has better seafood for the same price.

                                    3) Balthazar - I went for brunch and we ordered the classic brunch dishes like the bread basket, eggs benedict, etc. Nothing was memorable. Plus, it was uncomfortably crowded and the service was not very good.

                                    4) Il Buco Alimentari - The food was not bad, but definitely not good enough for me to go again given the noisiness of the restaurant and the terrible service. I seriously could not hear a thing my friend was saying and my throat was sore afterwards from having to shout the whole time. Also, had no idea who our server was.

                                    5) The Spotted Pig - Mediocre food, long wait time and uncomfortable seating.

                                    6) Perilla - Extremely disappointing, but I went during restaurant week so maybe the kitchen was just too busy? But the food was so bad I vowed never to return again.

                                    7) Nobu - I've actually been here more than once. Tried all their well-known dishes like the black cod, yellowtail jalapeno, etc. I used to think the food was pretty good but then I discovered other Japanese restaurants in the city that are better and never went back again.

                                    10 Replies
                                    1. re: abs28

                                      Completely agree on Spotted Pig. Only the Devil on Horseback was worth ordering again.
                                      Lure as well was just OK. Actually the burger was the best part of the meal.

                                      1. re: abs28

                                        So what are the other japanese restaurants?

                                        1. re: abs28

                                          Amazingly, Ive never been to the SpottedPig because of the long wait and crowdedness. I guess I should cross that one off my list. Nobu I still go to,even though it's sushi doesnt compare with 15 East, Kanoyama, etcetc. But It is convenient for me so if I go, i get the King Crab tempura which is real big. I get the "new style sashimi" which is slightly warmed fish with sesame oil on it, I like ankimo but refuse to order it at double the price of monkfish liver ,as they call it monk fish pate there.

                                          1. re: foodwhisperer

                                            I usually go to 15 East or Kyo Ya now. Nobu is convenient for me too and the food has never been bad, but when I want to spend $100 on a meal I'd rather take a cab and go somewhere excellent :)

                                            1. re: abs28

                                              The cooked food at Nobu is much better than the sushi.

                                              1. re: princeofpork3

                                                I agree and the one time I went, I really enjoyed Nobu.

                                            2. re: foodwhisperer

                                              The duck ear salad st spotted pig is pretty freakin good... It's just a mob scene there day and night.

                                              1. re: chompchomp

                                                Maybe pig ear? Quack quack!

                                                1. re: Wilfrid

                                                  OMG!! those would be the tiniest ears ! got my fatty and delicious animals mixed up. ;)

                                                2. re: chompchomp

                                                  i didn't know ducks had ears. Not you got my curiousity going

                                            3. Babbo, Scarpetta, Torrisi Italian Specialties.

                                              20 Replies
                                              1. re: chompchomp

                                                Any specific reasons?

                                                1. re: ttoommyy

                                                  the food we had at Babbo was quite simply awful. we started with the octopus which was chewy to the point of being inedible. I can't remember which pasta my husband had, but I think it was fine. I got the orecchiette with sausage. the orecchiette was quite thick (and I remember thinking to myself, wow, if you had made this pasta ChompChomp, it would be a decent but flawed attempt. I gave Batali et al no such leeway for thick heavy pasta). We split the squab which was crazy salty. the maitre d was very kind and saw my wrinkled nose and pushed away plates and offered to make me something else, but I was just burned out at that point.
                                                  Torrisi...I have to say, I adore their sandwiches (which I think you can only get at Parm). I took my husband for his birthday last year and a highlight was that we were seated next to Jay-Z. the lowlight was the food! I don't remember anything being memorable except for the homemade mozzarella. the lamb tongue gyro and iceberg salad was just gross. sigh.

                                                  And Scarpetta is decent -- well-executed, rich, Italian food. but it didn't feel terribly special to me; which I think is the definition of over-hyped.

                                                  now! as for Michael White's food, mangia mangia!!! His food makes this paisan very happy.

                                                  1. re: chompchomp

                                                    Fair enough. Thanks chompchomp.

                                                    1. re: chompchomp

                                                      We actually really enjoyed our meal at Scarpetta. maybe not to the point to justify all the hype but it was certainly a good meal.

                                                      1. re: princeofpork3

                                                        One man's meat is another man's poison. It's proven time and time again with threads like this one.

                                                        1. re: princeofpork3

                                                          It wasn't bad by any stretch of the imagination, it just didn't compel me to gush about it or run back. I did go 3 years ago though when it was just all the rage so maybe I was disappointed not to find a little slice of Italy in the meatpacking district.

