#1

Member
Idaho Falls, Idaho
(This post was last modified: 03-22-2019, 10:43 PM by Lipripper660.)
I travel for work and although time from home isn't fun, my customers are my friends and I like it. Obviously, when on the road I have to leave my kitchen behind and eat at the local establishments. Some things I've learned:
1) never trust the hotel clerks restaurant suggestion. I've yet to have been directed to a fine establishment and when I do find a local gem, and mention it to the front desk they don't known about it.
2) Urban Spoon (and other online) reviews are quite often worthless. I assume there has to be some "pay to play" going on here because all of Americas tongues cannot be broken.
3)Chain vs Mom/Pop. The mom and pop does not always win. Most chains are mediocre at best BUT they are predictable which sometimes is ok.
4) if the menu is 4 pages long, RUN! Chances are they won't be able to do any of the items well.

Hey, I'm no Bobby Flay or Wolfgang Puck but I hold my own in a kitchen. I appreciate great ingredients done right. I enjoy all types of cultures and cuisines. I seek out the esoteric and love to support local. But whole crap Batman! If you swing a shingle in the air offering sustenance to weary travelers, or to your community friends and neighbors, PLEASE have something to offer that a home cook might not easily replicate. It apalls me how often I go to a restaurant only to find there is not an imaginative or caring chef on the premises. I don't care if you have been to culinary school or not, but I do care that you paid attention to your mom or grandma and have mastered some things that others can't do. ANYONE can run a can opener and pop something in the microwave. I have an expectation at my home table that when I sit down to a meal, good things happen. When I pay to go to your professional establishment I expect GREAT things to happen. Way too often it seems the food comes out of a #10 can. I expect that if you open a dining establishment my experience with you ought to leave me longing to return or at the very least impressed by your style even if my palate didn't understand your story. I get hacked when you offer me crappy food at expensive prices. Shoot, I'm there for an experience, not to cram stuff down my cram hole.

Fancy done right is AWESOME but "simple" done masterfully might even be better. So please, restaranteurs, up your game or do something else. This road warrior is passionate about his profession and expects you to be also. I'm tired of batting under 500 on new restaurants.

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#2

Merchant
Central Maine
Yup. I've had good food at places I never expected it, I suspect because the chef actually cared. I don't eat out often, and never did, but when we do go out it's always because someone I know recommended it.

So sorry that you need to go places and be so disappointed. That's the pits.

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Brian. Lover of SE razors. Maker of Krampert's Finest Products.
#3

Member
Gilbert, AZ USA
Very well said.

I especially agree with the statement about the hotel staff. Some of the worst suggestions I've gotten have come from the front desk.
- Steve
#4

Member
Idaho Falls, Idaho
(03-22-2019, 03:38 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote: Yup. I've had good food at places I never expected it, I suspect because the chef actually cared. I don't eat out often, and never did, but when we do go out it's always because someone I know recommended it.

So sorry that you need to go places and be so disappointed. That's the pits.

Well said Brian. Many of my go-tos have come from clients recommendations but even then I have to be careful as many of us just don't pay attention to what "quality dining" means. I sure do enjoy it when I find these gems. One that comes to mind is a place called Augies in Ballston Spa NY. Someone's Italian Grandma taught the lessons well and I am the beneficiary!.

Freddy likes this post
#5

Member
Idaho Falls, Idaho
(This post was last modified: 03-22-2019, 10:53 PM by Lipripper660.)
(03-22-2019, 05:35 PM)dabearis Wrote: Very well said.

I especially agree with the statement about the hotel staff. Some of the worst suggestions I've gotten have come from the front desk.

Generally the front desk at the hotels I stay with are exceptional. I mean really top-shelf, service oriented people thus it amazes me that they fall flat on this one thing. I understand they have agreements with some of the local business' and there is likely a bit of mutual back scratching going on here but that sort of short-sightedness can't be great for sustainable business.

