Do Not Want, via Gawker

Somewhere out in the blogsphere exists a prediction, written by a Chicago woman who owns a restaurant PR firm, of what’s to come for “food bloggers” in 2010. One of the items she discusses is that food bloggers will become less “snarky”, instead being more serious, writing lengthier editorials.

I don’t want to be that guy. Since the previous post was about what’s AWESOME in 2009, now let’s have what really blew goats (since that’s all the rage of late ’09):


Gjelina Pork Belly

Manager came over to ask check on the prided margherita pizza. I replied with something to the effect of: “you should stop serving pizza”. He might have been a wee bit put-off, and asked if I’ve had pizza in Italy. “Yes sir”, followed by silent. This was a limp pie, no matter how great the brick fired oven might be, with over sweetened tomato puree (not so much sauce). We split half a dozen dishes, which represented nearly one-third of the menu. Nothing stood out, from the absolutely mundane eggplant, to the equally tasteless octopus (see O.Mozza/Cube, Lazy Ox for superior versions), to the self-proclaimed “cassoulet” featuring wayward ingredients and a thin broth. However piercing Fresser’s coverage might have been, it was deserving.

Gjelina's lousy margherita pie

Bullshit Westside hype.
Gjelina on Urbanspoon

Park’s BBQ.

I know Infinite Fress, along with many others, including Mr. J Gold, loves this place. I do not. Having been only a couple times, perhaps I’ve been missing the essence of this joint. But I doubt it. Chung Dam owns Park’s for the complete beef experience. Tokyo Pork X? Them famed chunks of sam gyup ssal? Better served at Park’s new sister restaurant, Dong Dae Gam. Surely this might still be the panchan queen of Los Angeles, but Chung Dam’s beef game is right up there, without the grease fire, without the wait, without the crowd. Try it out folks.

Vintage hype that deserved a try.
Park's BBQ on Urbanspoon

ZOMG. WTFBBQ. See previous post from last month. Just thinking about this pisses me off.

We should all feel bad for Eagle Rock.

DBGB, New York

DBGB Frenchie Burger

I take full responsibility for the mishap. A sausage I did not stuff into my mouth while at DBGB, instead I did have the burger, and some shit-tastic “Thai” moule frites in curry broth. Geezus chefs, please put away the coconut milk and curry powder. The Frenchie burger was fine. About as fine as HKeller’s Burger Bar, which is to say, not worth the pricey paper on which the burger list was printed. This burger confirms the dogma: 2 primary proteins stuffed in between buns is schizo (as first demonstrated by the overwhelming shortrib stuffed burger at Blue Dahlia Cafe, Little Tokyo). The bar space is just amazingly New York, with perfect view of First Ave, but the main room smelled of a bad diner. Despite all that, I did manage to have the quintessential “I <3 NY" experience when I ran into a Blue Hill Stone Barn dining neighbor from the night previous at DBGB’s bar. Cool space, but not a fan of pricey wieners served in this environ. Save you $30 for the lunch prix fixe at Bar Boulud.

DBGB bar customers DBGB Thai mussels DBGB Burgers Menu

Famous chef new restaurant hype.

Flour & Water, San Francisco

Flour+Water Flour+Water lamb tongue with poached egg
Flour+Water Pizza

Loved the apps, thought naught of the pizza. Thin woody-smelling crust, but straight soggy in center – especially since we had a cracked egg in the middle – short on bubbling, with oversalted dough. Yes, it’s a totally “proper” Neapolitan styled pie, but just lacked overall cohesion. This would’ve been an excellent meal if the restaurant name wasn’t so overtly indicative. After all, some of the finest raviolis & seasonal salads in town can be had here. The braised lamb tongue with poached egg, though minuscule, is fantastic, better than even The Fig’s brilliant lengua. David Chang can hate on figs all he wants, F+W churned out a seared duck with fresh figs + arugula/microgreens that was most glorious. Fig and San Franciso are so in touch with each other’s feelings!

Blinded by out of town pizza hype. Damn you San Francisco. Delfina was just doing fine.

Gary Danko

Gary Danko Gary Danko
Gary Danko Foie Stuffed Quail

It’s been around for ever, it’s soooo high end and weekend reservations are still quite difficult — I had to wait just to be seated at the bar, 10 min after the doors opened. But, it seems, purely due to location (much too close to fisherman’s wharf), the flavors and creativity have dropped significantly over the last few years [it won James Beard’s best new restaurant back in 2000]. SF is known for old timers ala Chez Panisse (Cafe) & Zuni, but Danko falls far outside that tasty circle. Again, I was told I ordered “wrong”, but at $66++ per person for the 3 course prix fixe, nothing has the right to be wrong. Yes, I just called quail stuffed with foie boring. The foie was mixed into a mushroom mush and due to stuffing, transformed itself into blended offal with composition akin to pureed innards. The quail was underseasoned & underspiced, needing unfulfilled support from the foie.
Old school staid Hype

