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Chef Geoff's, Geoff Tracy's Local American Chain in Several Area Locations

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#101 Waitman

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 08:09 AM

Wow, do you *really* think extracting my one comment about Simon and Taylor Hicks reflects the overall tone of my post - which was an attempt to reach agreement with someone who I didn't, on the first pass, agree with? I went out of my way to try for a meeting of the minds, which is R-A-R-E on the internet, and quite honestly, I'm proud of myself for having done so successfully from what I can see. I could have attacked; instead I tried to actually read what mtureck wrote, think about it for a great deal of time, giving his points the respect they deserved, and then strive for a point of agreement, and I think I did so very effectively, providing two different - yet valid - points of view on the same issue.

Comparing your (one might say) uppity Maggiano's comment in the same way that you compared my Chef Geoff's comment - am I entitled to say, "Oh, ick. Does this mean we can't talk about fettucini with meat sauce any more?" Because I think it's the exact same thing. If you don't, then please tell me what the difference is.

From where I interpret it: bad post, Charles. You took a potentially contentious thread, that had turned positive, and turned it back into something negative.

 

Really?  "Oh, ick?"  I make a New Year's resolution to stop calling people "asshole" -- not, mind you, to stop acting like one -- and I get read out for writing "ick?"  I may as well go back to my less temperate ways.

 

Anyway, since you missed the point completely, let me re-iterate.  It's not the criticism of Chef Geoff's per se that I find unfortunate.  I'm occasionally critical myself.  It's the strain of un-cut snobbery that seemed to be creeping into the discussion, as evidenced by the (yes, representative) quotes I pulled out.  If I dislike Maggiano's it's not that it fails to exist on the culinary/artistic/astral plane appropriate to someone of my refined tastes, nor is it that I'll have to rub shoulders with the proletariate  I dislike Maggiano's  it because it kind of sucks. 

 

Now, mea culpa.  I'm not perfect in this regard, either. But I try not to trot out my snobbery as some sort of emblem of my refined tastes.  A while back I was walking by the Applebees that has somehow sprouted in Columbia Heights, amongst all the hipster and ethnic joints, and being a bit drunk I told Mrs. B that I wanted to see what kind of unrefined idiot goes out to Applebees on a Friday night.  Of course, the answer was obvious: "the stupid, ill-informed, unsophisticated, masses," the kind of people who are holding on to their homes against the yuppie juggernaught in Columbia Heights by their fingernails, and for whom Applebees is, in fact a big night out and a pleasant change from a busy life.  Mrs. B of course gave me a withering glare when I walked out -- she was always the utlimate small d democrat -- and I felt, as someone once wrote "lower than whale shit."  But it was an important takedown and a strong reminder that our access too and enjoyment of great food doesn't make us, or the restaurants and chefs we deign to embrace, somehow superior on a moral or aesthetic sense. 

 

And that thought, coupled with the fact that sometimes a bacon double cheeseburger just hits the spot, makes me feel, as I said, a little queasy when the discussion strays from the quality of the food towards the artistic merits of the joint at hand.

 

As should be clear, I'm not particularly interested in some negotiated settlement between opposing viewpoints.  I like finding common ground, and even post nice stuff every now and again (not that anyone seems to pay any attention ;) ).  But I'm more interested in a "free and frank exchange of ideas," as the diplos say, perhaps as part of some dialectical process which, even if it doesn't resolve itself into an obvious synthesis, does drive us towards a better and more complete understanding of a subject that is obviously important to us.  Even if disagreements are not resolved, even if they become heated, I generally come away having learned a little.

 

I, too, take time to consider before I write (though this gap was the result of a busy weekend and the websight being down, not three days of rumination).  So it's a little disappointing to be attacked not for the substance of my work, but for the perceived shortcomings of my thought process.  I kind of like being called "uppity," though.  I guess I just don't know my place.