Freddy likes this post
#6
Maybe the desk personnel can’t afford to eat out much themselves, especially with family.
#7
i agree. Unfortunately, just like in any business, there are those who know what they are doing and those who don't. i appreciate apps that allow me to get a sense of a restaurant before i go. One of the websites I will not use is Yelp. They hide reviews, for whatever reason, be it algorithms or otherwise. That makes their reviews far less reliable. I've come to rely upon TripAdvisor reviews. They don't seem to screen the reviews the way Yelp does. And while that might mean some reviews could be "promotional" in nature, you can pretty much flesh out the ones that are purely gratuitously positive for the sake of commercialization. And I have to say it has allowed me to pick the good ones from the not so good ones. I will leave my own good or bad reviews and make sure that I have specific reasons for my review either way.

But I also have come to see that so many people in the restaurant business whether they are owners, managers, waiters, bus persons, they just don't seem to care. I spent 10 years in the restaurant business, starting out as an underage busboy in a diner at the age of 15 and continued until I was out of college and still trying to find my way professionally. I found that the work is definitely difficult at times. Long hours on your feet and when you are hit with a weekend rush, it can be quite challenging. But it taught me a work ethic. And I approached my job with a level of pride as well. I may have been a lowly busboy but as a teenager I was putting $400 to $500 in my pocket every week. And as a waiter the pay was even more. So I feel qualified to judge when the service I get is awful as well as excellent. There is one restaurant near me where the owner leases the property from the county and he got the contract because of politics. But setting that aside, the space the county built is amazing so I was wiling to give the restaurant operator my business. Several times. It is rare that you find the service completely and entirely lacking and the food often equally horrible. But this guy has managed to accomplish both. I've eaten brunch, lunch and dinner there, eaten food at the bar and just had drinks. Even getting a drink is difficult. Alcohol is offers the highest margin for any restaurant so if you screw that up, its inexcusable. But if this guy didn't have a long term lease with the county, which was unforgivable all by itself, he wouldn't be in business there anymore. He clearly doesn't care. And I've written my scathing review as have others. But unfortunately he's not going anywhere.

I try and do my homework before stepping foot in a restaurant. It's usually time very well spent.

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#8

Super Moderator
San Diego, Cal., USA
While I agree with most of what is written here, let me play devil's advocate. Let's talk about those dining, the customers. Several years ago, my friend was visiting from Scotland and she and I both appreciate a great restaurant experience. We took my neighbors to a restaurant specializing in Argentine cuisine. The portions were not large but more than adequate and the food was quite tasty. All my neighbors could talk about was the small size of the portions and the price of the food (which I was paying for). They equated quality with quantity and would probably have thought that Ruby Tuesday or TGIFriday was fine dining. I have eaten in some chain restaurants where the portions were indecently large, the meals were forgettable, and the prices were not expensive and they wouldn't stay in business if that wasn't what enough people wanted. On two separate occasions, once in West Palm Beach, Florida and once in Toledo, Ohio, I was with friends who wanted to eat at the Olive Garden chain. In both instances, and they were a few years apart, while walking out to the car after dinner, I honestly could not remember what I had ordered or eaten; the food was truly forgettable, even though there was a lot (too much) of it. Sadly, I think that is probably more the norm than not, at least in much of the United States.

The above, in no way, takes away from a poor dining experience in a supposedly nicer restaurant, especially when it's not part of a chain. Whether a chain or a private restaurant, service should always be excellent. By the same token, those dining should not be obnoxiously demanding.

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#9

Member
Idaho Falls, Idaho
MtMan. I'm going to try trip advisor. Thanks for the tip.

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#10

Member
Idaho Falls, Idaho
(This post was last modified: 03-23-2019, 10:29 PM by Lipripper660.)
(03-23-2019, 06:24 PM)sgarnett Wrote: Maybe the desk personnel can’t afford to eat out much themselves, especially with family.

I've certainly considered that but even if they don't patronize local restaurants often they ought to have picked up a few things from patrons. Seems good eateries ought to be important to their guests. And exceptional doesn't have to mean expensive.


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