Really—my daughter lives in that neighborhood!!!Youthful predators indeed!
Sokolov’s a savvy guy, and while I agree with most of his debunks (the ones that I’ve eaten at), I would gladly have a steak from Peter Luger and tart tatin from the Ivy for my last meal. [:D]
List or no, as a confirmed carnivore, I still plan on going to Peter Luger’s at some point.
I was in NYC for a 3 month project this summer and happened to be there for my birthday. When I said that I wanted to go to Peter Luger’s for my birthday, our son, who has lived in Manhattan for the past 9 years and had never been to Luger’s, said "Oh dad, that place is a dump where you have to sit at wooden picnic tables and they are living on their past reputation". SO I let him take me to Union Square Cafe for my birthday on Friday, and I made reservations for Saturday at Luger’s and invited him and his girlfriend to go slumming with my wife and me. After eating at Luger’s they acknowledged that it was better than "Frankie and Johnny’s", "Smith & Wollensky’s", "Ruth’s Chris" "The Palm"or any other steakhouse we had tried in NYC. We were all raving about the porterhouse, the cheesecake and the Bacon, tommato and onion appetizers. Over-rated? Sometimes I think it is just the "in" thing to be contrary.
I still prefer a the chateaubriands at a couple of North Carolina steakhouses (Angus Barn in Raleigh and Staley’s in Winston Salem), and Johnny’s at the Omaha stockyards, but Peter Luger’s is absolutely not over rated!
List or no, as a confirmed carnivore, I still plan on going to Peter Luger’s at some point.
Oh, I won’t disagree with you about Keller’s flavors or inventiveness or his brilliance in pairing strange things to make them into culinary nirvana…..BUT…..since we’re talking about being overrated, I did not think that this was sublime enough to merit the $600 tab.
About the small portions and many of them: in Brazil they love to eat tiro gusto which is small portions of grilled meats, cheese, etc, they eat it with toothpicks. I don’t like gargantuan portions in front of me, but tiro gusto for two in Brazil is about $20.
I’ve got to interject a respectful disagreement regarding the French Laundry. I thought it was one of the best and most satisfying meals of my life. To me, it was all about exposure to distinct and powerful flavors. Paced properly, I feel as satisfied and full with a meal like that as I do with a more traditional appetizer/main course/dessert meal.
The real reason I’m writing is about Peter Luger’s. It’s one of my favorite restaurants, although I have no real disagreement with the author because I believe it’s considered TOO superior to other restaurants of its ilk (although I wouldn’t penalize it for the "sin" of not being in Manhattan.) But, I don’t get his remark about "youthful predators." I’ve been there 20-25 times, and have never seen one. The neighborhood is mainly Hasidim, who certainly aren’t immune to criminal behavior but generally don’t tend to be muggers, I don’t think.
Reading this makes me glad I’m a roadfooder and not a "gourmet." Sokolov is one of the famous restaurant critics, and many try to imitate him, but I still find the whole scheme pretentious. I much prefer the reviews I read here and will more often than not grace these establishments than the types listed above. That’s the price for being un-hip I suppose.
Great article. Thanks for posting it. I haven’t eaten at any of those places, but loved seeing them skewered [}:)][}:)][;)]. Best morning read I’ve had since Calvin and Hobbes stopped publishing.
The author is correct about the scarcity of negative reviews. Other cliches: ever seen anyone on a TV cooking or restaurant show taste a dish and say anything less than "Ummmm, that is sooooo good," much less "Ugh, that’s not very good." [?][?][?] Or taste for seasoning and decide the dish does NOT need more salt [?][?][?].
I’ve eaten at all the overrated restos on that list except the two in LA. Chez Panisse was wonderful back in the early 80’s as were most of them when they opened. I remember looking at the line down the sidewalk in front of K Paul’s in NOLA 10 years ago and shaking my head. Two weekends ago, on a Saturday night at 7:30, there was no line. These restaurants start out with honorable intentions of serving good food at a price that is…..well, on the high side, but still reasonable for what you get. Then they get written up in Gourmet and all the other pseudo-food magazines, the telephone starts ringing off the hook, a month to get reservations and everyone goes kookoo and says, "Shit, we can get $22.00 for the appetizer of pan-seared scallop on top of the leaf of arugula with the raspberry vinaigrette with the touch of tobikko!!!!" So instead of paying $100 for two for dinner, it’s now $350!
