You ask what’s my favorite sandwich, I say it’s the Baaadasss Breakfast Sandwich from a health-food boutique called Locali (locations in Hollywood, Venice, and as Localita, in DTLA). It tastes like what you hoped the McGriddle would’ve lived up to except it’s vegan. I’m just as surprised as you are. (more…)

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Sunhui Chang had a catering company called Kitchen Dick Road. He was driving around up in Washington, on the Olympic Peninsula, and he saw a street sign: Kitchen-Dick Road, right at the intersection of Woodcock. Back home in Oakland, California, he called his company that: Kitchen Dick Road. He had cards printed up. He thought it was hilarious.

But how many brides really want to deal with the question Who’s catering your wedding with an answer that has dick in it? So Chang and his wife, Ellen, started calling it KDR instead, and when people asked—people who would never, ever find Kitchen Dick Road even a tiny bit funny, blank to the self-deprecating humor that hardens like callouses on a cook’s blade finger—they made something up to fit the initials: Korean Dude Rocks. (more…)

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Say Hello to ‘The New York Pizza Project’

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April 24, 2014 // Uncategorized

From Slice

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[Photograph: NY Pizza Project]

Five, 30-year old native New Yorkers—Corey, Gabe, Ian, Nick, and Tim—set out to capture the unique relationship between the people of NYC and their pizza. The group started out documenting the pizzerias of the city for fun, but quickly realized what they had and set about transforming their photographs and anecdotes into a full-fledged book, The New York Pizza Project. An endeavor, it seems, that touched a lot of people: their Kickstarter campaign to fund the book’s publication met its goal ($15K) within the first 48 hours—the campaign closes to the public May 15th. To fans of pizza, contributing seems like a no-brainer, but in case you need any extra convincing, they’ve come up with some pretty nifty rewards, like an hour-long session with a pizzaiolo.

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[Photograph: NY Pizza Project]

The guys visited over 100 shops in the five boroughs, capturing the stories of the patrons, owners, and employees. “We like to say ‘it’s not about the food, it’s about everything else,’” said Ian Manheimer. “We started to see the city through the lens of the stories we were capturing. Recurring themes about immigrants starting new, the complications of working with family, and small businesses trying to withstand gentrification were told to us over and over again. To us, these narratives became the authentic voice of the city, and we wanted to share them with everyone.”

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[Photograph: NY Pizza Project]

We, for one, are very glad they did. For more information on The New York Pizza Project, please visit their website, or visit the Kickstarter page to show them your support. And if you want to dig a little deeper, check out the Village Voice‘s interview with Gabe Zimmer.

From Sweets

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[Photographs: Jacqueline Raposo]

Nestled amongst the copious amounts of cheese at the J.E. Gibbs stand in Findlay Market is a display case of swoon-worthy homemade fudge ($8.99/lb). There are pecan and cookie-studded varieties, but if you like peanut butter, you can’t go wrong with the Chocolate Peanut Butter and Tiger Butter varieties.

chocolate peanut butter fudge

The classic Chocolate Peanut Butter completely satiated those in our group who wanted a hefty nibble. It wasn’t as sweet as we’d expected, and therefore easier to eat more of than the other types of fudge. Because of the darker cocoa content, the chocolate layer was a tad (just a tad) dry, but not so much so that it took attention away from the richness of the thick wedge of peanut butter. Both the chocolate and the peanut butter were pleasantly present on the tongue without one overpowering the other. Those in our group who don’t like their sweets too sweet loved it—and how often can you say that fudge is not that sweet?

tiger butter fudge

The Tiger Butter version, on the other hand, is immensely sweet, so much so that it was too much for the dark-chocolate lovers who tasted it. Yet because of the higher fat count in the white chocolate fudge—which made up the bulk of the bite—it was also the creamier of the two, and that texture won over those who go gaga for sugar. Though it’s only a slight layer nestled between the white chocolate, the peanut butter flavor somehow came through more prominently than in the chocolate/peanut butter version, and the drizzle of dark chocolate on top of the Tiger grounded the whole thing before the bite went overboard.

About the author: Jacqueline Raposo writes about people who make food and cooks a lot of stuff in New York City, but has a soft spot for Cincinnati and can’t stop going back. Read more at www.WordsFoodArt.com or tweet her out at @WordsFoodArt.

