Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
Oct 10, 2013 08:39 PM

Overrated & Overhyped, 2013

I figured since the last thread that has caught some traction is six years old, lets start a fresh one, shall we?

Since I've now been here close to 20 years, I have lots of opinions about lots of places. But I'd love to hear more about some of the newer spots that I haven't gotten a chance to visit yet....

We can all rehash the standard lightening rods of the city, and whether we think they are all that or not. But it'd be a bit more interesting to discuss more relevant places than CPK, Langers, In n Out, Fathers Office, Apple Pan & Tito's.

I'll start with a few I think are overrated:
Lucques & Tavern
Now I know I will ruffle some feathers here, but my issues aren't even with the food at either of these places, which I think is good. But at both places, I had service issues that are just not on a par with the hype they get, and price they command. In fact, I believe service can make or break you, as there are plenty of spots with shit for food, and yet they stay open forever....

What are some of your picks?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. re: jessejames

      Providence and Church & State for sure.
      And can't imagine Connie & Ted's will not also qualify, but I will never step foot in the place to find out.
      I mean, $20+ for a lobster roll!

      1. re: carter

        Re: C&T's...... For those of us who grew up on that food and crave it mercilessly, $20 is a small price to pay compared to a ticket to the east coast.....

        1. re: Dirtywextraolives

          I have not been to Connie and Ted's, $20 for good quality seafood doesn't actually sound that bad to me. It's the same price on the east coast, no? (The lobster roll I had in Boston a few yrs back was $25)

        2. re: carter

          $20 seems like the going rate for a lobster roll around town.

          1. re: ns1

            For what quantity should be the next question.
            Locally, lobster has almost no taste distinction and most places tend to sell it as an attraction, yet the end result ends up tasteless, and lobster does not start out with lots of taste, so the effort to achieve that goal has to be significant.
            As to the need for a roll to enjoy lobster, that is nonsense.
            No bread product will improve the taste of another product, especially one like lobster. The sauce is the whole issue, and $20 or more for a sauce, well....

            1. re: ns1

              Agreed...beyond the food trucks (where you need to spend more for the "extra/double" lobster to get the same amount as the other places), ~$20 is about the price of a decent lobster roll least the going rate at Little Fork and Joan's on Third circa Spring 2013

            2. re: carter

              LOL wtf is this man. I did a quick search for "best lobster roll boston"


              Pretty much every freaking lobster roll on this list is $20++

              1. re: ns1

                You're not figuring in the exchange rate.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  1 to 1 -or if you're talking exchange of green stuff to lobster roll 20 to 1.

              2. re: carter

                <$20 for a lobster roll>

                It's not the reason I'll 'never step foot in the place' again....for a great lobster roll in LA it seems to be the average price.

                I find the food mediocre, at best.

              3. re: jessejames

                I've only been once to Providence and it was NYE, so maybe it's not a fair assessment, but I wasn't impressed at all.

                1. re: jessejames

                  Providence: disagree, been there several times & always found the food & service to be sublime. Church & State: absolutely agree: good food but dismal service.

                  1. re: medrite

                    Providence -- wicked overrated, overpriced and too much foam and the boullebaise at church and state the thing to get? those snail puffs look good.

                2. Gjelina. I think the food is quite good, but I was expecting to have an experience verging on orgasmic based on the comments here and, well, it wasn't. And I remember someone saying that the interior is "warm and masculine." My thought: "How can you tell??? It's so goddamn dark in here!"

                  1. Father's Off--oh, um....

                    I'm not sure if it's really overhyped or if I just had really high expectations, but Bucato was rather disappointing. Similarly Taberna Arros y Vi. Not to say either was bad, and the service at both places were good, but the food didn't wow me.

                    26 Replies
                    1. re: PeterCC

                      So what were your thoughts on Bucato's supposedly ethereal pasta?

                          1. re: Servorg

                            It's worth noting that Bucato has seemingly responded to all of the criticism and increased its portion sizes somewhat.

