5 Most Overrated Restaurants in New York

1) Grand Central Oyster Bar: Don’t buy the nostalgic mash note reviews!

Table service is mid-market museum quality; food to match.

The raw oysters are inconsistent at best, especially at the start of a long weekend when they get rid of what they should have already thrown away.

Even the no brainer pan roast is way too rich. It’s a dairy disaster, cream without a purpose, a flavorless heart attack waiting to finish off the job begun by the raw oysters.

In a city filled with wonderful seafood restaurants in tight competition for great ingredients (Pearl Oyster, Masa, Esca, etc.), Grand Central is a horrendous and potentially dangerous place to dine.

2) Sushi Seki: Sky-high prices, cramped tables, cheap decor and expensive wine and sake lists with no middle ground (like Starbucks starting with “tall” size and Domino’s with “medium”). The fish is fine but not for what it costs, nor for the rush to turn tables. You don’t feel like they’re on your side, except when they hold the door on the way out.

3) Tía Pol: Not Spanish enough for virtual gastro-travel, not tasty enough for a visit on its own merits. I know it’s hard to replicate a real tapas/pintxos experience in the States, i.e., toothpicks, honor system and a filthy napkin-strewn floor, but this place trades on an authenticity it doesn’t offer. Sherry list is impressive, but where’s the orujo for the digestivo crowd? Casa Mono and Bar Jamón get it right.

4) Etats-Unis: Guide Michelin and NY Times, the Upper East Side doesn’t need your charity. This place is fine but not fine dining. Please don’t tell us otherwise. Like its country cousin River Tavern, Etats-Unis is stuck in Northern California circa-1985. Perfectly adequate for a Tuesday dinner, it’s by no means a destination. Yes, the area lacks upper-mid dining depth, but please let’s not fake it by reviewing a reality we’d like to exist. Spigolo is a much better bet.

5) Atelier Joël Robuchon. There is no fine dining without fine service. This is gourmet takeout with dressed up delivery men.

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3 Responses to “5 Most Overrated Restaurants in New York”

  1. Swan Oyster Depot vs. Pearl Oyster Bar: Bicoastal Bivalve Smackdown « Fat and Happy Food Slut Says:

    […] but Swan’s Kumamotos and Olympias were a bit past their prime: Not 311 health crisis bad, like Grand Central Oyster Bar on Friday of a long summer weekend, but not good either. Pearl’s half dozens were simply fresher […]

  2. Anonymous Says:

    All true. Grand Central Oyster Bar s a hoary myth perpetrated by whorish publicists.

  3. Lobster Roll (Lunch): Another Roadside Distraction « Fat and Happy Food Slut Says:

    […] is the case with Grand Central Oyster Bar’s overhyped oleaginous oyster stew.  Their version is all cream, potato, paprika and bivalves on […]

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