NYC Food Events for the Weekend and Beyond

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April 24, 2014 // Uncategorized

From Serious Eats: New York

Welcome to Gotham West Market

Learn about the design elements that go into making a successful food hall such as Gotham West Market. [Photograph: Jacqueline Raposo]

Friday (April 25)

The Pleasure of Good Food
Friday, April 25th, 12:00 p.m.
Join Jody Williams, chef at Buvette in the West Village, and author Adam Sachs for a discussion of the joys of food. Williams will share recipes and tips gained in her time as a chef. $21. 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY; details.

Extreme Chocolate: A Walking Tour
Friday, April 25th, 1:00 p.m.
Culinary historian and cookbook author Alexandra is leading a New York chocolate tour. $70. Jacques Torres Chocolates, 350 Hudson Street, New York, NY; details.

LIVE from the NYPL
Friday, April 25th, 7:00 p.m.
In celebration of the release of his new book, The Craft Beer Revolution: How a Band of Microbrewers Is Transforming the World’s Favorite Drink, Brooklyn Brewery cofounder Steve Hindy will speak with New Belgium Brewing Company CEO Kim Jordan and founder of the American Homebrewers Association Charlie Papazian about the influence the craft brewing movement has had on the American beer scene. $15-$25. Celeste Bartos Forum, NYPL, 42nd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues, New York, NY; details.

Five Boro Craft Beer Fest
Friday, April 25th, 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
The Five Boro Craft Beer Fest is bringing together 33 brewers, all from the New York area. Over 100 beers will be available to sample, and Stolen Rhodes will provide music. $55-$85. Studio Square NYC, 35-44 37th Street, Queens, NY; details.

Monday (April 28)

Food + Design: New York’s Nouveau Food Halls
Monday, April 28th, 6:00 p.m.
Food halls such as Gotham West and The Plaza Food Hall are playing an increasingly important role in NYC’s food scene. Join designers from across the country for a panel discussing how to create a successful food hall. After the panel, guests will sample food in a makeshift hall outside of the event space. $25-$40. NYIT Auditorium on Broadway, 1871 Broadway, New York, NY; details.

Taste of the Nation
Monday, April 28th, 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign is hosting its 27th annual Taste of the Nation event to raise money to fight childhood hunger in America. Over 75 chefs and bartenders are coming together to make food and drinks. Marc Forgione, Alex Guarnaschelli, Scott Conant, and more will be signing books. $225-$425. 82 Mercer, 82 Mercer Street, New York, NY; details.

Tuesday (April 29)

Tasting Brooklyn
Tuesday, April 29th, 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Brooklyn Exposed is putting on its fourth annual Tasting Brooklyn. Guests can sample unlimited food and drink from over 30 vendors, and DJ Nutritious will provide music. $55-$80. The Green Buildng, 452 Union Street, Brooklyn, NY; details.

Farmer Dinner Series: Dinner with Ray Bradley
Tuesday, April 29th, 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Chef Brian Loiacono will prepare a meal featuring the eggs and pork from Ray Bradley’s Bradley’s Farms. The menu will contain an interpretation of a scotch egg and pork three ways, and feature beverage pairings from Sommelier Joseph Camper. $95. db Bistro Moderne, 55 West 44th Street, New York, NY; details.

Wednesday (April 30)

310 Sessions, an Evening of Great Food and Wine
Wednesday, April 30th, 7:00 p.m.
Brooks Winery and Red Rooster are putting on a spring dinner featuring five courses and guide pairings of Brooks wines from the Willamette Valley. Dishes will include pea soup and roasted lamb. $110. Ginny’s Supper Club, 310 Lenox Avenue, New York, NY; details.

Thursday (May 1)

Cheese and Tequila Pairing
Thursday, May 1st, 7:00 p.m.
Join cheesemonger Martin Johnson (formerly of Dean and DeLuca and the Bedford Cheese Shop) for an event pairing cheeses with four different tequilas, as well as one wine and one beer. $40. 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY; detail.