                                                          1. re: chompchomp

                                                            If you were looking to find a little slice of Italy, I bet it wouldn't be found in the Meatpacking District! ;-)

                                                            Can I nominate the Meatpacking District as overrated and over-hyped?

                                                            After I return from a visit to NYC, a few Torontonian friends usually ask me if I had a chance to dine in the Meatpacking District during my visit, and I end up telling them I tend to avoid dining in the Meatpacking District these days. RIP Florent.
                                                            ;-)

                                                            1. re: prima

                                                              Oh yes I know. I rarely venture over there. My husband and I got married in Italy and we eat Italian every anniversary. Last year's anniversary at Ai Fiori was outrageously delicious.

                                                              1. re: prima

                                                                >Can I nominate the Meatpacking District as overrated and over-hyped?

                                                                You can nominate it, of course, but who on this site really rates most of those places that highly?

                                                                1. re: squid kun

                                                                  True enough. NYC Chowhounds and Chowhounds who are familiar with this board don't rate those places highly, but plenty of visiting Chowhounds come to NYC with some of those places on their list, thanks to other forums and publications, as well as recommendations from friends/acquaintances. I had to sit through an awful dinner at Bagatelle a few years ago because Bagatelle had made it onto a friend of a friend's must-dine list, and she managed to take control of the reservation that night. ;-)

                                                                  I'm hoping visiting Chowhounds and other travellers will read this thread, in case anyone has been telling them the Meatpacking District is a must-see/can't miss neighbourhood for dining or anything else.

                                                                  1. re: squid kun

                                                                    Scarpetta is meat packing and most folks on this board love it.

                                                                    1. re: princeofpork3

                                                                      I'm wondering what the boundary lines are for the meat packing district. Alhough no restaurant is great there, you can always get a decent meal in the meat packing or expanded meat packing district. Even Pastis, for location alone, on that corner, it is so like parts of France or Italy or Spain. Some places I dine at in that area that are not overrated and not great but decent are: Paradou, Buddakan, Recette, Spice market, Standard,I guess Wallsse is too far south to be meatpacking area. Old Homestead I hate and that is the oldest overrated restaurant in the city maybe

                                                                      1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                        I found Recette mediocre, at best. I expected much more, sadly.

                                                                        1. re: LeahBaila

                                                                          Really? We were blown away by it (in the good way).

                                                                          1. re: loratliff

                                                                            I thought it was just OK :( Did you go for dinner?

                                                                            1. re: LeahBaila

                                                                              Yes, we did the 7-course tasting and thought everything was spot-on.

                                                            2. re: chompchomp

                                                              Wow!! Your experience at Babbo almost mirrored mine!!! I joined fellow Singapore chowhounder and his family for a mini chowmeet there. The five of us must have ordered at least 9 dishes. Only decent one was the Spaghetti Bolognese we ordered for the kids!! Most disappointing was the mushy sweetbread!. BTW, our octopus was way over-charred!
                                                              Guess that's why Michelin removed the star??!!

                                                          2. re: chompchomp

                                                            My husband and I went to babbo a few years ago. After a few bites, we looked at each others and said, all that positive reviews over this?

                                                            1. re: Monica

                                                              I guess this is why there are so many different restaurants. I ate at Babbo for the first time in February . . . and just made reservations again for my upcoming trip in May. Both pasta dishes were marvelous and the main was delicious as well. Dessert was just OK, nothing special there.

                                                              Shake Shack (see below) - now that fits my description of over-hyped! Not bad, but there are certainly other quick burger places (and "quick" didn't describe the wait at Shake Shack!) that I would choose first.

                                                              1. re: JHunter

                                                                I think the problem with Babbo is incredible unevenness across the menu. I've found that if you order the "right" dishes, you can have an amazing meal, but if you order the "wrong" ones, you're left shaking your head wondering why anyone thinks it's a good restaurant at all, let alone waits a month for reservations.

                                                          3. Shake Shack

                                                            24 Replies
                                                            1. re: racer x

                                                              I've never been to Shake Shack but did walk by it in February while on my way to EMP for a cocktail and wondered why anyone would want to eat there just based on the awful smell. I love burgers and fries but the smell that was coming from that place was like bad diner food. Is it always like that?

                                                              1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                Lupa.......bad service.....bad food......hot wine......need I say more!

