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Overvalued Restaurants


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Over in this topic, Fat Guy is asking about recommendations for undervalued restaurants...

places that are as good as the places with a lot of critical and popular acclaim, but that don't have the same kind of buzz.

Here, I 'd like to find out what restaurants people think are about the opposite.

That is, places that are packed, that are hard or impossible to get into, that in your opinion, aren't worthy of the time or money you spent there.

Where the price/value is so skewed that you think, "what are these people, crazy?"

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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waverly inn. i think the food is well-prepared but pedestrian. last i went, they still had tuna tartare on the menu and while i enjoyed their mac & cheese w/black truffles (i think off the menu these days), the kitchen is not doing anything innovative. great service however and our server was very generous with the black truffles. of course you go here for the scene, not necessarily for the food.

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1.  Whatever the name of the restaurant in the Bowery Hotel is.

2.  Tao.

3.  The place that begins with "O" on 57th & Lex.

Gemma.

Tao = ridiculous. Good call.

Any Steve Hanson restaurant?

Any meatpacking spot other than Scarpetta? That may be too harsh. I'll have to think about that one.

Tempted to say Nobu, but I have to admit I've had a few good meals there. It's so expensive and the quality is just not there - and now I can't justify going there.

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Nobu and Babbo strike me as good examples, not because they aren't capable of delivering great meals on occasion, but because on merit alone they should not be quite as popular as they are.

completely agree w/nobu, but my experiences at babbo have been nothing less than spectacular, though i admit the desserts aren't all that exciting. luckily my dinners haven't been affected by its unevenness about which i hear more and more.

peter luger is another overvalued restaurant. i know many would vehemently disagree. on the flip side, i'd love to see a peter luger burger joint.

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peter luger is another overvalued restaurant. i know many would vehemently disagree. on the flip side, i'd love to see a peter luger burger joint.

Sadly, I would have to agree (excepting their home fried potatoes, which are on my list of Favorite Dishes Ever). I've been going to Peter Luger since I was a kid - my parents believe there's not another steakhouse in NY. It is not what it once was, but its reputation keeps them coming in droves.

I can't believe weinoo didn't like my Steve Hanson comment.

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I can't believe weinoo didn't like my Steve Hanson comment.

I don't quite get it either. Hanson has a knack for opening places that are incredibly crowded (he closes the ones that aren't), and the quality is not commensurate with that. Of course, that's also true of the Times Square Olive Garden.
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I can't believe weinoo didn't like my Steve Hanson comment.

Oh, of course I did. I've had friends from the 'burbs who want to come in and have dinner. When I ask what they're in the mood for, it's amazing how often a place like Blue Water Grill comes up - and I gently steer them away from that clusterf#%k.

It's almost an oxymoron - an overvalued Steve Hanson restaurant. But he's laughing all the way to the bank, so...

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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I can't believe weinoo didn't like my Steve Hanson comment.

Oh, of course I did. I've had friends from the 'burbs who want to come in and have dinner. When I ask what they're in the mood for, it's amazing how often a place like Blue Water Grill comes up - and I gently steer them away from that clusterf#%k.

EXACTLY. They look at me like I'm nuts - how could I not appreciate how awesome Blue Water Grill is?

It's not a restaurant, but when I see people lined up around the block for Magnolia Bakery all I can think is that the emperor has no clothes.

Spice Market (which was severely smacked down by Bruni today)

I can't believe it took me this long to come up with these: the eternally & inexplicably popular Tavern on the Green and One if By Land!

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1. Mas (farmhouse)

2. Pastis (can't believe no one else has mentioned this yet...it's the king of overvalued. For the record, I like Balthazar, however.)

3. Mas (farmhouse)

4. <wincing in anticipation of the flaming I'm going to get> Hill Country...I just don't get it.

5. Mas (farmhouse)

6. Devi (quite good, but not THAT different from other high end Indian I've had for 2/3 the price.)

7. Per Se (great execution, but flavors didn't amaze)

8. Telepan

9. Cookshop (I like the idea, but the food bores)

10. What the hell....Mas (farmhouse)

Hope I don't make too many enemies with this list.

