Wednesday, April 28, 2010

8 Places New Yorkers Shouldn't Eat

Walking across town on 23rd St. the other day I noticed 2 restaurants I hadn't seen before when I crossed 6th Avenue. It's really no shocker to miss a restaurant here or there since there are so many in town, but these particular places are extremely well known, albeit for all the wrong reasons in my opinion. The culprits you say? Olive Garden and Outback Steakhouse, glorious representatives of America's shopping mall culture, and not but a few feet from each other. It matters not to me where in the city these mediocre food establishments are but what really twists my shorts is why? Undoubtedly the constant influx of tourists and people who move here from all over the country is the reason. When asked most people will tell you their reason for going to say Applebees on 42nd St. isn't because the food is good but because it reminds them of home. "Oh look Bobby TGI Friday's, that so reminds me of Topeka."  Some other reasons for going are as follows: easy, cheap, serving size and convenience. Hmmm...I always think of food as convenient...who gives a shit if it tastes good! Anyway for those of us who actually live and/or work here, this is my list of places New Yorkers shouldn't be caught dead in.

1. TGI Friday's: Now this lovely establishment was actually started here in NYC but that is no reason to give them any kudos. To me this is my prime offender primarily due to their onslaught of advertising particularly when I am watching football. For example their tag line, which is very annoying, says...'Everyone could use more Friday's!' No not really. How about...'Everyone could use better food so don't come here!'

2. Applebee's: Another restaurant with an annoying ad campaign that states...'Welcome to our neighborhood!' What neighborhood? Are you referring to the 1600 hundred locations in 49 states? That's some neighborhood. Applebee's rates very low in the food quality and taste department pushing their atmosphere, rather than their food, down our throats. Very troubling is their use of memorabilia that they plaster all over their walls (common on this list) to make it feel like a local joint. Of course this is mainly to distract you from the terrible food.

3. Olive Garden: Extremely egregious, Olive Garden (who runs a culinary institute and owns a restaurant in Tuscany) exists here where you can find some of the best authentic Italian cuisine without having to do much research. Thankfully I have never been dragged there for any reason, to me it would be like ordering from Domino's (see later), a cardinal sin that I would be held accountable for eternity. I'm half Italian so I take it a bit personally and the only reason this isn't first on my list is because the advertising isn't quite as bad as the others. However trying to pass off authentic Italian cuisine at a franchise restaurant pisses me off. I really hate the name too.

4. Red Lobster: Almost as bad a name as Olive Garden, how dumb is it to call yourself Red Lobster. It's lobster and it's red. It's food and it sucks! This place is certainly troubling in the north east where great seafood is readily available. I can only imagine the guilt eating at this restaurant in say...Boston!

5. Outback Steakhouse: Out of all of the chain restaurants Outback is the one I have eaten at the most, never in the city mind you, but still a thorn in my side. Long ago a place for fellow employees and I to hang out after a long day at work. In this case it was the only place close by....convenient, easy...I know, we're not talking NYC ok! Anyway annoying commercials, of course. Good food, not so much. If you like lots and lots of added sugar and salt this is the place for you (very common on this list as well).

6. Chili's: Ok perhaps it's the king of the most annoying commercial jingles, (that always seems to bounce around in your head) but thankfully Chili's has not ever been a stop in my travels. So I guess I can't say anything bad about it right? There's one in Queens so don't go there to eat that's all.

7. Hooters: Do I really need to tell you a reason not to go here?

8. Domino's, Pizza Hut, Papa John's, Little Ceasars: Obviously these are not restaurants but there's no way in hell any respectable New Yorker with a conscience should ever order from one of these places. Now if you are at an office party and there is nothing else to eat but this stuff (I don't like calling it pizza), DON'T EAT IT! Run down to the corner and grab a slice from Ray's, you'll feel much better.

Honorable Mentions:
Ruby Tuesday
Johnny Rockets
Hard Rock Cafe
Planet Hollywood
California Pizza Kitchen

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