                            Comparing my first time there which was about 2-3 weeks after opening, to my last time there, which was about 2 weeks ago, the pasta's seemed to be almost twice as large. I agree that previously it seemed like it was "individual tasting portions". I think they actually fixed that, so it is worth going back to give it another whirl I'd say.

                            If you were not impressed by the foccacia though, maybe it's not for you. Personally, that is my favorite bread in the world.

                            The vegetables on the menu really shouldn't be missed either. The Sicilian Cauliflower, the simple Figs and Burrata, the Squash Blossoms...all phenomenal. Funke specialized in vegetables at Rustic Canyon. It's a huge miss not ordering any of them.

                            Also, the one miss I had was with the pesto gnochetti. So there are some misses I guess (though by a miss here I mean more of "not mind-blowingly awesome" than "bad"). But if you get the cacio e pepe, or the bianco ragu, I would find it difficult to believe that anyone would not have their mind blown.

                            I personally don't think the meat section of Bucato is it's strong section. The pork chop I had there was ok, even quite good, but nothing compared to what one would have at, say, Salt's Cure.

                            I've had two of the best meals of my life at Bucato, but it seems like going in with some research about what to order can make all the difference in the world.

                            1. re: Stravinsky

                              I'll go eventually. Glad to hear that the portion sizes were increased based on feedback from the "blog-o-sphere." I still have an issue with their "same day reservation policy." For those who are celebrating a special occasion that seems really tone deaf.

                              1. re: Servorg

                                Go at/after 9:00 pm. You won't have trouble getting a table.

                                1. re: Stravinsky

                                  I'm up at 2AM to ride my bike (like now), so after 9PM does not work for me.

                                  1. re: Servorg

                                    It's just 6:30 pm here in Tokyo and I am about to go out to have dinner. Enjoy your bike ride. Curious to know what you are riding...

                                    1. re: Tripeler

                                      Just home and hope you had a nice dinner. Now my day starts in earnest.


                                      1. re: Servorg

                                        Wow, Servorg, quite a contemporary bike. I have a 1987 Cinelli roadbike with Campy C-record group. Compared to yours, it is The Flintstones, but I like it.

                                    2. re: Servorg

                                      So, you don't eat dinner at normal times would you go to Bucato anyway?

                                      I guess it's just not the restaurant for you. *shrugs* They can't accommodate everyone

                                      1. re: Stravinsky

                                        " would you go to Bucato anyway?"

                                        Uh, earlier?

                                        1. re: Servorg

                                          You go to bed at 6 PM man! Do you really want to eat right before bed? I think if you went at 5 you could easily get a table.

                                          I guess you could go on the weekend during their brunch? I haven't been for the brunch though, so can't speak about how it holds up to dinner. The main thing is the pastas there, and I'm not sure if they still do them for brunch.

                                          1. re: Stravinsky

                                            Are you just making this up as you go? I generally try to get to bed by 9:30 or so, depending on what happens. And my problem with Bucato's policy of no reservations until the day of one's dinner is because, when you are celebrating a special event like an anniversary or a birthday you like to know you aren't going to fail to deliver on dinner at your chosen restaurant and end up having to scramble something else up at the last minute.

                                            1. re: Servorg

                                              You said you go on a bike ride at 2 AM. I assume you wakeup before then. Most people sleep about 8 hours. 8 hours from 2AM = 6PM.

                                              Are special occasions you primary way of eating out at restaurants? Or, I mean, do you attend them often enough that the majority of your meals are eaten as part of them?

                                              1. re: Stravinsky

                                                I get about 4 to 5 hours of sleep most nights. I wake up and am out the door and on my bike 12 minutes after that.

                                                I very recently ran into Bucato's policy because I wanted to make a reservation for a birthday dinner and found out about their "same day policy" then. It will change when the next not thing comes along and they rethink their idiocy.

                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                  For what it's worth, I went for brunch on Sunday a few weeks ago, and though I had made a reservation, the restaurant was only about 25% full. Walking in would have been easy.

