Jump to content
CrescentFresh

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

Recommended Posts

I would agree about accommodating differing tastes, but my brunch a few weeks back at the Arizona Ave location was an expensive disappointment. The eggs in my eggs benedict were far overcooked, along with the canadian bacon, leaving the whole dish to be pretty dry. I'm far from a gourmet chef but it seems to take quite a bit of mess up eggs benedict. My S.O. had the shrimp and grits which would have been much better had it not been surrounded by a thick moat of what tasted like pure butter. Lax service and tables WAY too tightly crammed together and we were ready to bail.

I'm actually glad to hear others have had better experiences - this is an uber convenient location for us to have brunch on Sundays, maybe we just caught an off day (a really, really off day).

Our brunch was in Tysons, don't know how much difference there is between the locations, but just thought I would note that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The risk in being featured in an article like this is that it becomes difficult to give a restaurant a pass. While I'm a frequent visitor at the downtown location for a pretty good happy hour, last weekend was my first visit to the CG's Tysons outpost, and my first dinner at any of his restaurants since I read the article in the August Washingtonian.

So with the piece as context, I couldn't help but think, this burger is SUPPOSED to be this under seasoned - its recipe is one of the metrics. And this seafood pasta fra diavolo is SUPPOSED to taste of too-old seafood in a sauce that had none of the advertized spice. And these fish tacos are SUPPOSED to taste of too-old oil in a soggy 'tempura' crust. And we were SUPPOSED to have three billing errors out of four drink orders at the bar while waiting for our table, which wasn't ready until almost 30 minutes after our reservation.

To be fair - I did have a very good sashimi appetizer with Tuna, wasabi sauce and sesame crackers.

I normally would have chalked this up to a tired kitchen during the holiday season... a chef running back and forth between two cities still trying to find the balance... I wasn't exactly expecting gourmet when walking into Chef Geoff's, but was hoping for exactly what was advertized in the article - inoffensive food that would hopefully satisfy the tastes of a few unfamiliar dining companions. In this instance, Tracy's goal that we not remember our meal two hours later (seriously?) failed, and I'm guessing this wasn't the type of memory he was hoping for.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The risk in being featured in an article like this is that it becomes difficult to give a restaurant a pass. While I'm a frequent visitor at the downtown location for a pretty good happy hour, last weekend was my first visit to the CG's Tysons outpost, and my first dinner at any of his restaurants since I read the article in the August Washingtonian.

So with the piece as context, I couldn't help but think, this burger is SUPPOSED to be this under seasoned - its recipe is one of the metrics. And this seafood pasta fra diavolo is SUPPOSED to taste of too-old seafood in a sauce that had none of the advertized spice. And these fish tacos are SUPPOSED to taste of too-old oil in a soggy 'tempura' crust. And we were SUPPOSED to have three billing errors out of four drink orders at the bar while waiting for our table, which wasn't ready until almost 30 minutes after our reservation.

To be fair - I did have a very good sashimi appetizer with Tuna, wasabi sauce and sesame crackers.

I normally would have chalked this up to a tired kitchen during the holiday season... a chef running back and forth between two cities still trying to find the balance... I wasn't exactly expecting gourmet when walking into Chef Geoff's, but was hoping for exactly what was advertized in the article - inoffensive food that would hopefully satisfy the tastes of a few unfamiliar dining companions. In this instance, Tracy's goal that we not remember our meal two hours later (seriously?) failed, and I'm guessing this wasn't the type of memory he was hoping for.

I just skimmed through the posts in this thread, and don't think Chef Geoff's has gotten a free pass here at all - by my count (eliminating posts which were completely neutral such as questions, "maybe try the $5 happy hour burger," redundant points made by the same poster, etc.) I counted 13 posts tilting positive, and 30 posts tilting negative. My own first post in this thread was one that tilted positive, by the way.

I then began reading that article, got to the bottom of the page, and said to myself, "My God, is this *really* going to be five pages long?" then skimmed pages 2-5 in about 45 seconds. Dissecting mediocrity is not my idea of a fun read, despite the "celebrity" aspect involved.

