Red Flags on Menus?

One of my all-time favorite Chowhound posts involved a hound calling out someone involved with a restaurant for posting a stellar, obviously ulteriorly-motivated review of a mediocre pub restaurant in Davis Square (Somerville, MA). The hound tried to come up with something positive to say about the venue and came up with something like “on the plus side, their blue drinks are very blue.” One of my favorite backhanded compliments of all time, and I’d link to it if only I could figure out how to search the new Chowhound.


Use google to search CH

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I was joking about Smurf, but apparently it really is Smurf!


“puffo (POOF-foh) – was reminded of the blue gelato I saw in Italy called
“Puffo” – which is the Italian word for “Smurf” – which I didn’t sample,
but which my friend Alessandro tells me is anise flavored (like black
licorice). I’ve heard others report that puffo can also be bubble-gum flavored, so you might want to ask for a sample before you decide whether you want it.”

Another site showed the blue labeled as cotton candy, also disgusting.

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@Parsnipity, here’s where you quoted it on CH (it’s about Orleans in Davis Square):

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yeah, I tried to google search it per naf’s comment but only came up with my own quote. Apparently I’ve thought that was funny for a long time…


So as you read this thread it’s obvious some people took exception to each other’s tones, and some have stated they are done with the site all together.

I’m going on the record to say; “I’m sorry”. Even though I wasn’t personally involved, I apologize on behalf of all parties. We all have bad days, we all have the ability to misjudge tone or intentions we all make mistakes. This forum is no different than any other aspects of everyday life.

Well there is one exception…in everyday life you don’t have good ole NotJrvedivici in your corner, but here you do! While I have NO OFFICIAL CAPACITY on this site, I just like to consider myself an all around decent guy. (I’m also a smidge handsome oh and pretty dam funny and charismatic, but enough about me) Here’s my offer to all of you, if you’re having a bad day, or something rubs you the wrong way message me. Vent, curse, cry or just sit back and let me make fun of the SOB that’s making you miserable. I don’t mind, I truly don’t.

I like this site for what it is, a place for like minded people to come share their common interests. It’s a pleasant distraction for me from the every day trials and tribulations of life, this should never turn into a trial or tribulation, if it is drop me a line.

To those who say they left, if you’re reading this, come on back, I’m sorry!!

Peace out peeps.


I do to , Not! But if I need to vent I know where to go!


to be fair – they did do a followup online, and quite few of the restaurants have significantly upped their game, and now update their menus to show sources. It’s a matter of time until they backslide, but good while it lasts.

You are more than welcome! Even if it’s about me too!


Unfortunately couldn’t be further from the truth


L’Arpege is a tough table to book.

Tells me that the word "good’ is a very relative term.

As with all rules context is everything. For example I suspect he said it before the explosive spread of chain restaurants and blog/twitter inspired places to be seen.

However, if you update its a bit to add a qualifications for category and hype i.e. restaurants that have been open for three months it could hold true…

Actually in my experience often the best restaurants in terms of quality, execution and creativity have problems to stay open in the 1-3 year timeframe. Often they are ahead of their times, pushing boundaries and are less frequent visited but have much better food than other more popular places.

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Agree - I have been disappointed a number of times when a well loved favourite closes in its first years - but that is very much the norm for the industry which has a high failure rate across all categories.

But I don’t think that undermines Passard’s truism as with this category the fuller restaurants will probably be the better ones. “Quality, execution and creativity” are important factors, but you also need good service, a venue that works, food delivered at a decent price point etc etc.

I well remember a restaurant that opened near me that had quality, execution and creativity in spades. The chef was good, the food was interesting, the location was fine (between too very popular restaurants). But they only lasted six months, which I think was down to the weird stemware, crockery, ambiance, and service. Service that assumed all the diners were dumb and didn’t understand food…and as a result was pretty empty after the first month and everybody had given it a go.

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You make a good point about what promotes longevity. People tend to try new restaurants for the cooking (or some gimmick?) ; they tend to return for the hospitality.


I disagree – if the food is lousy, the service can never make up for it.

The big exception, @PhilD is tourist areas – anyplace close to a major tourist site (whether it’s Disney, Big Ben, or the Eiffel Tower) will tend to be packed…but this is anything BUT an indication of quality.

The restaurants in tourist zones don’t have to be good – most of the clientele are a one-meal market, so they don’t have to entice anyone back.


Agree if the food is bad it won’t survive. But that said if the food is just OK and the ambiance/hospitality is superb then it may have greater longevity than the great chef in a “bad restaurant”.

Most people eat out for fun, they want a good time and to relax…unfortunately to many great food is a bonus (and for some they wouldn’t know if they tasted it) and its the other factors that make a difference.

Also agree about the tourist zones - but that comes back to my category point i.e. tourist restaurants are not in the same “set” as those off the beaten track…that said even in tourist areas some are more popular than others.


I have experienced too many restaurants with excellent food, great service and anbience which failed. And I have seen way too many popular restaurants which haven’t good food and/or service but good PR agencies. No, as I said before I think Passard has it completely wrong here

My flags of all flags is the “one too many ingredient syndrome.” It is always a sign that they are trying way too hard to be “creative” and the result is that they miss the mark completely.

I think all shellfish in a dish should be listed, and I have to put bacon on that list as well. Of course I ask if the fish has clam juice, but since shellfish is the most common allergy in the US, it only makes sense to indicate that the stuff is in there.

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