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May 24, 2013 09:49 AM

Restaurants Change to my Sorrow

Maybe it is just my opinion, l am used to being the only one on a page. l am in San Francisco this week and the last two nights have returned to a restaurant that provided on of my best meals last year and a new one that has been lauded as the Fergus Henderson style of cooking rarely seen in US.
While both restaurants served nice food with good service in amiable surroundings, neither lived up to their old menu or old press reports. The food was frankly boring, nothing l could not have cooked for myself and thus no real reason to go to them.

Is it that restaurants as they get more well-known then become more mainstream and are then visited by patrons who are not as food motivated as we chowhounds might be and therefore do not care if the menu consists of salmon, lamb chops, and half a chicken as zillions of other restaurants l avoid do as well.

Must l go to a new daring place within a month or two or miss the original reason the place appealed to me.

These two lovely places on the last two nights when leaving made me feel l had wasted my time and money and the research l did was useless as was vastly outdated. As l spend a lot of time in europe and find changes are slower to occur if at all and many restauranteurs take what their initial concept was and rarely if ever change it, boy not here. Then again l might just be unlucky, but three places on the west coast l loved, loved, loved, last year were IMHO mediocre in both their menu selection and the now lack of edgy presentation.

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  1. Sad!!!! I have no idea if these restaurants were meeting their owners' profit needs/expectations, but the restaurant scene is so competitive that they could easily have felt that changes were needed to maintain business. It seems to me that many restaurants routinely re-invent themselves in the US, to stay relevant and alive. I don't really know how that compares with Europe, though it feels as if time is much more compressed here than there.

    Just because we find a place we love, doesn't necessarily mean that everyone else loves it equally.

    1. I hope you post your comments on the SF board, and ask for some feedback on the rest of your plans for the week.

      I know what you mean about sameness in restaurant menus. Everyone seems to be trying to copy the success of other restaurants.

      1. The average diners' tastes ARE changing. We see similar on several local boards.

        They want Morton's, or Planet Hollywood, and demand that they be seated in cut-offs, and tank tops.

        The patrons, who want something out of the mainstream, are falling by the wayside.

        Familiarity is in, and ultra-casual attire follow closely.


        1 Reply
        1. re: Bill Hunt

          Sheesh, if we can't rely on the hoi polloi to determine restaurant quality why do we expect the same people to elect our leaders.

        2. In my opinion, the heart of the matter is captured in your use of the words "daring" and "edgy." Such places are in constant competition with upstarts trying to be innovative and they have a clientele much of which has no loyalty a particular place but is constantly on the lookout for a new hot place. These places (most of them, anyway) come and go like everything else which is fashionable.

          I prefer classics which, by definition, never go out of style. There are a few such places to which I return again and again to eat the same meal. Some would call that boring, but if it's a dish I wouldn't cook for myself, and consistently well prepared, I'll stick with it and enjoy it every time.

          Now and then a regular favorite falls by the wayside. It's a disappointment, but they have no obligation to keep going for my benefit. Life is change. I move on.