Mediocrity fosters mediocrity in this society, and it is not something that interests or inspires me in the least. I am quite certain that restaurants which attract the masses produce the most successful business models (by definition, they will attract more revenue); from a culinary standpoint, they tend to have very little merit. There is a reason that donrockwell.com is not as large as Yelp, and also a reason why certain PR-driven chefs with successful restaurants serving the masses do not participate here - as a group, our members tend not to get very excited about run-of-the-mill "eating" - a cow can eat; it takes something more than a cow to become discerning, and money has almost nothing to do with it so let's not go down that fallacious route.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am quite certain that restaurants which attract the masses produce the most successful business models (by definition, they will attract more revenue); from a culinary standpoint, they tend to have very little merit.

What defines merit?

I've always enjoyed the various Chef Geoff restaurants. Yes, the food is predictable, and lacking in ambition. It also happens to be pretty good, it's reasonably priced, family friendly, and has some of the best, most consistent service in the area.

Masses don't go to successful restaurants because they're stupid, ill-informed, or lacking in sophistication. They go because they expect to have an enjoyable meal, pure and simple.

To me, there's a great deal of merit in a place where I know exactly the kind of experience I'm going to have before I even go in, especially since with a young kid, I don't dine out very often any more.

Certainly it's a different kind of merit that many of us look for in a restaurant, but it's a merit nonetheless.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

from a culinary standpoint, they tend to have very little merit.

What defines merit?

I've always enjoyed the various Chef Geoff restaurants. Yes, the food is predictable, and lacking in ambition. It also happens to be pretty good, it's reasonably priced, family friendly, and has some of the best, most consistent service in the area.

Masses don't go to successful restaurants because they're stupid, ill-informed, or lacking in sophistication. They go because they expect to have an enjoyable meal, pure and simple.

Whatever is meritorious about Chef Geoff's, it's not culinary achievement. Of course that doesn't mean people can't eat there for other reasons. I happen to think it's not very good and for that reason, overpriced. (BTW, masses are by definition unsophisticated, no?)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just skimmed through the posts in this thread, and don't think Chef Geoff's has gotten a free pass here at all - by my count (eliminating posts which were completely neutral such as questions, "maybe try the $5 happy hour burger," redundant points made by the same poster, etc.) I counted 13 posts tilting positive, and 30 posts tilting negative. My own first post in this thread was one that tilted positive, by the way.

I thought genericeric was speaking of himself, that he couldn't give it a pass, given the documented formula they have.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What defines merit?

I've always enjoyed the various Chef Geoff restaurants. Yes, the food is predictable, and lacking in ambition. It also happens to be pretty good, it's reasonably priced, family friendly, and has some of the best, most consistent service in the area.

Masses don't go to successful restaurants because they're stupid, ill-informed, or lacking in sophistication. They go because they expect to have an enjoyable meal, pure and simple.

To me, there's a great deal of merit in a place where I know exactly the kind of experience I'm going to have before I even go in, especially since with a young kid, I don't dine out very often any more.

Certainly it's a different kind of merit that many of us look for in a restaurant, but it's a merit nonetheless.

I agree with much of what you say here, mtureck.

If this were a restaurant-operators website, focusing on the business side of things, then perhaps I would say that Chef Geoff's has an enormous amount of merit. But, as Simon once said on American Idol, when he was feeling especially prickish: "This is a *singing* competition!" and then proceeded to trash a singer (and I think it was that guy Taylor Hicks). Since this is primarily a dining website, in search of artistry, I can't say that Chef Geoff's has culinary merit. Nevertheless, what you say makes good sense to me except this one phrase:

"Masses don't go to successful restaurants because they're stupid, ill-informed, or lacking in sophistication. They go because they expect to have an enjoyable meal, pure and simple."

This is not always true. Sometimes they really *are* stupid, ill-informed, and lacking in sophistication. That said, I recently mentioned (in the Cactus Cantina thread) that I used to go there often when Matt was an infant - for precisely the reasons you described. They always had a high chair ready to go, it was noisy, and nobody would notice if one of us needed to whisk him outside on a moment's notice if he got cranky. Yes, there is merit to that.

So as much as I'd like to disagree with what you have to say; instead, I'll say "thank you" for offering up a legitimate, opposing point of view.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought genericeric was speaking of himself, that he couldn't give it a pass, given the documented formula they have.

That is correct, and thank you for giving me the opportunity to clarify. I just meant that I otherwise may have said to myself, there are a lot of changes with Geoff Tracy right now and this chain of restaurants, and excused the numerous flaws based on that information. The article referenced made it difficult to believe that was the case.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...

