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Nov 5, 2012 02:49 PM

Overrated restaurants

Which restaurants have you gone to due to hype, publicity, or knowledgeable recommendations--only to be sorely disappointed? Which restaurants perplex and vex you? I, for one, have never found anything I've loved on the Highland Kitchen menu, though people do adore it. You?

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  1. Journeyman. I will post a better description when I have the energy. The most dollars to least enjoyment ratio I've ever experienced in Boston.

      1. The short-lived Think Tank. I read a bunch of enthusiastic reviews of their 'hip space', their Korean-inspired Seoul Burger, and their Tiki Tuesdays with Brother Cleve. Man, what a disappointment. The Seoul Burger was a dull hamburger with bulgogi sauce and an egg on it, the space looked like an awkward hipster loft, and the only good thing about Tiki Tuesday was the Sriracha wings; even the drinks from Bro. Cleve were disappointing, and each one took 15-20 minutes to be served. Not surprised they're not kicking around these days.

        I would mention that I've had a wonderful time at each visit to Journeyman. Engaging servers, fascinating food, great ideas; even when a dish flopped, it flopped with style.

        1. Russell House -- I may be misreading things but it's frequently touted as the best choice in the square. This may well be true and I haven't found anything remarkable here (though I love Flat Patties and Otto) but I haven't been wowed by Russell House. It's fine, but not outstanding or even remarkable. Maybe my expectations are too high? And I'll admit I've only had what I'd consider bar food (burger, etc.). My husband did love a chicken under a brick sort of prep.

          5 Replies
          1. re: ebaba

            I agree. It's fine, but not that good. And there is a ton of inconsistency across the menu and from visit to visit (on food and cocktails).

            1. re: ebaba

              I'm a big fan of the Russell House pizzas, and I also like their caesar salad, burger and lobster slider. I haven't explored much of the menu beyond that.

              1. re: Blumie

                Agree on the pizzas and the "dirty caesar", not sure I've ever had a true entree there...

                1. re: ebone

                  We don't ever order mains there, just order small dishes, and have a tapas-style meal. Eating that way, I really enjoy Russell House.

                  1. re: Indirect Heat

                    I am one of those Russell House fans. We don't make it there often, but when we do, we always have a great experience. I love the overall passion in that restaurant, evident from the chef to the front of the house, including the waitstaff.....
                    That being said, it's probably been close to a year since we've been there, but i never forget that amazing egg appetizer....

            2. Erbulace. but that has been discussed to death here and I respect everyone's opinion on the matter.

              Radius. Used to love the place, but have had 4 consecutive bad meals there, as have others (maybe they haven't all had 4, but everyone I know seems to think it has gone steeply downhill). Really seems like they aren't even trying anymore.

              P.F. Chang's. I know it is inexpensive and not trying to be much, but totally perplexing. Why do people go there ever when there are numerous just as cheap, but far better Chinese food restaurants in every city in this country? It's not like you need black tie or to know how to read Mandarin to go to most Chinese restaurants.

              19 Replies
                1. re: ScotchandSirloin

                  Radius peaked almost ten years ago. It's a waste of money now.

                  1. re: ScotchandSirloin

                    PF Changs customers usually want something more exotic than their usual Olive Garden, Chili's or Applebee's.

                    1. re: trufflehound

                      and they want to find it at upscale malls, when the wait at the cheesecake factory is too long.

                    2. re: ScotchandSirloin

                      Not just better Chinese in every city, but in the case of the Transportation Building one, dozens of superior restaurants just a couple of blocks away.


                      1. re: ScotchandSirloin

                        PF Chang's is convenient, consistent, and predictable. There definitely AREN'T better Chinese restaurants in every city in the country; for a lot of people, that's their only exposure to Chinese food. And for people somewhere like Boston, they may feel that an unintimidating, fairly-decent Chinese meal at a chain restaurant is far preferable to an unknown quantity that might be far better but could be far worse.

                        1. re: Boston_Otter

                          You'd be surprised at how many better Chinese restaurants there are around the country, in towns too small to even be blessed with a PF Changs. It may not be immediately evident, it may not be written up here or on Yelp, but a little bit of sniffing around often yields something better in the most unlikely of places. Which is what this board is supposed to be about. Not going for the lay-up at PF Changs (which I don't hate at all). Not sure we need to concern ourselves with the folks who are in search of the unintimidating, fairly-decent Chinese chain restaurant in a city like Boston. They don't have it that hard.

                          1. re: Nab

                            I'm sure that a lot of cities have awesome Chinese hidden in little nooks, but as a dude who spent the first 30 years of his life split between Columbus OH, Cincinnati, and Kentucky, I think the best most of middle America has to offer are lousy strip-mall "Happy Dragon Garden" spots, for the most part. PF Chang's is a big step up :)

                            1. re: Boston_Otter

                              Often times it's the Happy Dragon Garden places that end up having a separate Chinese menu full of surprises. But yes, 30 years ago, hounding was a lot harder and we didn't have awesome websites like this to help us navigate places like Columbus:

                              1. re: Nab

                                I know this is getting way off topic, but I totally agree that sites like that one (and this one!) are helping to encourage awesome foodie gems no matter where you are. I would even say that a Happy Dragon Garden that might've been scared to only offer Orange Chicken 20 yrs ago might be more willing to offer a side menu of genuine delights now that they're easier to be discovered and discussed. Kinda cool!

                                1. re: Boston_Otter

                                  I'll continue the OT..:)

                                  Years ago I had a very good meal in a Chinese restaurant in SLC. I spoke to the owner for a bit. A lot of the railroad work done in the mid 1800's was done by Chinese; some of whom opened restaurants, many in places that most of us wouldn't expect to find good Chinese food. To survive financially, they had to cater to "Americanized" tastes, but this 1 was able to put out the real mccoy after we spoke.

                                  1. re: 9lives

                                    If you have not already you must read:


                                    on this subject. well written too as she is a journalist.

                                    1. re: 9lives

                                      Getting further OT, but if it's still there, would you share the name? We go to SLC to visit relatives once or twice a year and haven't found a good Chinese restaurant yet.

                                      1. re: corduroy

                                        I'd be happy to share the name but I don't recall it.

                                        The SLC dining scene has come a long way since then.

                                        I misspoke and it was a bit out of SLC., in a small town.

                                        Point of my post was to highlighlght how "Chinese" food became a part of American culture...and it's ties to the RR industry.

                                        Hyde, Thx, I loved the prologue and will read the book ASAP.

                                        1. re: 9lives

                                          Too bad. I will continue my quest! :)

                                          It is much better than it used to be. We found some yummy Thai recently.

                          2. re: ScotchandSirloin

                            Erbaluce was discussed to death on that bum steers thread. That being said, I'm still utterly confused why people like that place.

                            1. re: ScotchandSirloin

                              My neice goes to school in Boston, and she is a celiac. She goes to PF changs because she can safely eat there, and they deliver to her dorm!

                              1. re: ScotchandSirloin

                                Not having been to one in many years I don't remember much but Where I live almost all the Chinese food is inedible to the point where I don't even go anymore. Central PA is the home of the fried buffet and unless seine has a good suggestion, I would happily welcome a PF Changs just to eat something moderately decent if not authentic or stellar. Heck, I would appreciate clean at this point.

                                1. re: melpy

                                  That's another big reason for PF Changs crowds. My family loves Chinese food but I can count on two fingers the number of 'authentic' Chinese places around them that aren't grimy strip-mall spots. PF Changs is clean, friendly, and a classy-looking place for a meal compared to most Asian spots around there.