                                                  1. re: aching

                                                    Sounds like a plan. I just looked at your post on your meal and the green eggs and ham sounds great.. What time were you there?

                                                    1. re: Servorg

                                                      I think it was 10:30, might have been 10.

                                  2. re: Servorg

                                    I agree. I find their same day reservation policy ridiculous. At the risk of getting slammed since Bucato seems to be the new Chowhound darling, I have to say that while the service was efficient, I didn't love the experience. I fluctuated between being too hot and too cold, which is par for the course with patio heating. Also, I'm getting tired of the "small plates" concept. That said, the food was hit and miss. The highlights of our meal were the squash blossoms and cauliflower and I would return just for those dishes (but sit inside at the bar). The hanger steak was tough and over cooked. The orecchiette with sausage was too salty. The polenta with mushroom and egg as well as the cacio e pepe were just not memorable.

                                    1. re: whatsfordinner

                                      Good to know. Thanks for the honest assessment of your experience.

                                      1. re: whatsfordinner

                                        QUOTE: "Also, I'm getting tired of the 'small plates' concept."

                                        You are not alone in this. Especially when said plates can be very, VERY pricey....

                                        1. re: ilysla

                                          I especially dislike the concept when there are more than 2 people and you have to accommodate the individual tastes of everyone in the group. So often the dishes don't work together. Also, I'm greedy - if the dish is really good then I want more than a couple of bites. And, as you mentioned, it can get very expensive very quickly.

                                          1. re: whatsfordinner

                                            Har! Yes, sometimes I want the plate to myself. ;) I do have to say, though, that I think that tapas make *more* sense when you have more than 2 people.... The cost not only gets divided, but you get to sample more dishes. Sometimes wait staff at various restaurants will recommend we order like 3-4 tapas per person. I have a big appetite, but that's just a waste of food (esp since I don't think the food at most tapas-style places travels or re-heats well).

                                        2. re: whatsfordinner

                                          Yeah, Bucato does not shine in the meat department for some reason.

                                          They excel in vegetables, bread, and pasta.

                                          I am surprised to hear you didn't like the cacio e pepe though. I love that dish. J Gold called it the best pasta dish in LA right now.

                                          Over the summer I had what locals said was the best cacio e pepe in Rome, and I thought Bucato's version was more memorable.

                                          Some of the pasta dishes don't seem as great as the others though. Like the gnochetti with pesto.

                                          If you decide to go back, get the pasta with bianco ragu though. If you don't like that, then I'd say you're safe in never returning.

                                          Maybe try the figs and burrata, too. And get some bread! =P

                                          1. re: Stravinsky

                                            To be honest, I'm just not crazy about cacio e pepe and we wouldn't have ordered it if it were just my husband and me. We wouldn't have ordered the polenta either. I did like the texture of both pastas though. They ran out of focaccia the night we were there, but the batard with goat cheese butter was amazing. We also had the artichokes, which were good but a little over salted (it's rare that a dish is too salty for me) and not as delicious as the squash blossoms or cauliflower. I'm willing to give Bucato another chance, but only if I go with just my husband and we sit at the bar. Hopefully they'll have the uni, which wasn't on the menu the night we were there.

                              2. overrated and overhyped are two completely different words. and i will say "hype" is one of the most misused words on chowhound.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: linus

                                  You seem to be saying that hype is being over hyped on Chowhound...or maybe that's just me being hyper...?

                                  1. re: Servorg

                                    forgive yourself, servorg. surrender to a higher power. don't go chasing waterfalls.

                                    1. re: linus

                                      I only chase them in my pype dreams...

                                      As to some of the places mentioned here for not living up to their "publicity" like Lucques for instance. I have loved their short ribs dish and, when they had it on their menu, the suckling pig. It's when I've strayed away from those dishes that it hasn't lived up to its rep.

                                      1. re: Servorg

                                        Luques' suckling pig was underhyped and underrated!