Nevertheless, what you say makes good sense to me except this one phrase:

"Masses don't go to successful restaurants because they're stupid, ill-informed, or lacking in sophistication. They go because they expect to have an enjoyable meal, pure and simple."

This is not always true. Sometimes they really *are* stupid, ill-informed, and lacking in sophistication.

I don't believe your positions are mutually exclusive.

I agree with mtureck that the masses choose based on expectations, which I've described as "predictability" in other threads. They might ALSO be stupid, ill-informed, unsophisticed...but I'd bet that the vast majority of the time they are choosing a place because it has a high % chance of meeting that expectation...one of an enjoyable meal. For example, they don't want greatness if there's a risk they'll feel inadequately dressed or if the restaurant is small and sometimes slow. They aren't looking for anything outside the biggest part of the bell curve, the part where they don't have to think about anything in the restaurant transaction and can instead focus on their conversation, getting full and leaving with no expectations violated.

In contrast, most on this site choose restaurants based on hopes - hopes that the food is great, hopes to find a diamond in the rough, hopes to experience a new dining high. It isn't precisely the opposite of seeking predictability, but it is close. As an example of not being the opposite - your own example of Cactus Cantina - when you have a child of a certain age and wish to dine out, you'll seek places based more on expecations being met (ie, you want a loud place that has a trained staff and plenty of high chairs) and you may have sacrificed the "hopes" side of the equation - but it certainly doesn't make you stupid, ill-informed or lacking in any sophistication. That day, you just had different needs when going to a restaurant; you weren't chasing any hopes.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't believe your positions are mutually exclusive.

I agree with mtureck that the masses choose based on expectations, which I've described as "predictability" in other threads. They might ALSO be stupid, ill-informed, unsophisticed...but I'd bet that the vast majority of the time they are choosing a place because it has a high % chance of meeting that expectation...one of an enjoyable meal. For example, they don't want greatness if there's a risk they'll feel inadequately dressed or if the restaurant is small and sometimes slow. They aren't looking for anything outside the biggest part of the bell curve, the part where they don't have to think about anything in the restaurant transaction and can instead focus on their conversation, getting full and leaving with no expectations violated.

In contrast, most on this site choose restaurants based on hopes - hopes that the food is great, hopes to find a diamond in the rough, hopes to experience a new dining high. It isn't precisely the opposite of seeking predictability, but it is close. As an example of not being the opposite - your own example of Cactus Cantina - when you have a child of a certain age and wish to dine out, you'll seek places based more on expecations being met (ie, you want a loud place that has a trained staff and plenty of high chairs) and you may have sacrificed the "hopes" side of the equation - but it certainly doesn't make you stupid, ill-informed or lacking in any sophistication. That day, you just had different needs when going to a restaurant; you weren't chasing any hopes.

Thanks jayandstacey...I have a feeling Don and I could have gone back and forth for pages and not come up with anything half as good as this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks jayandstacey...I have a feeling Don and I could have gone back and forth for pages and not come up with anything half as good as this.

Well don't let me stop you!

I kind of get the "expectations" mentality. Years ago I went to a pho place and the experience was awful - there was no heat in Feb, so we wore coats and had an oscillating heater blowing on us. There was a bucket of dirty water sitting near our table. There was a really bright spotlight shining from the bar toward our table - the kind of meal you get at a place that closes the next week. That doesn't happen at Chili's/TGI Friday's/Cheesecake Factory/etc. We take the risk for occasional weirdness/unpleasantness but consider the reward worth that risk. The masses don't. In fact, I've found that in a non-foodie group, the best suggestion is usually the one that everyone recogizes, has a wide menu of standards, has a low price point, etc...bascially, the least common demoninator is rewarded with the "best choice" attaboy.

Side notes:

- It seems such places focus on prices and physical comfort. If they ever actually talk about the food quality, they use the word succulent. I've always kind of thought about opening such a place and calling it "Succulent's." The staff would wear flair and the music would test well in controlled studies. I'd get some viral benefit by people calling my place "sucks" for short and, well, just having to go there.

- I've never been to Chef Geoff's. I've read mixed reviews.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well don't let me stop you!

