5 Most Overrated Restaurants in New Haven

(And Where to Go Instead)

1) Skappo: Small plates, big prices and brutally overbearing service. Forced jollity and intrusive conversation from owner will wipe the smile right off your face. Mawkish Medieval Town décor may be authentic, but it’s also authentically awful. Go to Modern or Bar for a far less Italian but far more delicious and high-value meal.

2) Louis’ Lunch: An historic restaurant with prehistoric food. “Soup Nazi”-style shtick with customers is paper-thin and unpleasant for locals who want the burger, not the bull. Patties are often not cooked to temperature and tend towards the dry and crumbly. Sliced bread in lieu of bun is a bad idea, even if it’s an old bad idea. Go to Yankee Doodle, eat better for less and leave smiling.

3) Gastronomique: Owner is genial but sometimes distracted by more compelling recreational interests. Some nights he’s made me high-grade steak tartare; others he’s been unable to make change. Super-slow even when empty, especially when sous-chef in training is at the stove. Go to Union League and get what you pay for.

4) Zinc: Promises too much and doesn’t deliver. Overambitious Asian fusion is incoherent, imitative and outdated. Erratic service does nothing to help. Nonetheless, generous portions, decent bar and cheap wine Sundays are pluses. Go to Pot au Pho instead or hop on Metro-North to NYC.

5) Claire’s: Putumayo Presents sensibility with grade school cafeteria execution. An unfocused amateurish EPCOT Pavilion of mediocre vegetarian options. Even the bagels are a disaster. Sidekick “Basta” will leave you saying “Enough” well before the check arrives. Bribe an undergrad, and eat in Berkeley College instead.

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One Response to “5 Most Overrated Restaurants in New Haven”

  1. laura Says:

    Yes, yes, yes, yes and YES! I used to love Gastronomique but have been burned by Marc Woll’s inconsistency too many times. The bar menu at Union League is priced about the same as Gastronomique anyway.

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