Taste of Brazil

Taste of Brazil

The maracuja juice is imported? In a can? Really? And I want this WHY? Just because it’s imported? Hey, melamine-tainted milk is imported. Overall bland & boring prep. Pao de Queijo is how much? $7$8 for 8 6 little cheese balls the size of ping pongs? Wow. Straight rip. Stroganoff tasted straight from University of Michigan’s North Campus dining hall, so that was probably the best item for the night. Brazilian sausages, again, IMPORTED, tasted of Farmer John’s. Skirt steak, completely mundane, the one dimensional peixe a baiana makes one appreciate the complexity of a good Thai green curry. The loud musician on weekends brings tunes that pierce your ear drums while your palate is bored by the food. Good times? Hell no.

Taste of Brazil Brazilian Sausages Taste of Brazil Beef Stroganoff Taste of Brazil Coconut Fish

Yelp, you fail me so. Sampled nearly a dozen dishes with the large party, need not return.
A Taste of Brazil on Urbanspoon

Marisco Chente

Marisco Chente
Marisco Chente overcooked shrimp Marisco Chente Mixed Ceviche with surimi

Once again, I was told I ordered incorrectly. Except this time, I studied the menu and read the massive threads on Chowhound. I got some shrimp in booze sauce, and a ceviche mixto. This the best of Nayarit AND Sinaloa? The ceviche came out with surimi. Game over. Apparently if you go with a Spanish speaking person you won’t get whited. While not having traveled extensively in Mexico, I’m pretty darn sure every piece of jaiba flesh I’ve had in Mexico, even down to the $1.50 marisco stands, was real. The medium large shrimps looked pretty, but were overcooked. No matter how stupendously diablo their sauce might be, if the shrimp has to die the second time on the cooktop, I don’t want to eat it. But no worries Claire, I will go visit one more time.

Definition of Chowhound hype.
Mariscos Chente on Urbanspoon

Ok, so there are 8. In fact, there really MUCH more, but these are what really popped out.



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  • Sounds like we have an equivalent of a JGold up in San Francisco….Michael Bauer of sfgate/Chronicle.
    .-= BeefNoGuy´s last blog ..安里和辛 Japanese Izakaya in Taipei =-.

  • TonyC

    Haha!! Well.. Mr. Gold has a pulitzer. Bauer has articles talking about cell phoens. JKauffman just hit SF Weekly, I expect Bauer is trembling in his fat pants?

  • Eff. I liked Gary Danko. I even liked that quail. Of course, I also like Umami Burger. It is a wonder that you speak to me.
    .-= weezermonkey´s last blog ..Day 2: Monkeying Around El Parque Nacional Corcovado =-.

  • Really enjoyed DBGB when last in NYC, but completely agree with the too pricey part. We plan on going back in the next few days while in the city. Ate in the dining room and bar last trip and the bar is the way to go, hands down. The wieners are tasty, tasty good…but boy did the bar tab get big fast. Loved that they were play The Clash. Loud.

  • sku

    Park’s and Mariscos Chente on the worst bites list? You’ve skewered some sacred cows there; maybe if you cook up the sacred cow beef it will be tastier than all of these. I will be heading to Chung Dam post haste and will report back.
    .-= sku´s last blog ..Guest Blogger: Ask Mr. Pyrite =-.

  • TonyC

    Clarification: not necessarily saying these were out right BAD meals. I had a great time at F+W, and would return. Sometimes, the hype is the greatest handicap.

  • Everything on a menu should be good, in theory, but it rarely works out that way. That said, you didn’t order a single must-order dish at Mariscos Chente. If you return and don’t like the pescado zarandeado or Gobernador, it’s on you.

    Gjelina and Gary Danko were both disappointing, in my experience. Not terrible, but neither spot lived up to the hype.

    Flour + Water’s Margherita pizza was exceptionally good, better than any pie I’ve ever had at Pizzeria Delfina, but their calamari and aioli pizza was a letdown. Maybe it depends on the toppings. Their other dishes were all very good.

    Park’s was very good when I went, but that was two years ago, and other people have reported disappointing experiences recently. However, sister restaurant Don Dae Gam is terrific.

    As always, the way you express your opinion is ridiculously over the top.

  • I am quite surprised that there are at least two places serving pizza that you didn’t like. I find it hard getting tasty pizza these days :(.

  • Actually, at Taste of Brazil, it was 6 little cheese breads for $8. And they weren’t the size of ping pongs, they were smaller. 😛
    .-= Wandering Chopsticks´s last blog ..Chinese Spare Ribs with Coca Cola and Soy Sauce =-.

  • A. R.