I kind of get the "expectations" mentality. Years ago I went to a pho place and the experience was awful - there was no heat in Feb, so we wore coats and had an oscillating heater blowing on us. There was a bucket of dirty water sitting near our table. There was a really bright spotlight shining from the bar toward our table - the kind of meal you get at a place that closes the next week. That doesn't happen at Chili's/TGI Friday's/Cheesecake Factory/etc. We take the risk for occasional weirdness/unpleasantness but consider the reward worth that risk. The masses don't. In fact, I've found that in a non-foodie group, the best suggestion is usually the one that everyone recogizes, has a wide menu of standards, has a low price point, etc...bascially, the least common demoninator is rewarded with the "best choice" attaboy.

Side notes:

- It seems such places focus on prices and physical comfort. If they ever actually talk about the food quality, they use the word succulent. I've always kind of thought about opening such a place and calling it "Succulent's." The staff would wear flair and the music would test well in controlled studies. I'd get some viral benefit by people calling my place "sucks" for short and, well, just having to go there.

- I've never been to Chef Geoff's. I've read mixed reviews.

Yes, the risk/reward idea is accurate...and to push this back on topic, look at Chef Geoff's Rockville Menu.

Lots of variety, lots of choices, lots of influences. It's almost seems set up to be a upscale version of Cheesecake Factory et.al. It's a place you can go to no matter what you're in the mood for. And while I'll probably never have a transcendent meal there, I've also never left disappointed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have been following this thread but wasn't motivated to offer a view until now.

The (Very) Brief Version

Indeed, different strokes for different folks are what keep things interesting and businesses afloat. For any business, knowing what you are and who your customers are are keys to success. The Chef Geoff's customer is different from the Fiola or Joe's Noodle customer. They all succeed because they're delivering what their customers want at prices that ensure at least minimum (sometimes much more) profitability. All fair. All good.

The Long Version

I think there is merit to all the points raised upthread. But, found my head spinning a bit with the definitions. Expectations can relate to anything, very much including food quality. Dish and food quality are what drive me; what I expect at prices high and low. Hope sounds like the driver of someone who's uninformed and perhaps naive. Those with expectations aren't necessarily looking for predictable, ordinary and generic food. And, hope as defined above makes me envision clueless dreamers ready to waste wads of cash.

A different way to think about this has to do with money and how restaurants either make it or bleed it.

Excepting only the very small percentage of restaurants that are cash-hemorrhaging hobbies for billionaires, restaurants have to be profitable or they'll fail. This, of course, happens often for a very wide bevy of reasons.

To me, Geoff's is generic with ordinary food and maybe akin to Wal-Mart or Target in the retail world. Alternatively, the more popular restaurants here on dr.com are both upscale Neiman Marcuses and and more affordable yet still interesting and unique boutiques. Spots like Fiola or R24 are like Neiman. Spots like Fishnet, Joe's Noodle or Two Amys are boutiquey, great values and with big followings.

Restaurants can make money either way. And, given how incredibly hard it is to build a sustainably profitable small business, I think all successful restauranteurs deserve our respect as long as they're honest. Deserving respect, however, is not the same thing as deserving patronage since we each decide where we go and spend based on individual expectations and needs.

Geoff's arguably has a profit-maximizing strategy whereas the high-end or boutique places (interesting, different, ethnic, damn good even if not expensive) are trying to achieve a certain kind of reputation for putting out great and interesting food. The latter will typically offer great value but with lower margins or at least less bottom-line income than a Clydes, Maggianos or Geoff's. Tracy seems to take great pride in his business' financial success whereas other spots' greatest source of pride is in what they send out on plates. Different motivations. Different ways to succeed.

In any industry, money is there to be made by targeting different types of customers with different needs and different income levels.

I'm not a Geoff's customer simply because my expectation for any restaurant is that it be delicious, fairly priced, and memorable. By Tracy's own admission, his goal is for the food to be forgettable. For me, memorable is a great, non-generic meal, whether expensive or inexpensive. I'm big on value: the quality of what you get for whatever price paid. But I am an admirer of Geoff's business model (especially if it continues to prove successful as he scales). And I do fully appreciate and respect that others are different from me and enjoy Geoff's for many reaasons.

All fair and good. No right or wrong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All fair and good. No right or wrong.