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1.  Mas (farmhouse)

2.  Pastis (can't believe no one else has mentioned this yet...it's the king of overvalued.  For the record, I like Balthazar, however.)

3.  Mas (farmhouse)

4.  <wincing in anticipation of the flaming I'm going to get> Hill Country...I just don't get it.

5.  Mas (farmhouse)

6.  Devi (quite good, but not THAT different from other high end Indian I've had for 2/3 the price.)

7.  Per Se (great execution, but flavors didn't amaze)

8.  Telepan

9.  Cookshop (I like the idea, but the food bores)

10. What the hell....Mas (farmhouse)

Hope I don't make too many enemies with this list.

I'm curious about your (strong) feeling about Mas since I have always wanted to try it. I was a fan of Galen when he was at Bouley. Would you expand on your feeling that Mas is over valued.

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1.  Mas (farmhouse)

2.  Pastis (can't believe no one else has mentioned this yet...it's the king of overvalued.  For the record, I like Balthazar, however.)

3.  Mas (farmhouse)

4.  <wincing in anticipation of the flaming I'm going to get> Hill Country...I just don't get it.

5.  Mas (farmhouse)

6.  Devi (quite good, but not THAT different from other high end Indian I've had for 2/3 the price.)

7.  Per Se (great execution, but flavors didn't amaze)

8.  Telepan

9.  Cookshop (I like the idea, but the food bores)

10. What the hell....Mas (farmhouse)

Hope I don't make too many enemies with this list.

I'm curious about your (strong) feeling about Mas since I have always wanted to try it. I was a fan of Galen when he was at Bouley. Would you expand on your feeling that Mas is over valued.

My attitude towards Mas is probably overstated for the sake of comedy in my post. But my experiences there (two of them) left me feeling underwhelmed by the food, and outraged by the prices. The food was acceptable, if a bit unmemorable. One of the four things we ate was really good, the other three items just standard and not very seasoned. I much preferred his cooking when he was at Bouley. But the prices were so far out of line that I couldn't believe that anyone paid them unless they were drunk. I went back just to make sure I hadn't been on an off night. I didn't return after that. I'm assuming they may have tamed the price points since, but at the time, the mains were all in the high $30's to mid $40's, which was higher than many of the top restaurants in all of NY at the time. And that was at a venue I perceived to be in the category of "good local restaurant". I certainly didn't get the impression that it was a high profile destination restaurant, nor that it could become one. They also did a few other things that put me off. They purposely didn't reveal the prices of the day's specials, which despite using standard ingredients (halibut, if I remember correctly) were a full $10 higher than the already overpriced regular mains. To pay almost $50 for a dull halibut main was shocking, and deserved warning. Then there was the wine service. I was familiar with many of the bottles on the list as they were fairly standard. But the markup was between 4 and 5 times, rather than the usual 2-3. Also, they had exactly no bottles on the list under $65. Again, I'm guessing all this has changed, but the pretense was off-putting enough that I wasn't eager to return. And finally, the service (which I've heard from others can be quite good at times) was VERY condescending, and they tried several times to "sell me a bill of goods" with respect to wines that they clearly didn't know anything about themselves. They gave me a bunch of made up false info and were quite snotty about it. They were faking it, under the assumption that I didn't know better. So all that said, just the fact that they're still in business suggests that many of these things must have changed since, as very few places get away with that level of Emperor's New Clothes in this town without a lot of help from out of towners.

Edited by LPShanet (log)
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1.  Mas (farmhouse)

2.  Pastis (can't believe no one else has mentioned this yet...it's the king of overvalued.  For the record, I like Balthazar, however.)

3.  Mas (farmhouse)

4.  <wincing in anticipation of the flaming I'm going to get> Hill Country...I just don't get it.

