14 Nov 2012 17:06 - 14 Nov 2012 17:35#732267by Reed John
At some point though, people become conditioned to mediocrity, to a point where they don't want to seek better fare, and if they do, they might not be able to appreciate it. For instance, many Americans think of Mcdonalds' fries as the gold standard. Even people in food forums.
It's exactly the same phenomenon in popular music, where the industry waters down the music.
Yes, that's what I was driving at.
Is it really the American tourists that fill up those places in Times Square? I've only been through there a few times in it's post-porn era and noticed a lot of clearly foreign tourists.
What's wrong with Wicked and Mama Mia? Broadway musicals have always been cheezy. It's people suddenly breaking into song and choreographed dance numbers. (Having said that, I'd like to see Wicked. The premise sounds interesting. I'll wait for the film. Or read the book).
The remarkable thing about Oliver Garden is that, from what I can gather, nobody - except that one lady in North Dakota - has anything good to say about it. I went to one once a long time ago when they were new. It's crap I can cook just as well at home and I screw up most recipes. And I'm not against all such chain places. Red Lobster is ok (at least the Altoona and State College branches), Ruby Tuesdays, TGIFridays, Flingers, Chotzky's, etc, are all serviceable for what they are, especially if you're travelling and don't want to deviate too far from the interstate. But nobody has ever said anything good about Olive Garden.
There are thousands of better Italian places within a few blocks of the Times Square branch but that's more or less true for just about any Olive Garden anywhere - or at least it is in the parts of the country I'm familiar with. Maybe there aren't so many Italianish places out west.
14 Nov 2012 18:51 - 14 Nov 2012 18:59#732299by Reed John
Voted by LA Magazine as LA's best steak dinner of 2003!!!
I think I saw a segment on it on one of those Travel Channel shows about classic steak houses of America. But the reviews suggest that it's been resting on it's reputation for a long time and has really gone down hill from it's 60s heyday.
A while back, Wyatt Earp commented on some thread that he noticed that steak appears to be the default dish for any conference or business meal that is trying to impress, and yet in reality if often does not. I know what he means. The affection for steak and "steakhouses" among people - especially men of a certain age - in America has never really been part of my family's culture. For me, whenever I go out to a nicer place (on somebody else's dime, of course) my go-to default is almost always some kind of fish, preferably local or, at least, prepared in a way that is distinctive to that place. Although I did get a steak salad last week.
It's right by LAX. I looked it up on Yelp, doesn't get great reviews, but so many Yelpers are batshit crazy or want to dislike something because a restaurant didn't meet their douchebag requests and expectations. There aren't too many old school steakhouses left in LA. It isn't strictly a steakhouse, but Musso & Frank's on Hollywood Boulevard is probably the best to go to. You can sit at the bar and have martinis in the same spot where William Faulkner and F. Scott Fitzgerald drank their problems caused by the horrible bitch goddess of show business away.
After an atrocious meal at an Italian restaurant last summer, The Lady I'm Walking Out With wrote a short critique on Qype and persuaded me to do the same.
A few days later, she was walking past the restaurant on her way home from work and the waitress, who was having a fag outside, stopped her and asked whether it was her who'd written 'that load of shite on Qype'. She got quite shirty, apparently, even though the criticism focused on the food rather than the service.
I find the Qype reviews not all that helpful when it comes to rating food, but quite good for assessing the service and the atmosphere of the places in question.
For example, there was one about my local pub. It said something like, "When you walk in, some of the gnarled regulars at the bar will look at you as if they want nothing more than to kick your face in. Don't be put off by this. They're not just harmless, they're actually quite pleasant."
I can imagine reviews like that are, on the whole, a good thing for the pub owner and a good thing for the new customers as well.
Sometimes I find negative reviews on Yelp are actually positive for me. In the US, if someone complains that portions are too small, for example, that is actually quite often a signifier of quality; or if someone complains that the ambience wasn't what they were expecting for their anniversary because there were people in there without jackets, and it wasn't silver service, means it's actually somewhere I'll be comfortable.
But I agree generally, Yelp is better for locations and photos.
All 1 and 2 star Yelp reviews of restaurants, mostly in LA, that are widely considered to be great. The logic of some of these people...the best are the angry reviews by people who didn't even eat the food, but thought it sounded bad.