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#102 Ericandblueboy

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 09:10 AM

I fail to see much difference between saying a place has no "culinary merit," and a place "sucks."  In both cases, you're dismissing a restaurant (or chain) based on your subjective criteria.  Logically, you either prohibit such conclusory remarks or you tolerate them without getting all wound up.  I mean, how do you draw a line (objectively) between Mickey D's, Applebees, Maggiano's, and Chef Geoff's? 

 

I actually eat at Mickey D's.  Do I really need to justify why?  I don't think so.  I also don't talk about it or compare their burgers to Ray's.  To compare them would be a waste of time (the disparity should be self-evident).  Does it bother me when people put down Mickey D's?  Hell no.  I will happily admit that Mickey D's sucks and has no culinary merit.  Does that make me stupid, ill informed, or unsophisticated?  I don't think so but that also doesn't mean that most people who eat at Mickey D's are intelligent, informed, and sophisticated.  So the point is don't leap to conclusions about the traits of people who eat less than stellar food because people are really touchy these days.  Nor should people take umbrage at perceived slights when none are intended.

 

BTW, masses is defined as the body of common people or people of low socioeconomic status. 



#103 Waitman

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 10:18 AM

I fail to see much difference between saying a place has no "culinary merit," and a place "sucks."  In both cases, you're dismissing a restaurant (or chain) based on your subjective criteria.  Logically, you either prohibit such conclusory remarks or you tolerate them without getting all wound up.  I mean, how do you draw a line (objectively) between Mickey D's, Applebees, Maggiano's, and Chef Geoff's? 

 

Au contraire.  In the former case, you are imposing a caste system on restaurants, and dismissing swaths of the restaurant world as being unworthy simply because they are insufficiently elevated -- they are a priori without merit.  You can dismiss dismiss them simply because of what they are, without even walking through the door.  In the second case you actually have to eat the food and judge it on its own terms.  In my opinion, Maggiano's fails even as a shopping mall chain restaurant.  On the other hand, McDonalds succeeds as a fast food burger joint.

 

If I object to my daughter's boyfriend because he is of the "wrong" race or social class, I show myself to a snob and a bigot, and also run the risk of depriving myself of the charms of meeting someone who might be a charming and intelligent young man. If I object not because he is of a different ethnicity or class but because he treats her badly, then I'm behaving like a responsible, if meddlesome dad. 


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#104 Ericandblueboy

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 11:49 AM

Au contraire.  In the former case, you are imposing a caste system on restaurants, and dismissing swaths of the restaurant world as being unworthy simply because they are insufficiently elevated -- they are a priori without merit.  You can dismiss dismiss them simply because of what they are, without even walking through the door.  In the second case you actually have to eat the food and judge it on its own terms.  In my opinion, Maggiano's fails even as a shopping mall chain restaurant.  On the other hand, McDonalds succeeds as a fast food burger joint.

 

That is a distinction that you just drew.  It wasn't apparent from prior posts that there is such distinction.  More importantly, it doesn't apply on the facts.  Don has been to CG as have I.  So in your parlance, we really mean CG sucks, as opposed to it having no culinary merit.  So your point is we should never pre-judge.  That is a laudable sentiment and one I generally agree with. 



#105 Albert Yi

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 12:23 PM

Maybe my perspective is skewed because the Chef Geoffs in Rockville is in walking distance of my apartment. And while I don't consider it a destination restaurant (that is, if I had to drive more than a few miles to reach one I wouldn't bother), it's definitely a step above the local Silver Diner and maybe even Mosaic Cafe (the other sit-down restaurants that are near my apartment). It's traditional New American fare but usually they add some interesting twists, like the brie-braided brioche french toast I had last weekend. And they have a decent beer selection and a good cocktail program.

 

I don't consider culinary merit to be a binary thing. Geoffs has more merit than Ruby Tuesdays, less merit than Komi. If my friends suggest eating out at Geoffs, I won't pout and frown.