    I totally agree with Mariscos Chente being overrated. I also remember the extremely long posts and raves on Chowhound about this place, and the fights that would start if you said something bad, or didn’t like this sacred place. By the way, I am a Spanish speaker. Anyway, I feel the same way as you about this place. I went there three times, thinking I had ordered wrong the first two. Third time was just a little better, but still nothing that would make me go back. I have been to Sinaloa, I had very good, and real seafood there. The Pescado Zarandeado that I ate in Sinaloa and other parts of México was delicious. Also for many years I had neighbors that were from Nayarit, the way they prepared their seafood was quite good.
    I just don’t get Mariscos Chente. I did order Pescado Zarandeado once, and it was horrible, not so much flavor, full of bones, and not edible. I ate the famous shrimp dish with the cockroaches, ooops, I mean cockroach sauce and I was not impressed, especially since the shrimps were overcooked. I will never finish if I keep telling you about our experiences at this place.
    I guess, I am not the only one that didn’t completely love MC.

  • I actually haven’t been to many of the places on this list – even Mariscos Chente I only had their ‘winter menu’ so I can’t say I had the full experience yet. I loved the lamb’s tongue salad at F+W and the pastas, enjoyed the pizza too (I’m no pizza expert tho) – the only problem I had with the hype is the hour-long wait standing in the cold!
    .-= Gourmet Pigs´s last blog ..Marea: Seafood, Pasta, and My Latest Fave NYC Lunch =-.

  • hahaha tony. i love how you get so angry when you talk about food. based on what you say, i’ll have to try dong dae gam first before park’s. you have a lot of balls to say that to the manager at gjelina…if you ordered anything else after that comment, i suspect spit and some pubic hair in your food. :0
    .-= bagnatic´s last blog ..antonello makes a good fruit tart =-.

  • One Girl, Big World

    I completely agree with the Gjelina review. I went there often when they first opened and it was refreshing. Now, I cringe when I walk past the people waiting to get in on my way to other AK establishments. No, it’s not bad, but it aint all that.

  • Tokyo X is no longer on the menu at Park’s, thankfully. I saw it once, and it looked like something a dinosaur might eat, that is, if dinosaurs weren’t vegetarians. The owner has effectively accorded us the status of honorary Koreans, and I don’t plan to jeopardize that. We have even jumped the line on busy Saturdays. That numbering “system” is not ever in numerical order, and I love it. Also, they make a killer pancake and jigae. I need to try Chung Dam.

    Gary Danko is a total joke, and as much an insult to San Francisco as the proliferation of Top Chef restaurants are to L.A.

    You definitely got whited at Chente, though I doubt there was any malice. Krab is hilarious, and I never turn up my nose at it. Most inexpensive Mexican seafood places carry it, including Tacos Baja and Rico’s Mar Azul Mariscos. I wonder if Chente even knows there is a stigma about surimi. Still the marlin tacos were the most interesting and flavorful item in my opinion. The standard fish taco was inferior to Ricky’s and Baja.

    Gjelina was so bad that it does down as one of the most memorable meals of 2009. I’ll never forget the excessive hype and incoherence.

  • I bet I could guess what your number 6 might be…

  • BooYa

    This blog is actually on my list of what blew goats in 2009 (and before that). You probably drive a really big car too, doncha?

  • TonyC

    Booya-shi, no, I don’t. My car is old, small, and very light. Thanks for reading, and thinking it sucks, from the beginning.

  • Couldn’t agree more with Park’s…
    and Mariscos Chente.

  • Seriously, if you can’t winnow out the must-orders from the also-rans from posts on Chowhound, you need to just ask. You missed the pescado zarandeado, you missed the tacos gobernadores. You simply won’t find Mexican seafood any fresher. Most places have the same four damn sauces and they all taste like mud; Chente was different.

    As for Park’s, the hell with Tokyo X pork. It’s about the rolls of kalbi there, and about the other cuts of beef, and about the tongue, and about the mul naengmyon which sounds wrong for a barbecue place but isn’t. I’m interested to find out where else, besides Don Dae Gam, you like KBBQ.

  • TonyC

    Das, so happy & honored to see you here. I tried to ask @ Chente. They looked at me like “WTF, son”. No recs, no assistance, yet I understand it’s completely my fault. I’ve had pescado z in Puerto Vallarta; that’s about as exciting as a Filipino steamed fish drenched in mayo. Per my pedantic shill above, I enjoy Chung Dam over Park’s for beef, and Beul Dae Po serves a mean rib eye as part of its AYCE regimen.

    NB: if I want fresh seafood done simple, a steamed grouper “fresh” from 168 Market, drizzled with hot peanut oil/garlic/green onions/dried chili, would suffice.

  • By the way, LudoBites should be the number one misfire on your list.
    .-= Steve´s last blog ..Fried Chicken at the Momofuku Noodle Bar =-.

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  • I am revisiting this and have discovered that I also like DBGB and Taste of Brazil. Shit. You are going to defriend me.
    .-= weezermonkey´s last blog ..Heaven Eleven- Eleven Madison Park =-.

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