5.  Mas (farmhouse)

6.  Devi (quite good, but not THAT different from other high end Indian I've had for 2/3 the price.)

7.  Per Se (great execution, but flavors didn't amaze)

8.  Telepan

9.  Cookshop (I like the idea, but the food bores)

10. What the hell....Mas (farmhouse)

Hope I don't make too many enemies with this list.

Although I like Mas better than LPShanet does, it is over-priced for what you get. Pastis...absolutely: the perfect example. For Per Se, just read the account of FG's recent meal there: no other restaurant in New York can do this. Telepan has slowed down considerably since it opened, so at this point I would say the market has it fairly valued.

Hill Country regularly makes lists of the top handful of BBQ places in the city, practically no matter who is doing the ratings, so I can't agree with that one.

I've no recent experience with Cookshop or Devi, but Cookshop seems to have fallen off the radar, so it may again be a case of the market having adjusted to the right level.

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I think Cookshop does. "Overvalued" as it's being used here has nothing to do with price, as I understand. It just means overrated.

I think Cookshop is an entirely ordinary restaurant that somehow has a pretty good reputation.

(I think people would have an easier time understanding this thread and the "Undervalued" thread if the threads were entitled "Overrated" and "Underrated" rather than "Overvalued" and "Undervalued". The use of "value" has some people thinking that price/quality ratio has something to do with it, when FG, who started it all, has explicitly denied that's the case.)

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
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I'm unconvinced that Pastis is overrated, though I'm certainly willing to hear some explanations of why. However, every cocktail or food item I've had there has been quite good, as has my service, so to me, that constitutes fair value. It's pricey, but that's because of the location and ambiance.

I think there are a lot of overrated or at least overly patronized places in the Theater District, for obvious reasons. For example, John's Pizzeria on 44th St. is mediocre and really not worth going to.

Another pizzeria that could almost define the word "overrated" is Lombardi's. Major tourist spot, because of its claim to being the first and best. To be fair, after a pretty worthless meal there with the eGullet Pizza Survey, I saw no reason to ever go back, so there's a (probably vanishingly small) chance that things have greatly improved since then. Meanwhile, Arturo's, nearby, has continued to put out consistently good New York pizza in a place with equally "old New York" ambiance plus good live jazz - though I'd have to say that, given the crowding there, it's certainly properly valued in that respect.

The fact that anyone still goes to Wo Hop and that a fair number of extraordinarily misguided people (most of them not "foodies," but a surprising number posting to food boards like Chowhound) think it's the "best in Chinatown" shows that it's overrated. The only way for it to be properly rated would be for it to close or be considered merely the province of "guilty" nostalgia.

Edited by Pan (log)

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I'm unconvinced that Pastis is overrated, though I'm certainly willing to hear some explanations of why. However, every cocktail or food item I've had there has been quite good, as has my service, so to me, that constitutes fair value. It's pricey, but that's because of the location and ambiance..

FWIW, I agree with this.

In fact, Pastis would be at the head of my list of "Restaurants That Don't Need To Be Good But Nevertheless Are."

I think it speaks volumes for Keith McNally's integrity that he maintains the quality he does at a restaurant that would be a cash cow even if it served nothing but steaming plates of pigeon shit.

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
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I'm unconvinced that Pastis is overrated, though I'm certainly willing to hear some explanations of why. However, every cocktail or food item I've had there has been quite good, as has my service, so to me, that constitutes fair value. It's pricey, but that's because of the location and ambiance..

FWIW, I agree with this.

In fact, Pastis would be at the head of my list of "Restaurants That Don't Need To Be Good But Nevertheless Are."

I think it speaks volumes for Keith McNally's integrity that he maintains the quality he does at a restaurant that would be a cash cow even if it served nothing but steaming plates of pigeon shit.

:laugh: That's hilarious, and I agree with you.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Cookshop

Telepan

Shake Shack USQ

Devi

Keen's

Sushi of Gari UWS

Neo Sushi

La Esquina

Del Posto

Artisinal

Esca

Shun Lee

Del Posto is a great example. Forgot that one on my list...maybe since people don't talk about it as much any more. Shake Shack has a USQ location??

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