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Lonesome Dove bistro


Nathan
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You know, the more I think about this the more I think that LD should have gotten a star.
I thought it was just barely worth a star, but on my one visit there, my girlfriend and I ordered the signature dish (Tomahawk Chop). My gut said that if that's the best they can do, then a star was awfully generous.
I've been one of his few defenders here (I don't think he's written a substantively objectionable review in a long time) but I don't see how a "satisfactory" rating is justified.  There are too many worse restaurants with a star.

Given the number of very ordinary places that have received two-star air kisses from Bruni, I can see your point. On the other hand, just because a few places have benefited from grade inflation, it doesn't mean everyone should.
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FWIW, having eaten there a couple of times -- but never having ordered the "signature" tomahawk chop & turf -- based on your and Bruni's descriptions, I have a feeling it's not near their best dish.

(If anyone cares, I'd be willing to bet, based on what I've had so far, that it's the monkfish in pozole -- which is kind of ironic considering how meat-centric this place is.)

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
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I noticed that at the end of the column, the reviewer mentions that sometimes they take coats and sometimes not. What isn't mentioned is if they ever return the coats they do take.

I think they only do if you punch them out.

Your kind of place, rich.

I'm there tonight with brass knuckles.

Speaking of Gallaghers (sorry to hijack this - but only for a moment). Friends went last night and called it the worst steak experience ever - and this from people who like the place and eat there regularly. Meat was tough and grizzled, crab cocktail was mushy and served over ice so it kept falling into cold water.

They were so angry that I heard about this at 5:45 this morning.

PS - they said my picture was on the wall with a large red "X" through it - never been "walled" before.

Not really! My cousin who is a bouncer there told me he felt bad about the incident and he wants to buy you a crab cocktail. :biggrin:

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to echo Sneakeater, although I haven't tried the "Tomahawk Chop" either, I doubt it's their best dish either. It is their most expensive of course.

I'll note that the Tomahawk Chop has apparently never been on the menu at the Ft. Worth original but was instead added for NY....or at least that's what the Ft. Worth newspaper article said.

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Looking at the reviews linked by Eater, I think we're seeing an interesting backlash against this restaurant.  I think it has to be the result of the hype attaching to Chef Neroni.  If this place had simply opened, without all the press, I can't imagine anyone would think anything other than, "this is a well above-average neighborhood Italian place."  I think all the hype has raised some people's expectations above what this modest kitchen is able to (and could be reasonably expected to) produce.

Speaking of backlashes resulting from hype . . . .

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
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  • 3 months later...
according to Eater, LD has closed.

Tim Love emailed me a few days ago to complain about my review of LD. He felt the review was misinformed in all respects except the poor service, which he insisted had been fixed. He also complained that people reviewing the restaurant didn't understand West-of-Mississippi cuisine. The email did not suggest that the restaurant was about to close, although clearly Love must have known.
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according to Eater, LD has closed.

Tim Love emailed me a few days ago to complain about my review of LD. He felt the review was misinformed in all respects except the poor service, which he insisted had been fixed. He also complained that people reviewing the restaurant didn't understand West-of-Mississippi cuisine. The email did not suggest that the restaurant was about to close, although clearly Love must have known.

interesting...you're not the first person here that he has directly responded to.

I wished him will and had a pretty good initial experience there. I do think he made some poor menu choices combined with an unfortunate location.

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That's sad to hear. LD was definitely in a poor location. The concept was a bit difficult to translate in NYC's scene. His steaks were decent as were his shrimp. Not breathtakingly stellar but solid. The service wasn't bad.

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That's sad to hear.  LD was definitely in a poor location.
I'm afraid I just don't get this. There are many successful restaurants in a five-block radius of that location. And the fact is that New Yorkers will travel to quite inconvenient locations (which this wasn't, by any means) if the restaurant is great.
The service wasn't bad.

Even Love himself concedes that the service was not acceptable when the place opened. He may have fixed it later on, but not before it was panned by virtually every critic in town. Edited by oakapple (log)
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These are just my opinions - I think it wasn't a great location. Look at Tisserie. (not a restaurant but still) They are in a prime location and even with poor service and and an inconsistent menu they are doing well.

I said the service wasn't bad but the service wasn't stellar. Saying that something wasn't bad doesn't automatically mean it was great.

Edited by Gastro888 (log)
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That's sad to hear.  LD was definitely in a poor location.
I'm afraid I just don't get this. There are many successful restaurants in a five-block radius of that location. And the fact is that New Yorkers will travel to quite inconvenient locations (which this wasn't, by any means) if the restaurant is great.
The service wasn't bad.

Even Love himself concedes that the service was not acceptable when the place opened. He may have fixed it later on, but not before it was panned by virtually every critic in town.

that was a bad location for that specific restaurant.