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#106 darkstar965

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 05:14 PM

I'll say it once more.  Merit, sucks, whatever.  Has to be considered in context. Who's doing the writing?  And what are they saying in total?

 

Merit can seem imperious, judgmental, arrogant, whatever when taken in isolation.  But coming from Rocks, whom we know, in a longer post, I didn't take it that way at all.

 

Opinions, the stronger the better.  Evidenced or at least supported and not spurious.  That's the ticket.  Or what Waitman calls an "exchange of ideas." That's the bus I like to ride.

 

I think a place is great because A, B and C.

That place sucks because X, Y or Z.

That place has no merit in my book because I don't like that they 1, 2 or 3.

 

I don't usually express disfavor, disapproval, critique, disgust or what have you those last two ways.  But that's just me.  To each his or her own.

 

All are personal views. I'd hope all fine so long as clear they're individual views and not destructive, insulting (ad hominem attacks, etc.), likely to unfairly hurt someone or their business, etc.



#107 DonRocks

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 05:34 PM

I can't say that Chef Geoff's has culinary merit. 

 

I said "culinary merit" precisely because I didn't want to condemn the restaurant with the blanket term "merit." And I even voiced it in the passive.

 

It's ironic that I wrote one of the few positive posts about this restaurant.


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#108 DonRocks

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 12:08 PM

This is the same Primi Piatti that was in Tysons Corner where Colvin Run Tavern was and where Equinox now is....I remember that it was plannong a move to Courthouse, but apparently ended up downtown. I haven't heard of it in 20 years....

 

Colvin Run Tavern actually became Chef Geoff’s - Equinox is nearby.

 

This reminds me: Once upon a time, I started a thread that listed, by address, the various restaurants that have occupied the space over the years. For example: 8045 Leesburg Pike, Vienna: Primi Piatti -> Colvin Run Tavern -> Chef Geoff’s.

 

I never did much with it, but now I don’t even know where it is. Does anyone remember this? Does anyone have any idea where it might be? It’s a nice idea (oh, I have lots of those); but developing and maintaining *just this one thread* would be a 40 hour a week job. I was hoping a local history buff might take it and run with it.


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#109 Kibbee Nayee

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 12:36 PM

Colvin Run Tavern actually became Chef Geoff’s - Equinox is nearby.

 

This reminds me: Once upon a time, I started a thread that listed, by address, the various restaurants that have occupied the space over the years. For example: 8045 Leesburg Pike, Vienna: Primi Piatti -> Colvin Run Tavern -> Chef Geoff’s.

 

You are correct....and Nostos is across the side street.

 

This is a troublesome real estate area for restaurants. Tysons traffic, especially in November-December, never-ending construction, nerve wracking traffic patterns, and a difficult landlord apparently all conspire against these spaces....

 

I heard that Colvin Run's problems stemmed from the landlord. I can only recall that Primi Piatti had its eyes on a large location near Courthouse Towers, and instead ended up downtown. I take it the plan all along was to locate downtown -- kind of like the Tim Ma approach to start in Vienna, open in Clarendon, and then eventually open downtown.

 

Chef Geoff's may have landed square in the lap of mediocrity and is thus nicely entrenched in its element.


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#110 DonRocks

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 12:47 PM

Chef Geoff's may have landed square in the lap of mediocrity and is thus nicely entrenched in its element.

 

Pretty much. The happy hour there gets very crowded based on my couple of experiences there.

 

I miss Colvin Run Tavern - it wasn’t perfect, but the downgrade to Chef Geoff’s very much reflects the downgrade in DC area restaurants as a whole since the recession hit.

 

Anyone who thinks Mark Furstenberg was wrong, is wrong. Washington, DC was once on the verge of becoming a great restaurant city; it’s not any longer.

 

I still think Washingtonian caused the recession when they pulled their Adour stunt. That was almost exactly when everything started to go to hell in a handbasket. I know, I know, post hoc ergo prompter hoc. Still, the symbolism is almost too perfect to ignore.


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