Wine & Spirits Tasting
Thursday, May 1st, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Try stand-out wines from some of the most interesting wine lists in New York. Participating restaurants include Amali, El Quinto Pino, Shalom Japan, Grand Central Oyster Bar, and more, showcasing over 100 domestic and international wines. $85. Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street, New York, NY; event website

Multi-Day

Food Book Fair
Friday, April 25th through Sunday, April 27th
The Fourth Annual Food Book Fair encompasses a pop-up bookstore, panel discussions, a film screening, a pop-up farm, and more. The main events last three days, but the bookstore will go up on Friday, Aril 18th. Free – $225. The Wythe Hotel, 80 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn, NY; details.

The first step to great food is great knife skills. Check out more Knife Skills this way!

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How to cut citrus slices, wedges, and suprèmes. [Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

This week we’re gonna show you how to cut citrus fruits into slices (rounds), wedges, and suprèmes (aka fancy-pants segments). Seems like simple stuff, right? And it is, but doing it right can make a world of difference in how your finished dishes look and taste.

When shopping, look for fruit that seems heavy for its size. Most ripe citrus fruit should give quite a bit when squeezed. If too firm, leave it on the shelf and move on. Citrus fruit will get softer as it sits at home, but don’t expect a sour orange to become sweeter. Once it’s been picked, it’s about as sweet as it’s gonna be.

Ripe citrus fruit can be stored for around two weeks in the crisper drawer in your fridge or in an open bowl on the counter if your home is relatively cool. Once cut open, store citrus in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to five days.

Citrus Slices (Rounds)

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One of my very first restaurant jobs, back when I worked at a Mongolian grill-style joint in Cambridge (yes, I was a spatula-wielding Knight of the Round Grill), was cutting oranges into thin rounds for the bar. I got through about a half case of them before the chef, a large, scarred Colombian who preferred to wear those skinny, button-up dishwasher’s shirts so he could show off his tattoos, came by and chucked them in the garbage.

Apparently my rounds weren’t thin and even enough, which largely had to do with the fact that I’d never sharpened my knife and ended up crushing the oranges rather than slicing them. Rule #1 of knife skills: keep your blade sharp, and hone it regularly.

Uses: garnishing drinks, layering over or under roasted, grilled, or steamed chicken, fish, or vegetables.

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Once you’ve got a sharp knife, slicing rounds are a piece of cake. Hold the fruit firmly but gently with one hand, tucking your fingers into a claw so that your knuckles extend beyond your fingertips.

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Slice by starting at the heel and pulling back on the blade with gently downward pressure. Remember, you’re slicing, not chopping, which means that you should try and maximize horizontal motion while pressing down just enough to get it to slide through the fruit. The more gently you are, the more even and pretty your rounds will be.

Citrus Wedges

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A fresh burst of citrus at the table can liven up flavors in a way that adding it in the kitchen just can’t. There are dozens and dozens of ways to cut citrus to be squeezed at the table from simple (cut that lemon in half) to elaborate (you know, those teeny-tiny mesh skirts that they cover lemons with at fancy pants restaurants so you don’t get pits on your steamed fish?).

I personally waffle through various forms, but the one I keep coming back to is your basic twelfth-of-a-lemon wedge.

Uses: Any time you want to give guests the opportunity to add more citrus at the table, including drinks, grilled foods, tacos, fried foods, and…many, many others.

Step 1: Trim the Ends

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Start by slicing off the ends of the fruit. You want to cut off just enough that the internal flesh is barely exposed.

Step 2: Split in Half

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Next, slice the fruit in half along the equator.

Step 3: Split Again

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Place one cut half down on the cutting board, and slice it in half crosswise.

Step 4: Cut Into Wedges

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Cut it in half two more times, dividing it into six even wedges. Repeat with the second half of the fruit for a total of twelve wedges.

Step 5: Trim Pith

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If you’re dining in mixed company and want to impress your date, here’s how to get extra fancy by cleaning up each individual wedge. Start by slicing off the white pith at the edge of the wedge.

Step 6: Remove Seeds

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Using the tip of your knife, carefully pry out any seeds from inside and discard.

Citrus Suprèmes (Segments)

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There are several reasons to cut your citrus fruits into pith-free segments (suprèmes, pronounced soo-’prems, if you want to be fancy about it).