                                                                Cipriani downtown.....never saw waiters so snobbish but Matt Damon was seated a couple of tables away from me:)

                                                                Boulud sud......it was so ordinary....I do not get what people see in this restaurant

                                                                1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                  I had Shake Shacks food at Citi Field, was horrible, so I avoided going to the restaurant

                                                                  1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                    Obviously not everyone agrees on Shake Shack.

                                                                    That being said, I'm a huge Shake Shack fan (not their fries or hot dogs, but I think their burgers and their mushroom sandwich are amazing) but I found the one at Citi Field to be subpar.

                                                                    I know it's a chain, but I've found the Madison Square Park and UES locations to be consistently good.

                                                                    1. re: lexismore

                                                                      I'll second the Shake Shack nomination.
                                                                      It's a burger joint where you stand in line with a million kids.
                                                                      Nothing special at all.

                                                                      Il Mulino has got to be one of the most overrated rip offs in the entire city.
                                                                      It's a tourist wallet vacuum with food that should cost 1/4 or 1/5 as much as they charge. The prices are absolutely insane.
                                                                      The ridiculous show they put on somehow brought to mind Rob Schneider's obscene "Bella!" waiter shtick from SNL.

                                                                      1. re: lexismore

                                                                        I'll try the better ones mentioned. I'll wipe Citifield from my memory. It will be mushroom sandwich and burger. I'm ready

                                                                        1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                          There's no guarantee you'll love it, but if you're going to give it another shot, I'd suggest getting a double burger rather than a single. I've done a great deal of "research" (for science, of course) and the ratio of meat to bread is much better with 2 patties.

                                                                          1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                            The Citifield Shake Shack makes their burgers ahead of time as opposed to order. I tried to get one without the special sauce and they told me that it's can't be done. Hopefully you'll find their other locations better.

                                                                            1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                              With the near constant lines (especially pre-game) id be pretty suprised if their burgers sat for more than a minute or two. Seriously, with 100+ people in line the major factor governing how far ahead your burger was made would be the efficiency of the cashiers, no?

                                                                              1. re: tex.s.toast

                                                                                I'm just offering that as a possiblity why foodwhisperer received a bad burger. My burger from Citifield has been fine (except for the special sauce). He/she could have been the last in line from a batch that was made a while back. Conversely, I've also been to the Madison Park Shake Shack where I saw my burger sit for over 10 minutes before I received it. Obviously there were some communication issues with my order.

                                                                          2. re: lexismore

                                                                            I never meant that Shake Shack burgers are not good. My feeling is just that they are overrated, overhyped, and do not live up to their reputation. They are perfectly fine for burgers. But you can get equally good, if not better, burgers at plenty of other places.

                                                                            I've never had any from Citifields, just UES (a couple of weeks back) and Madison Square Park some years back.

                                                                            1. re: racer x

                                                                              I guess that's where I disagree - I've made a point of scouring Manhattan for burgers, and I find Shake Shack to be my absolute favorite of the "fast-food style" hamburger. Of course, there are plenty of 'hounds who will say I'm crazy. Then again, a look at the line would suggest I'm not the only one who feels that way.

                                                                              1. re: lexismore

                                                                                We know a long line does not equate to good food. Look at Joes Shanghi and every county fair deep fried cheecake booth.
                                                                                I do like the SS burger though.

                                                                          3. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                            I went to the Shake Shack in the Park. When I ate the burger, I noticed that the meat was going off. I did not even bother to stand in that long line to report it. I was so disappointed.

                                                                            1. re: Ottojr

                                                                              "When I ate the burger, I noticed that the meat was going off. I did not even bother to stand in that long line to report it."

                                                                              Really? I would not have even thought about waiting in line; I would have gone straight to the counter and asked to speak with a manager.

                                                                              1. re: Ottojr

                                                                                I've eaten there dozens of times and never had anything like that - their turnover is insanely high, so it's surprising.

                                                                                That being said, I don't understand why you would wait in line again to report it - they have the counter where you pick up food, and the "B" line where you order ice cream, neither of which have lines at all.

                                                                                1. re: Ottojr

                                                                                  What do you mean by "meat going off?"

                                                                                  1. re: LeahBaila

                                                                                    The meat was really angry - it was "going off"

                                                                            2. re: racer x

                                                                              If Shake Shack was in Cleveland it would be a decent alternative to the Dairy Queen Brazier to take the kids to. Shake Shack in Manhattan though just seems like an over-hyped, over-priced, and barely OK DQ Brazier knock-off with insanely long lines.