Yes - and I think our ideas are aligned even if my choice of single words to sum up the different types of diners isn't quite right.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This all reminds me of the scene in "Big Night" (which if you haven't seen, shame on you!) where Pascal is describing why his admittedly lesser Italian restaurant for the masses is doing so well,

"A guy works all day, he don't want to look at his plate and ask, "What the fuck is this?" He wants to look at his plate, see a steak, and say "I like steak!"

All the analysis in this thread is great, but I think that sums it up pretty well.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This all reminds me of the scene in "Big Night" (which if you haven't seen, shame on you!) where Pascal is describing why his admittedly lesser Italian restaurant for the masses is doing so well,

"A guy works all day, he don't want to look at his plate and ask, "What the fuck is this?" He wants to look at his plate, see a steak, and say "I like steak!"

All the analysis in this thread is great, but I think that sums it up pretty well.

From the same movie (which is pretty funny). Here we have Secondo (the brother who just wants to give the masses what he thinks they want) feeling a bit overwhelmed and being put in his place by Pascal, who's slowly changing his mindset about great food:

You know everything has just become... too much.

Hey, hey, fucking guy! What this is: "too much"? HEY! It is never "too much"; it is only "not enough"! Bite your teeth into the ass of life and drag it to you! HEY!

and, from mtureck's Pascal, later in the film, after his transformation is almost complete:

God damn it, I should kill you! This is so fucking good I should kill you!

Makes both points nicely. Some just want the damn steak. Others want something a bit more special, interesting or memorable. There are restaurants that do both nicely and sustainably. Don't have to spend more to be memorable. Just have to have that as a priority and focus. That's why spots like Fishnet (less expensive) and Fiola (more expensive) can both delight someone like me. Both very memorable. And it's why there are absolutely customers who beat down the doors of Clydes and Chef Geoff's.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Chef Geoff's customer is different from the Fiola or Joe's Noodle customer.

Unless it's me, in which case he's exactly the same.

For all the talk of "delicious, fairly priced and memorable" and "the stupid, ill-informed, unsophisticated, masses," there is often much to be said for a convenient, decent, civilized place perhaps not to "dine," but to "eat.'

Sometimes I feel as though the urge to dump on places like Cheff Geoff's or any Spike Mendelsson spot reveals a certain insecurity, as if we have to assert our sophistication to convince ourselves of it. I'm speaking here more to the grand pronouncements of the last few posts as opposed to the "I ate there and didn't really like it" analyses earlier on.

"Since this is primarily a dining website, in search of artistry, I can't say that Chef Geoff's has culinary merit." Oh, ick. Does this mean we can't talk about Tater Tots and rotisserie chicken any more?

I always thought it was a website for people who like to eat and I get all nervous when people start dividing restaurants into the "worthy" and the "unworthy."

For what it's worth, I find CG's somewhere in the middle ground between truly loathsome places like Magianos and truly decent neighborhood places like Maple. I think it's a shade pricy for what they deliver, but if there was one in Columbia Heights, I'd eat there every now and again because it's decent and close.

  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just hit "like" for the first time on Waitman's post. Agree wholeheartedly on everything except his first line. And that's not so much disagreement.

On the "different customer" thing I wrote, of course talking in aggregate. Segments if you will. I've been to CG's also but not in a long time. Allowing for anecdotes and exceptions (guessing most of us visit 'mass market' places on occasion; some play the field more broadly; some change over time), I think it fair to say what I did. Those who frequent spots like Fishnet, Maple, Palena or Fiola generally aren't the same people who frequent spots like Clydes or CGs. Different but not good or bad, lesser or greater. No judgments. Just preferences.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally, I made a decision not to patronize any of GT's establishments after hearing a radio interview with him a few days after a Post article about him was published, showing him in his multi-gazillion dollar new home kitchen in Potomac or McLean. Yes I know that his wife is a successful television journalist. But during the interview, he whined about a proposal that employers had to provide a few days of paid sick leave to their employees, complaining that it would cut into his profit margin too much. Knowing what the going rate is for waitstaff (less than minimum wage) and most kitchen staff (minimum wage), and that many kitchen workers cannot afford to lose a day's pay, so they work sick, I found his attitude particularly loathesome. Raise your prices a few pennies per dish, dude. Or take less money for yourself. Treat your workers more humanely. JMHO.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unless it's me, in which case he's exactly the same.