  • The pith is bitter and can ruin the flavor of the fruit. I’m sure many a grapefruit hater would change their mind after tasting the sweet segments the way they were intended.
  • The membrane between the segments is papery, gets stuck in your teeth, and adds nothing to the flavor of the fruit
  • The slices can be incorporated much more attractively into a finished dish. Fruit salads are tastier. Relishes and vinaigrettes can be eaten without having to pick bits out.
  • It makes you look way cool.

Uses: salads, garnishes, relishes, salsas, chutneys, and eating plain.

Step 1: Trim Ends

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Start by slicing off the ends of the fruit. You want to cut off just enough that the internal flesh is barely exposed.

Step 2: Start Peeling

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Lay the fruit down on one of its cut surfaces, then insert the knife blade into the space between the flesh and the skin at an angle that matches the contour of the fruit.

Step 3: Follow Contours

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Work your knife around with a gently sawing motion, following the contour of the fruit and removing just enough skin to expose the flesh underneath. Your goal is to get as high a yield as possible on the flesh.

Step 4: Work Around the fruit

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Keep working around the fruit, slicing off thin segments of the skin.

Step 5: Clean it Up

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Once you’ve removed all the hard skin, go back and use your knife to trim off any extra bits of pith that have stuck to the surface of the flesh.

Step 6: Slice Along a Membrane

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Holding the fruit in one hand, look for the thin strips of membrane that separate each segment. You’re going to be cutting on either side of each of those membranes, as close as possible. Pick a segment, then insert your knife close to the inside of the membrane, cutting through almost to the core.

Step 7: Cut Out the Wedge

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Move along to the other side of the wedge and cut along the inside of the opposite membrane, again almost to the core.

Step 8: Release the Slice

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The slice should release with no pith or membrane attached.

Step 9: Repeat

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Continue working around the fruit, cutting along either side of each membrane and releasing slices into a bowl as you go.

Step 10: Finished

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Your core should look like this when you’re done.

Step 11: Squeeze!

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Squeeze the core over the segments to release any extra juice. Store the segments in their own juice in a sealed container in the fridge.

More Knife Skills This Way!

Make Breakfast More Whimsical With Egg Shapers

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April 24, 2014 // Uncategorized

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[Photograph: Donna Currie]

When a company is named Monkey Business, you’ve got to figure that their products will be at least a little bit whimsical. Their Egg Shapers ($14.99 for the face; $10.25 for the sun and cloud) are strictly for fun.

Egg Shapers are silicone molds designed for cooking eggs, with appropriately-placed round holes to corral the yolks. They’re easy to use: just crack the eggs into the mold and cook the eggs as you’d usually cook your sunny-side or basted eggs.

I tried these with large, extra-large, and jumbo eggs, and found that the best results came from using extra-large eggs, particularly for the face—the whites have a lot of territory to cover. To get the most attractive face, I found that separating yolks from white first, then pouring the whites into the mold followed by the two yolks for eyes worked best.

The instructions suggested oiling or buttering the insides of the molds for easier egg-release, but I didn’t bother with that, and they came out just fine. It helps if you use a large spatula to move the face—it’s pretty big—or you can carefully slide it onto a plate.

After that, it’s up to your creative self to decorate the eggs—or not. I went minimalist with some ground pepper for hair and a bit of roasted red pepper for a mouth. But you could certainly go wild if you wanted to. Or let the kids run amok with vegetables, cheese, and other additions to make breakfast a little more interesting.

And then send a breakfast sausage missile into the sun and blow it up. Or poke someone in the eye. It’s all in good fun.

The egg shapers are dishwasher safe.

Disclaimer: Testing samples were provided to Serious Eats.

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[Photographs: Shao Z.]

From crispy pan-fried noodles to a bowl of wonton noodle soup, fresh Chinese egg noodles are one of the most common noodles you’ll find at Chinese restaurants. Just like Italian pasta or ramen, when cooked properly, they should have a firm bite and springy texture, and the wide variation in thickness and springiness makes Chinese egg noodles some of the most versatile to cook with. All week we’ll be talking about the various types of noodles you might find at a good Chinese market and how to cook them. Check out the whole series here.