                                                                              I just don't get the attraction at all, and never have. It just seems like high priced and not particularly special fast food to me. Like a little bit of an essentially suburban experience made slightly 'hip' (and significantly more expensive) to sell to people in Manhattan. And those fries, which taste just like the ones from the Ore-Ida bag my mother kept in the freezer back when I was 12, are especially egregious.

                                                                              Now that they've popped up everywhere, I would think that they will soon lose whatever cachet they once had when it was only available from that cute little stand in the park.

                                                                              1. re: Woodside Al

                                                                                I am curious why you keep referring to SS as over-priced/high priced. The single burger is 3.55, the single cheese burger 4.05 and the single Shack Burger 4.55 Those are all reasonably priced for what you are getting in NYC. You are not going to find a much cheaper burger that is made to order in NYC. I agree the lines are atrocious but the price is pretty standard.

                                                                                1. re: princeofpork3

                                                                                  Shake Shack must be doing something right. The one by Battery Park is always packed. It seems they all are.

                                                                                  1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                                    "Shake Shack must be doing something right. The one by Battery Park is always packed. It seems they all are."

                                                                                    The same can be said of McDonald's at lunchtime. :)

                                                                                  2. re: princeofpork3

                                                                                    I think Shake Shack's prices are reasonable. I also think their hamburgers are pretty good, maybe not great but some of the places recommended on Chowhound in Manhattan charge a lot more. I did have a good hamburger at Veselka but it was around $9.

                                                                                    1. re: princeofpork3

                                                                                      I'm not saying that Shake Shack is expensive. It's obviously cheaper (albeit not a whole lot, once you take into account that everything at SS is a la carte) than my favorite real burgers at places like Donovan's and Molly's. I'm saying that Shake Shack is expensive for a fast food quality meal that is only better than other fast food (worse in the case of those fries) by a matter of degrees. Especially since they are essentially serving exactly the same food I used to get at the DQ Brazier when I was unfortunate enough to live in Michigan.

                                                                                      It's not that I think Shake Shack's food is terrible or inedible either. But all that hype for what is essentially a glorified McDonalds stamped with the imprimatur of a famous chef/proprietor, strikes me as the very essence of over-hyped. Selling a sleekly packaged updated nostalgia for someone's suburban teenage hangout - with pretty much exactly the same food - seems to me a very serious triumph of style over substance.

                                                                                2. Anissa
                                                                                  Momofuku

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: E Eto

                                                                                    Agreed... Momofuku. The food was good but vastly overpriced and minuscule portions at that. Those guys are laughing all the way to the bank.

                                                                                    1. re: mayomayomayo

                                                                                      Seeing as how there are 4 different Momofuku restaurants, and they all have different menus and price points, I'm curious to know which one(s) you're talking about.

                                                                                  2. Marea was just awful, every part of the meal.

                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: ketchupgirl

                                                                                      Add Gilt to the list of overrated.

                                                                                      1. re: ketchupgirl

                                                                                        I am disappointed to hear this about Marea. Can you describe what went wrong?

                                                                                        1. re: Phoenix

                                                                                          Ditto!

                                                                                          1. re: Phoenix

                                                                                            Agree. Shocked. Was a lovely meal when I went.

                                                                                        2. Motorino

                                                                                          1. LUPA. Absolutely dreadful. Pretentious, pushy service, terrible music, food you could make at home

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: bubbleandsqueak

                                                                                              Batali seems to make this list a lot. I agree on Lupa btw.

                                                                                            2. I'll probably get a lot of sh** for this - but I would say most of the Jean Georges and Tom Colicchio restaurants...

                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: nsslc

                                                                                                Obviously this is all personal opinion and most of us are basing this on one lone experience at each place (because why would you give a place another chance after the initial let down with so many other great restaurants?). I can't fathom how someone would not like Babbo or any of of the Colicchio restaurants but again different strokes for different folks. Every restaurant will have a bad day now and then.

                                                                                                Perhaps some can say they have have had multiple bad experiences but I will be honest. Mine are monstly based on just one experience at the following:

                                                                                                1. Torrisi- Portions were miniscule and the mulberry duck that I was so looking forward too was terribly overcooked..... twice!

                                                                                                2. Le Bernardin- some really stellar standout dishes but 2 very very poor ones that were virtually tasteless. If I am paying those prices I want a stellar meal from start to finish.

                                                                                                3. Burger Joint- Just a regular burger, with regular condiments, with a regular wonderbread bun? I guess you can see why I didn't find it to be special at all. I could have made this at home and 10 times better.