                                        1. re: Ciao Bob

                                          Lucques' suckling pig was fabulous. The short ribs are still the best in town. I don't feel that Lucques is overrated. The kitchen turns out consistently good food. Is it terribly exciting food? No. It is food that, to me, always tastes good and made with the best ingredients. I always leave Lucques feeling very happy and satisfied.

                                2. Pizzeria Mozza. The pizza is not that good. The crust is odd and too salty and generally takes up about half the slice. If not for Nancy Silverton at the helm, I'd imagine it would be regarded as merely decent.

                                  It should by no means be considered the number one pizza in LA. Off the top of my head, I prefer Settebello, Sotto, and even Pitfire. Along with Michael's in Long Beach. Even 9th Street in downtown.

                                  (Upon reflection, I must say I have not noticed too much affection for Pizzeria Mozza on here, but the media/critics just cannot get enough.)

                                  24 Replies
                                  1. re: set0312

                                    You have to remember, back in the day when Pizzeria Mozza opened, Sotto and Settebello had not. LA had not had its Neapolitan pizza renaissance yet. Back then, it might well have been best pizza in LA. After 50-60 visits during that time, I haven't gone once the last year. My tastes also preferring Neapolitan style pizza these days.

                                    1. re: set0312

                                      We loved our meal at Pizzeria Mozza, but we didn't get any pizza. :-) we got bone marrow, burrata caprese, chicken liver bruschetta, insalata di testa, and it was plenty of food for two and was excellent. We felt no need to try the pizza (though the clam one beckoned me). And we thought the butterscotch budino was actually not overhyped; it was as amazing as everyone said.

                                      1. re: PeterCC

                                        I wonder if they serve any Mozza Ball Soup?

                                        1. re: PeterCC

                                          <The butterscotch budino was actually not overhyped>

                                          This is where I'll chime in...

                                          I used to feel the same and now...
                                          I've had better in some of the most under hyped places.

                                          1. re: latindancer

                                            That doesn't necessarily mean Mozza's is overhyped if the others are under. Let's work toward everything being properly hyped!

                                            We can start by you sharing what these places are! My wife would definitely appreciate finding better butterscotch pudding than Mozza, since she loved theirs. ;-) Or are these places not in L.A.?

                                            1. re: PeterCC

                                              As you know Peter, we put "them" up on a pedestal just so they can be ripped down (and have farther to fall) because it makes us feel so very good inside (schadenfreude anyone?).

                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                Au contraire, Servong.

                                                I love their pudding, have been known to do a u-turn on Melrose to park in front of pick-up, and have eaten it in big 5 bites all the way home while driving.
                                                It's outstanding.
                                                I'm just saying there're others out there that are worth trying.

                                              2. re: PeterCC

                                                Let me rephrase...

                                                I love their budino and don't think it's overhyped AND I've had better butterscotch pudding that satisfies MY tastebuds better.
                                                How's that?

                                                I was in Denver, a few weeks ago, and of all places, because I consider salted butterscotch pudding *crack*, I ordered it at Yardhouse.
                                                Blasphemy, I know. Certainly not CH worthy according to all who know all things 'food' but this pudding was outstanding.
                                                I have no idea what LA's Yardhouse is like because I've only been for drinks at the one downtown.
                                                I've had other places, I'll have to think awhile where (obviously not noteworthy) the pudding was also great.

                                                1. re: PeterCC

                                                  # 1 butterscotch pudding for me is at Jar. # 2 is at AOC. # 3 is at Pizzeria Mozza. And # 4 (technically a pie) is the butterscotch pie at Pie n Burger. A distant # 5 is the butterscotch pudding at Milk (in their glass display case)...

                                                  1. re: silence9

                                                    Right now for us it's Mozza #1, Gjelina #2, but it's obviously a limited sample. Will have to check out Jar and AOC; the latter (or any of Goin's places) has been on my to-try list for a while. Thanks.

                                                    1. re: PeterCC

                                                      they have a great hot fudge sundae at jar too with side cars of chocolate fudge and caramel....