I kind of analogize it to Jacques-Imos...(a somewhat comparable restaurant (not in type of cuisine of course))...which is doing just fine in its location.

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that was a bad location for that specific restaurant.

Obviously there is no alternative universe in which we can test that hypothesis, but I think that "bad location" is often used as an excuse for "bad execution." Lonesome Dove had no trouble pulling in diners when it opened. I suspect that many of those diners found inconsistent execution and poor service—as I did, and as most critics did—and chose not to become regulars.

I mean, it's not as if he opened at St. Nicholas Avenue and 145th Street. The restaurant was extremely easy to get to, in a safe, popular, prosperous, and heavily populated neighborhood. It was near numerous subway lines, and within walking distance for anyone in Chelsea, Flatiron, and Union Square — fairly hip areas that are home to a wide variety of extremely successful restaurants.

To paraphrase Frank Sinatra, if you can't make it there, you can't make it anywhere.

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that was a bad location for that specific restaurant.

Obviously there is no alternative universe in which we can test that hypothesis, but I think that "bad location" is often used as an excuse for "bad execution." Lonesome Dove had no trouble pulling in diners when it opened. I suspect that many of those diners found inconsistent execution and poor service—as I did, and as most critics did—and chose not to become regulars.

I mean, it's not as if he opened at St. Nicholas Avenue and 145th Street. The restaurant was extremely easy to get to, in a safe, popular, prosperous, and heavily populated neighborhood. It was near numerous subway lines, and within walking distance for anyone in Chelsea, Flatiron, and Union Square — fairly hip areas that are home to a wide variety of extremely successful restaurants.

To paraphrase Frank Sinatra, if you can't make it there, you can't make it anywhere.

it was on a relatively benighted block...the fact that two or three blocks away is restaurant row doesn't change that. and that's just not a neighborhoody area.....(five blocks either way is another story)...Flatiron/Murray Hill is often a restaurant graveyeard.

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I think Nathan said it best when he said, "That was a bad location for that specific restaurant". It's not that bad location is often used as an excuse for bad execution. Sometimes location can be the key factor in the death of a restaurant. It all depends and unless we've an inside view we can speculate all we want but we'll never really know.

(Hell for all I know his fung shui might've been off.)

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Jacque-Imos is comfort food compared to what LD was striving for. Might have been a bit out of place but getting hammered with really bad reviews from Platt and Bruni and others along with NY just not getting the concept for the price pt was what did it. It's a shame. We had a really solid meal a couple months after its opening. The stuffed trout with bacon hash was original, executed perfectly and a beautiful looking dish. The kangaroo nachos were unique and very flavorful. I can't remember one thing we didn't like. We thought Platt's review didn't jive. Almost a personal attack. Ridiculing the decor and other incidentals. Ofcourse, Bruni more or less echoed.

I thought it was fine and they'd do fine. Chef Tim is true gentlemen. I hoped they'd prove the naysayers wrong.

That wasn't chicken

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Jacque-Imos is comfort food compared to what LD was striving for.  Might have been a bit out of place but getting hammered with really bad reviews from Platt and Bruni and others along with NY just not getting the concept for the price pt was what did it. It's a shame.  We had a really solid meal a couple months after its opening. The stuffed trout with bacon hash was original, executed perfectly and a beautiful looking dish.  The kangaroo nachos were unique and very flavorful.  I can't remember one thing we didn't like.  We thought Platt's review didn't  jive.  Almost a personal attack. Ridiculing the decor and other incidentals.  Ofcourse, Bruni more or less echoed.

I thought it was fine and they'd do fine.  Chef Tim is true gentlemen.  I hoped they'd prove the naysayers wrong.

I completely agree that location was not the determining issue with Lonesome Dove, but the very poor reviews it received. Platt's review had barely mentioned the food, but was consumed with a wilting cactus. I felt it was an obvious attack on either Tim Love personally, or "his" kind. It is unfortunate. I greatly enjoyed the food. I visited Texas in the fall, and found that this Tex Fusion food is becoming quite popular. Its ashame that the one place in NY (that I know of) which is attempting this sort of food is meeting such criticism.

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it was on a relatively benighted block...
That would be relevant if this restaurant was particularly dependent on foot traffic. I don't think that was the case here. Hardly any restaurant that opened this year had a better PR/press campaign. People knew about it, which was plainly evident by the difficulty of getting a reservation in the first couple of months.
Flatiron/Murray Hill is often a restaurant graveyeard.

Given that about 70% of NYC restaurants either fail or change hands within 5 years, just about everywhere in town could be called a restaurant graveyard in that sense.
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Perhaps if LD made some sort of drive-thru it would prove more popular!  The customers wouldn't have to look at the decor, and poor service would be expected!

I think they tried that, but the ceiling was too low and the floor too high.

Edited by rich (log)

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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