Restaurants that do not live up to what they are known for

We were given a gift card to Red Lobster and with careful ordering it can be quite acceptable.

Our orders were boiled lobster and grilled mahi, both were fine.

Have we been back? No. :lobster:


The two near me are gone. I would go on occasion but they switched from cod to pollock and I quit going.

One of the nearby locations fried when it was ordered and I don’t think most could take five minutes out of their busy lives for freshly cooked fish. :fish:

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I think the burgers at all these are similar - the smashed kind, high fat proportion for “juicy.”

There was a fancy chain in CA that did the same style - but high quality ingredients (grass fed beef etc). Their onion rings were great, but I could have done without the rest of the menu. Looked it up - Burger Lounge.

I’m willing to concede that I’ve just realized I don’t like smashed burgers, and that may be the common thread (add Smash Burger, speaking of).


well, while we’re up and closer, we need also a thread for places that live up to their adverts…

case in point
(back story - I grew up in the Philadelphia area - home of the hoagie. I never heard of a “grinder” until after high school… )
fast forward to years-back and today - no chain and no independents found that matched the old style Mom&Pop deli hoagies.

until . . .
Jersey Mike opened a shop here.
they slice a roll
the bottom sits by the slicer where all the meats and cheese are fresh sliced for your order
the top get smeared with (too much) mayo, next order will request less mayo
then all the goodies are piled on.
a spritzing of vinegar/oil/seasonings.

this is the only shop I’ve found that does the fresh slice routine. everyone else is picking out of a half pan sliced some years back… or places like Subway where me-thinks the pre-sliced, pre-portioned batches between wax sheets are done somewhere in another state . . .

fresh makes an enormous difference.
it’s the closest thing I’ve had to the 50-60-70’s


D.A. Subs in Aberdeen/Matawan does the fresh slice routine.

Thinking of non-fast food or chain places, here in NYC some places that come to mind for not living up to the hype but still survive on tourists who don’t know any better.

Halal Guys food cart - chicken & rice used to be a value proposition for $5 when you were drunk. Haven’t had it in years now that they serve par boiled chicken with plastic packs of watery mayo.

Grimaldi’s pizza - yeah worth it when Patsy was there, now wouldn’t go near it for any reason.

Junior’s - the cheese cake is just a heavy belly bomb. If you prize quantity of calories over quality of food, go for it.

Katz’s - the original restaurant. Yes, the sandwich is great but all pain in the neck stuff that comes with it like the ticket thing just turns me off. You can get as good pastrami elsewhere and not have to deal with the stupidness.

But count me in on Taco Bell and In n Out. The dorito tacos are amazing and a double double animal style with road kill fries. OMG.


OMG yes. I mean I will still happily eat street meat, but the whole chain-ification of Halal Guys was only going to end one way. Also, NYT and others trying to “recreate” street cart food.

As my dad says, there are reasons street meat tastes good, and a sterile setup is not one of them :rofl:

I’m good for some Taco Bell once a year or so (it’s usually every couple, given that they are not readily accessible in NYC.)


Pat’s Cheesesteak is mindblowing if you’re 24, slightly drunk at 2 am, and have never had a cheesesteak before.

I live in a city with no cheesesteaks.


Probably the most disappointing thing I can remember trying in NYC, that had been recommended. I think I threw around half away.

I like Taco Bell for what it is. I eat there maybe once a year.

Yes, agree that some of the popular, smaller chains do have things in common, especially better ingredients to begin with, and tight quality control. A smallish chain I’d add to the category is Fat Burger; had an excellent one in Orange County, but the location I went to up here was quite disappointing. As far as smash burgers go, haven’t had one per se, but don’t think some of the small chains qualify for that descriptor? Please explain @Saregama !

I have taco bell taco shells and seasoning mix in my cupboard. When I am on the kick to make taco supremes .

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I used to like Taco Bell way back, on occasion. Last time there was on a road trip, about a dozen years ago, at one of the locations in a truck stop, the kind of place with another chain fast food place too - can’t remember which one. Anyway, it was truly awful, but hard to explain - confounding even, how a chicken taco could be so bad. Kind of like hospital food, I guess. That was the last time for TB, but suppose I may give it another try in the future. In the distant past, it was pretty damn good when in the mood.

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I had my knee and hip replaced on different occasions. Both times they had mushroom risotto, not bad. After the knee I was in so much pain the Wifeacita had to tell me what I ate.

Enough opioids and everything tastes good. :crazy_face:

Taco Bell? I had one in the parking lot where I worked for four years and went exactly once because the boss wanted to go. I never went back and that was twenty five years ago.


Knee and hip? Yikes! I :heart: Vicodin. I’m the Brett Favre of my neighborhood. :muscle:

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While in the hospital morphine did nothing for the pain and they graduated me to dilaudid, the Rolls Royce of opioids.

Forget these space tourist flights. A few IV’s of this stuff and you are in a different Solar System.

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The only thing I eat at Taco Bell is the bean burrito with plenty of hot sauce (level 2 of the 4 they have). It’s not all that good, but it is filling and moderately healthy. (I’m sure it has too much fat and sodium.)

Vicodin!! I had a prescription for that to combat the pain of recurring gout. Long story short I never felt and results from them and even when taking with alcohol (aka the Matthew Perry) I never appreciated anything.




I lived on them for 18 months after a serious injury. I went through hundreds a month and still had oodles left over. I poured them down the toilet. 🤦


I had some leftover oxycodone but I put them to good work saving them for boring meetings at work.

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Making noodles. Phongdien Town, Cantho City, Southern Vietnam.
Credit: CiaoHo