                                                                                                4. Momofuku (only place I have been to twice)- Again over-priced in my opinion. The Bo Ssam is the only reason to go there and honestly there are so many other places in NYC to get your pork fix. Off the top of my head Maialino's suckling pig totally blow it away and Osteria Morini's porchetta is darn good so why go through all the trouble of getting 6-8 friends together and put up with the whole reservation rigamarole? Pork buns were nothing special for $8. Plus I can't stand restaurants whom are so stuck up and stubborn that they won't honor a diner's request because "the chef does not like to mess with the integrity of the dish". As a paying customer this should never fly. And yes all I requested was some butter to accompany the $125 lackluster ribeye that I ordered. I guess ordering such an expensive steak in a place like this was my mistake and I learned from it. Oh yeah and the seats are uncomfortable and service overall is just not great. Overall, just left a bad taste in my mouth.

                                                                                                5. Prune- Had a disappointing meal here. The bone marrow appetizer was kind of skimpy and the bread it was served with was terribly stale. The whole branzino was filled with tons of little bones and lots of fennel seed which I did not like at all. I would give it another chance for brunch though as the baked pancake, monte cristo, and oyster omelette sound delicious.

                                                                                                1. re: nsslc

                                                                                                  Heh . . . I'll be in NYC the week after next and of my three dinners, two are Jean Georges restaurants: ABC Kitchen and his eponymous flagship. I'm not too worried, though, and am expecting memorable meals!

                                                                                                  1. re: JHunter

                                                                                                    :) I never said that the Colicchio or JG restaurants weren't good, but I do think that a good chunk of them are over-rated and get way more hype than they're worth. For example - I've been to Colicchio and Sons three times now (i think it's hard to avoid MP when you live here. inevitably, someone wants to go there). and although the meals were always solid, I didn't think there was anything different or special enough about the meal to justify the $100+ p/p price. And i'm sorry - but for that price, I want the food to knock my socks off and leave me craving more. I found the main courses in particular underwhelming, and couldn't help but think that I could be in nearly any new American restaurant. Comparatively, the food at Recette for example, has left me scraping every last morsel off of my plate, and I don't mind putting up with the crowd and the tiny space because I know the meal will pay its dividends.

                                                                                                    @JHunter - no worries. you'll have a good experience:)

                                                                                                    1. re: JHunter

                                                                                                      ABC and JG I always enjoy. Le Bernadin I used to love, last meal $1600 (4 people) and nothing was good. Torisi I thought was a rupoff.

                                                                                                  2. I'm surprised no one mentioned Esca. I'm a fish guy, and I really, really wanted to adore Esca, because on paper it seems like the sweet spot between simple/super-fresh and creative/casually elegant, with a good unpretentious guy at the helm. It's been a while, and I don't remember what we ordered, but I recall it all being good, just not great -- a solid A-, but not the A/A+ I was looking for for my birthday dinner. Would give it another try at some point, but haven't gotten around to it. Feel free to tell me what I missed and need to hurry back and order.

                                                                                                    On an unrelated non-Manhattan note, I'd also nominate DiFara's pizza, which to me is the quintessence of emperor-has-no-clothes overratedness. I only bring it up on this board to spare y'all who might consider squandering a Saturday for a pilgrimage deep into the heart of Brooklyn. Odds are, you'll be disappointed.

                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: fmogul

                                                                                                      I like the fish better at the Aqua Grill than Esca

                                                                                                      1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                                                        Totally agree. The fish is ok but, once again, this is a restaurant that is catering to a mainly theater/out-of-town crowd and it feels like that. Each time we went, (and we have been several times before these last two occasions) the waiter went through the whole, "have you eaten here before, let me explain the menu" schtick and was obviously under instructions to push the most expensive items on the menu in such an obvious way. Leaves a bad taste in your mouth even before you order the food! The meal was fine, nothing special at all. The whole experience fees so tired and old-fashioned.

                                                                                                        1. re: bubbleandsqueak

                                                                                                          I found myself vastly dissappointed with the Michelin starred restaurants in NYC. Especially EMP! Went twice and dissappointed both times. Beautifully presented, but lacked substance, especially the dessert. Compose was my worst experience, it has reopened as Atera, and I second Momofuku. Le Bernadin and Picholine was hit and miss with some dishes. Daniel is probably the closest to what we get in London, but it still pales in comparison to say The Square, Ledbury, Pied-A-Terre, the top 10 in London. On the contrary, I usually am pleasantly suprised at the lesser hyped restaurants in NYC such as Dieci in East Village. And I'm so glad to find Dominque Ansel's shop in Soho, after being so dissappointed with the overhyped patisseries and cupcake stores.