For me, a dim sum brunch isn’t complete without a plate of Supreme Soy Sauce Chow Mein. A simple dish of stir-fried thin noodles cooked with bean sprouts and scallions, it’s dry-fried, which means that it’s cooked mostly in oil, with just a thin coating of a soy-based sauce added to it at the end and cooked until it coats the noodles in a concentrated layer of flavor,

Just like the other dim sum classic of crispy pan fried noodles in sauce, this dish is made with thin egg noodles, which are very similar in shape and texture to wonton noodles. Also labeled Hong Kong-Style noodles, they usually come par-boiled, carefully drained, and ready to stir-fry. (You could make this dish with wonton noodles, if you were willing to par-cook and very carefully dry them beforehand).

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My version of the dim sum classic uses the same noodles, bean sprouts, and scallions, but I also add finely julienned carrots, Chinese chives, and sliced five-spice tofu.

Preparing the vegetables is the most time-consuming part of the dish, but the even cooking and gorgeous presentation in the end are worth it. I even like to pick the ends off the bean sprouts, though you can leave them on if you’d like.

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As with all stir-fries, it’s important to get your oil very hot and to cook your ingredients in the right order and in batches so that your wok has time to reheat between ingredients. (Read up more about stir-frying basics here.) In this case, that means starting with the tofu and frying it until lightly browned, then adding a splash of soy sauce (which gets absorbed quickly), then the chives, cooked just until barely wilted. The vegetables come out and get set aside.

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Next, more oil gets heated, then the noodles are added. Because Hong Kong noodles are already par-cooked and dry, they cook very rapidly and stay loose and separated. When stir-frying noodles, set aside the spatula and stick with tongs or chopstick to help you maneuver the noodles without crushing or breaking them.

I like to let them get a little bit crispy before adding a sauce made with soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, sugar, and white pepper. The sauce is cooked down until it coats the noodles completely, with no liquid left in the bottom of the wok. Make sure to keep the noodles moving constantly once you add the sauce. You don’t want them to clump!

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We’re almost done now. Next, the bean sprouts go in and cook until barely tender…

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…followed by the carrots and the scallions…

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…and finally the tofu and chives.

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Serve it all straight away so the vegetables are still bright and crunchy and the noodles are still firm. I like to serve it with chili oil and hot sauce on the side.

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From Chicago

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[Photograph: Sarah Song]

Patsy’s Pub & Grill is a total dive, a tiny room with a handful of tables and a worn wooden bar. Bare bones wood paneling and beer bottles on a mantle complete the decorating scheme. But don’t let appearances fool you—the food here is absolutely killer. The Brother Rob’s smoked pork sandwich ($9.95) is nothing short of barbecue pork paradise on a bun. According to the menu description, the pork is marinated overnight, doubly rubbed in “special spices,” and smoked for twelve hours. The result is luscious chunks and shreds of pulled pork, with a strong (but not overpowering) smoke flavor. The pork is falling-apart tender, with just the right amount of fatty bits and burnt edges to give it textural appeal.

The mound of smoked pork is mixed with house-made barbecue sauce that is tomato sweet with just a hint of heat. My hunch is that the pork would be equally tasty sauce-less, but the sauce’s flavors complement the smoky meat, and just the right amount is used; the pork is neither over- nor under-sauced. The accompanying bun is all golden smoosh, but toasted on the inside. Despite some sauce-soaking, it holds its shape admirably. There are no fancy accompaniments here, just simple, scrumptious barbecued pork on a bun. This is definitely one hot, heaping mess of sandwich worth reaching for the wet-naps.

What are NYC’s Most Overrated Restaurants?

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April 24, 2014 // Uncategorized

From Serious Eats: New York

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[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Last week we asked you to share your thoughts on the city’s most underrated restaurants. But doing so just begs the question: which restaurants do you think are the city’s most overrated?

There’s a few ways a restaurant can be overrated. It might actually be bad, completely undeserving of its hype. But we find that most overrated restaurants are totally fine except for their breathless praise and endless attention, for a dish, a chef, or a cuisine that’s celebrated for its own sake regardless of its actual quality.

What do you think makes an overrated restaurant, and what do you think are the worst culprits in the city? Let us know in the comments.