For all the talk of "delicious, fairly priced and memorable" and "the stupid, ill-informed, unsophisticated, masses," there is often much to be said for a convenient, decent, civilized place perhaps not to "dine," but to "eat.'

Sometimes I feel as though the urge to dump on places like Cheff Geoff's or any Spike Mendelsson spot reveals a certain insecurity, as if we have to assert our sophistication to convince ourselves of it. I'm speaking here more to the grand pronouncements of the last few posts as opposed to the "I ate there and didn't really like it" analyses earlier on.

"Since this is primarily a dining website, in search of artistry, I can't say that Chef Geoff's has culinary merit." Oh, ick. Does this mean we can't talk about Tater Tots and rotisserie chicken any more?

I always thought it was a website for people who like to eat and I get all nervous when people start dividing restaurants into the "worthy" and the "unworthy."

For what it's worth, I find CG's somewhere in the middle ground between truly loathsome places like Magianos and truly decent neighborhood places like Maple. I think it's a shade pricy for what they deliver, but if there was one in Columbia Heights, I'd eat there every now and again because it's decent and close.

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know where Charles was attempting to come from, *and* understand what Don is saying. :)

I'm extremely reluctant to take shots at the "ill-informed, ignorant" masses, because not everyone uninterested in the latest fad is ignorant. My dad is a very successful man, with two masters degrees. He eats lunch or dinner out nearly every day for business. His ideal is a place that takes reservations, has a wide range of entrees, recognizable food (the "I love steak" mentioned above - great movie BTW), and service that won't be an embarrassment. He would no more drive in town and wait outside for an hour to have a meal at Little Serow -- although he loves Thai food and is the person who introduced me to it -- than he would try to flap his arms and fly to the moon. Some people are content to eat, not "dine," and very much prize something reasonably tasty and predictable.

And when he wants a place to take all of his kids and grandkids out to eat, he almost always takes us to Maggianos. They can handle a table for 12 with ease, always take reservations, and have something to please everyone right down to my 18-month-old niece. His birthday is next week, and no doubt we will all be eating at Maggianos to celebrate, "loathsome" as it is.

I am much less likely to patronize Chef Geoff's not because of the boring food, but because of the interview Zora mentioned. I am less and less enthralled with the way the industry works, with its exploitation of undocumented workers, long hours, low wages, and lack of health care or benefits. I would love to see a notation next to every place in the dining guide rating an establishment on how it treats its staff, so that I can truly evaluate whether it should get my patronage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Sorry, I'm not seeing that at all - if anything, I think it's the most thought-provoking thing that's been said thus far. Count me in as one who absolutely LOATHES painting restaurants with the broad brushes that this community has been using recently.

To say that a place like Chef Geoff's has no culinary merit means to abandon hope, all ye who enter. That if I happen to find myself there for a meal, I'm better off pocketing the cash and skipping eating. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't see that actually being the case at Chef Geoff's. (Honestly, I can't tell you with any level of certainty, because I've never eaten at any of the man's restaurants, but with as much cash as he's printing, he has to be doing SOMETHING right.)

But instead of offering up any sort of actual critique on what Chef Geoff's, Good Stuff, et al, do wrong, we just write the whole operation off in one pass. What does that add to the discussion? This is the more civilized and verbose version of the 1-star Yelp review that says "This place sucks!" and its less evil twin, the 5-star "Awesome!" review. It's lazy, and offers nothing to the reader except a feeling of judgement if they happen to hold a differing opinion.

Restaurant discussion is incredibly helpful when we're talking about facts; quality of food, quality of service, etc. It's provocative when we compare how different kitchens treat similar ingredients, or how certain staffs treat the guest experience. But something like value is so wildly subjective between people and so limited in scope, I'm not sure it's even worth talking about. What's a valuable restaurant? What does that even mean? Your definition will differ from my definition, and will differ from four other peoples' definitions. And at least when we call a restaurant good or bad, there's shades of gray in between.

To talk about restaurants as either having or not having merit is the worst kind of dichotomous classification that I feel should never be used for something as varied and as personal as restaurants. It offers very little room for discussion, and smacks of laziness. And maybe Charles was a bit sarcastic when he said it, but the point stands: if Chef Geoff's has no culinary merit, why are we here talking about it at all? Why are we talking about any of these restaurants that have no merit? You're not just calling into question the people who dine at these worthless establishments - you're calling into question the people who want to talk about them, even if it's to discuss something negative that they maybe should have seen coming.