I have to add one more restaurant to the overrated list: The French Laundry in Yountville, CA. It normally takes 6 months to get a reservation (grrrrrrr [:(!]) but I got in through some of my Napa winery friends in short order. Thomas Keller likes to serve you about 15-20 courses, all of which are ONE BITE. That’s it, just one. Are all these little bites good? Yes, they’re very good, even outstanding……BUT….are you willing to pay $600 for two to eat little bites??? Good God! Some consider the Laundry the "Best Restaurant in America".
Just take me back to Dreamland in Birmingham for more ribs and more ribs and more ribs.
It’s time to start that list. Just open the Sterns’ books and read.
where’s the underrated list? I would be more interested in it, as "our"
type of cuisine might rate a mention or two. I’m not likely to grace any of the overrated temples soon
I read the article in today’s WSJ. For the most part, I agreed with the viewpoints of the reporter. The reputations of restaurants live and die on word-of-mouth and sometimes that reputation is based on observations made years earlier and the word of mouth that is spread is outdated.
Stephen Rushmore Jr.
Not Roadfood, for the most part, but this article from the Wall Street Journal certainly references a few places that have been discussed here….
The Overrated Restaurant
By RAYMOND SOKOLOV
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Bastide is the hottest new place to eat in Los Angeles, and the buzz in foodie circles is deafening. Booking a table there took long-distance calls, waits, epic negotiations and finally a faxed contract — requiring not only our credit-card number but our consent to surrender $100 for each no-show in our party.
Our French hosts have a word for the three-course set dinner that followed: le letdown. We could have eaten as well staying home on the other side of the country, without having to take our shoes off at airport security.
Caveat Foodie: We live in a world in which overrating restaurants is as rife as grade inflation in the Ivy League, thanks to what seems like a conspiracy of food writers and gourmets who hype by reflex. Like turf writers who are in the business of picking winning horses, food guides call what they think are the good bets — and don’t waste time on the also-rans. Think about it: When was the last time you read a negative restaurant review in a magazine or a book? And it’s no small matter. For those of you not on the brink of marriage or buying a house, picking a restaurant is probably the most expensive decision you’ll make this week — and the gastronomic equivalent of an inflated "A" can lead you astray by hundreds of dollars.
I should know. I just wore the metallic strip off my credit cards crisscrossing the country twice, from New York and Florida to Nevada and Texas, compiling my collection of America’s 10 most overrated restaurants. (And in the spirit of fairness, I also went hunting for 10 underrated restaurants). These aren’t greasy spoons with repulsive, health-endangering food. They’re the spots that get the ink and the encomia in the likes of Zagat, Esquire and Gourmet — but somehow fail to live up to their hype. To narrow down my (admittedly subjective) list, I called on years of experience as a food writer that’s taken me to hundreds of highly rated temples, as well as whispered tips from foodie friends around the country.
High ratings are often deserved, of course, and I’ve found plenty of haunts that can justify their hype — like the Inn at Little Washington in Washington, Va., and Arun’s, where you get Chicago and the nation’s best Thai meal, and Il Cenacolo, in Newburgh, N.Y., for its top Tuscan dishes and wines that make the Hudson seem like the Arno. But I’ve also found that five-star ambrosia isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. Take Alice Waters’s storied Chez Panisse, where New American cuisine got its start: It’s a fine place, yes, but it’s been wildly hyped by itself and others, and now there are dozens of restaurants that beat it at its own game.
Emeril’s, New Orleans, La.
The hyping of restaurants isn’t part of a deep, dark scheme. Big slick food magazines aren’t normally in the business of knocking restaurants off pedestals, after all. Word of mouth is well-meaning, too, but even more unreliable: If everyone you know tells you about the best restaurant in town, you’re likely to go there — and keep on repeating the word "best" — even though a little voice kept telling you "not best." In many cases, this chorus of euphoria adds up to a conspiracy of benevolence: New York’s departed Coach House, a favorite of food luminary James Beard and now the site of Mario Batali’s own much-hyped Babbo, remained popular for years after it ceased to be fabulous. Perhaps because no one had the heart — or the pugnacity — to speak ill of a beloved shrine.
But we do. Below, our first annual Your Tummy Matters, with 10 places that — in our opinion, of course — didn’t cut the mustard of their fame:
Norman’s, Coral Gables, Fla.
The Rep: American and Caribbean traditio,21,49988,0,13999,22.214.171.124
49987,49918,49918,2003-12-24 07:58:07,RE: POSTING PHOTOS ON ROADFOOD.COM ??”
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