                                              3. re: PeterCC

                                                Their clam pizza is just okay, IMO. Nothing like the New Haven pies.....

                                                1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                  Well, kind of like your comment about C&T and a plane ticket, there's just not that many places serving clam pizza here.

                                                  1. re: PeterCC

                                                    True, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a few with it on their menus....I haven't tried them all. I did enjoy the one at Nicky D's in was like a white clam sauce on pizza dough, which is about how I now make it at home, since what they sell as littlenecks out here aren't even east coast clams.

                                                  2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                    Comparing Mozza Pizza to New Haven Pizza is like comparing apples and oranges. The only thing they have in common, apart from the name, is that they are both yeast based starches topped with cheese. Totally different beast.

                                                    Same with the Mozza vs. Settebello comparison, BTW. It's just a different dish.

                                                    I could so go for some Frank Pepe's...

                                                    1. re: Savour

                                                      I don't even think the clam pie at Mozza had cheese...... Can't remember, it was a while ago.

                                                      And I wasn't comparing them. I was using NH pizza as a reference point since I knew Petercc would get it.

                                                  3. re: PeterCC

                                                    Actually I would say that budino was overrated and overhyped (for me). I was expecting something much more.

                                                  4. re: set0312

                                                    Completely agree with you. Pizzeria Mozza is massively overhyped. The pizza is good, but not worth the endless praise, especially considering how meager they are with the toppings. The highly praised sausage pizza, for example, only has a few bits of dried out ordinary sausage on top. You would be lucky to get more than 2 bits of sausage on each piece of your small $17 pizza

                                                    The highly touted butterscotch budino is also OK, but nothing extraordinary the way it is obsessed about. I thought it was pretty boring and reminded me of an expensive version of butterscotch Jell-o

                                                    You are absolutely right about the Silverton name. She must have a very talented PR agency because I have yet to try anything truly spectacular from any of her places

                                                    1. re: Ernie

                                                      Not sure if it counts, but try out Chi Spacca!

                                                      1. re: Stravinsky

                                                        I have to say I was sorely disappointed in my dinner at Chi Spacca last week. We had the foccacia di recco, the beef and bone marrow pie and the roasted cauliflower with crushed lemon bagna cauda. Nothing I had would make me want to go again. The dessert was the saving grace for the meal. The banana mascarpone crostata was delicious.

                                                        1. re: Servorg

                                                          Wow, completely shocked. We may have to take note that our tastes are very different haha

                                                          However, although last time I went I had the beef and bone marrow pie, and my dining companion still calls me up almost weekly to say we ought to go get it again... I feel that you seem to have missed out on the best parts of the menu.

                                                          You didn't get the affettati misti! How could you go to the place lauded for having THE meat curing program in LA and not get the platter of salumi??

                                                          That pretty much goes for meats in general. The place is very meat-centric, and the more meat you order, the better. The Moorish lamb shoulder chop for example, or the sleeper hit, the chicken diavola. In comparison to the pie, I would say those dishes are outrageously good where the pie is merely good. But clearly it depends upon whether one is a pie person or not I suppose.

                                                          Also, the testa frittata is a fascinating dish of eggs, prawns, Calabrian chiles, and headcheese that I found uniquely wonderful.

                                                          I would suggest returning and ordering more meat dishes, as Chad Colby pours his heart and soul (and a tremendous amount of food science knowledge) into his meat.

                                                          But, full disclosure, I am also partial to the atmosphere of Chi Spacca. One of the few places that plays decent jazz, in an appropriately lit setting.

                                                          Still, I have dreams of the meat there...the lamb, the chicken... one day the bistecca fiorentina, if I can round up some friends. (It appears to be the only true one in town).

                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                            Had the same experience at Mo Chica very beautiful dishes but underwhelming and unmemorable...don't think I'm a fan of Zarate's food.

                                                        2. re: Ernie

                                                          y'know, just because a lot of people like a restaurant, or a dish at a restaurant, it does not mean it was "massively overhyped."