What kind of discussion does that leave us with?

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Value and preferences are personal and, at least to me, interesting when supported. Decreeing whether a place "has merit" or "is worthy" can sound imperious but usually when taken out of context, Personal opinion, however colorfully conveyed, is the lifeblood of a site like this imho.

Though I probably don't like Maggianos anymore than Waitman, I wouldn't call it "loathsome" because it serves a market well, or seems like it does.

All the same, I think the context is critical. Nearly all the time on this site, personal opinions are being expressed and that's gold. Call it loathsome, say it sucks, whatever.I try to empathize with the small business owners in choosing whatever language to constructively criticize but, in the cases of CGs or Maggianos, that's less a concern since nothing anyone writes here is going to stop those trains.

Just support whatever argument with some facts or evidence and it becomes useful...maybe even entertaining.As long as it's not vindictive, hostile or destructive, I'm good. Had no problem whatsoever with Waitman's or Rocks' posts.Loved Zora's short post. They all had me thinking and I love that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry, I'm not seeing that at all - if anything, I think it's the most thought-provoking thing that's been said thus far. Count me in as one who absolutely LOATHES painting restaurants with the broad brushes that this community has been using recently.

To say that a place like Chef Geoff's has no culinary merit means to abandon hope, all ye who enter. That if I happen to find myself there for a meal, I'm better off pocketing the cash and skipping eating. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't see that actually being the case at Chef Geoff's. (Honestly, I can't tell you with any level of certainty, because I've never eaten at any of the man's restaurants, but with as much cash as he's printing, he has to be doing SOMETHING right.)

But instead of offering up any sort of actual critique on what Chef Geoff's, Good Stuff, et al, do wrong, we just write the whole operation off in one pass. What does that add to the discussion? This is the more civilized and verbose version of the 1-star Yelp review that says "This place sucks!" and its less evil twin, the 5-star "Awesome!" review. It's lazy, and offers nothing to the reader except a feeling of judgement if they happen to hold a differing opinion.

Restaurant discussion is incredibly helpful when we're talking about facts; quality of food, quality of service, etc. It's provocative when we compare how different kitchens treat similar ingredients, or how certain staffs treat the guest experience. But something like value is so wildly subjective between people and so limited in scope, I'm not sure it's even worth talking about. What's a valuable restaurant? What does that even mean? Your definition will differ from my definition, and will differ from four other peoples' definitions. And at least when we call a restaurant good or bad, there's shades of gray in between.

To talk about restaurants as either having or not having merit is the worst kind of dichotomous classification that I feel should never be used for something as varied and as personal as restaurants. It offers very little room for discussion, and smacks of laziness. And maybe Charles was a bit sarcastic when he said it, but the point stands: if Chef Geoff's has no culinary merit, why are we here talking about it at all? Why are we talking about any of these restaurants that have no merit? You're not just calling into question the people who dine at these worthless establishments - you're calling into question the people who want to talk about them, even if it's to discuss something negative that they maybe should have seen coming.

What kind of discussion does that leave us with?

fuzzy, I appreciate the time you put into writing this, but to my eyes, you've set up (unintentionally) multiple strawmen, and mowed 'em all down. This, interleaved with some blatantly obvious truths in a way that would require parsing and analyzing each sentence to respond to your post in any meaningful manner, and I just don't have the hour it would take me to do, and I'm not sure what would be accomplished if I did.

So let me just say "thanks" for your opinion. Please consider it read, thought about, and much appreciated (and I'm not being sarcastic - I really do appreciate your thoughts).

Cheers,

Rocks

PS - It was your post that made me rethink (and eliminate) the word "Ordinary" from the thread title.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not intended as a judgment, broad brush, criticism or praise. Just an observation I found mildly interesting.

With everything internet the past decade or so, direct marketing mail to homes is way down. Not sure about all of you but, generally, the only 5x7 unsolicited promotional cards we tend to get with our mail are from realtors, the occasional contractor or personal service types like teeth whitening providers.

I don't remember the last time I got such a marketing card from a restaurant. Until today.

post-2258-0-31899400-1357617167_thumb.jp

post-2258-0-04489200-1357617196_thumb.jp

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...