Hate to spend money on bad food, atmosphere or service when I dine out.  Unfortunately I have had some negative dining experiences and wanted to share them with you so you can avoid them.

Tried and not sure yet.

Alta – Cosme alum Hugo Vera turns out Mexican fare that’s not your usual fare, like chiles relienos stuffed with steak tartare, blue-corn tostadas topped with Archic char, torta-like sandwich of ground chorizo, queso fresco and postatoes stuffed into a bun that’s soaked with guajillo chilli.  Didn’t love it first visit but will try again as it has gotten rave reviews.

The Grill – Seagram Building, 99 E. 52nd Street, 212-375-9001 – Not my kind of place.  Good for a business dinner.  Another opening from Major Food Group (Rich Torrise, Mario Carbone, Jeff Zalaznick) in the old Four Seasons supper club.   They left the landmark interior in place and service is as serious as it ever was.  They have reconstructed all the continental classics of the by gone days with slabs of prime ribs, brandy soaked cherries jubilee and Dover sole three ways.

Tried and suggest you stay away!

Black Barn – 19 E 26th St., 1212-265-5959 – a major overhaul of SD26 (which was much needed), with new owners but same chef.  They changed the Italian menu for a new-American one of grilled items, slow-cooked specials, and plates for sharing.  Food was good but the front is a very noisy bar area and even the back room has a din that is annoying.  Stay clear of it if you value conversation. (http://blackbarnrestaurant.com)

Cafe Altro Paradiso – 235 Spring Street (Avenue of the Americas) – Food mediocre.  Bad reviews.  Chef Ignacio Mattos (Estela) opened this Italian restaurant.

Cut by Wolfgang Puck – 99 Church St / Barclay St. in the Four Seasons Hotel – Wolfgang Puck’s NYC restaurant with his signature Steak House.  A friend has eaten in his other Cut restaurant and said stay away.  Much better places in NYC to get a good steak.

Kat & Theo – 5 W. 21st St., at Fifth Ave. –  Queens-born chef Paras Shah did time at Momofuku Noodle Bar and cooked around Spain for a year. 70-seat Flatiron restaurant was lovely, warm, and welcoming.  New American, Mediterranean-accented menu had great food but the service was beyond spotty. Couldn’t get drink or food order correct, had run out of the bottle and glass of wine on the very limited wine list (though they had only been open a couple of weeks – maybe they should buy by the case!).

La Pecora Bianca – 1133 Broadway / 26th Street  – Tried again, and recommend only eating at one of the outside tables as the acoustics makes the noise level way too loud to enjoy your meal and company.  Chef Mark Barak (Claudette) cooks seasonal Italian food locally sourced and simply made (all home made pastas).  Casual restaurant with a main dining room, bar, and six at the chef’s counter in front of the open kitchen.  The food was very good, and services was friendly, but the noise level was deafening so don’t head there with a hangover.

Loyal – 289 Bleecker St (Seventh Ave) – Chef, John Fraser (Nix and Dovetail) opened an American brasserie in the West Village.  Loved Dovetail, but afraid I can’t recommend his new addition.  I loved the bartender, Matthew, and the atmosphere is inviting, if you arrive very early, but gets packed and very noisy quickly.  And the food…boring is the first word that comes to mind.  And we tried quite a few items, each more disappointing than the next.  The only thing that looked interesting was the burger with duck fat fried tater totters…we gave up at this point and didn’t try it.  Skip this place. 

Loring Place – 21 W 8th Street, 1212-388-1831 – Dan Kluger (ABC Kitchen)  opened his own place. The restaurant is lovely and has a comfortable bar room where you can eat and drink.   Everything is locally sourced, and seasonal, and he prepares a large part of the menu in his wood burning oven, grill and smoker box.  Known for his vegetables he serves delicious wood-grilled broccoli with pistachio-mint dressing, and a celery Caesar salad.  He also house-mills his flour for the in-house baked bread and pizza’s.  But now for the punch line…I have never wanted to return, and my husband and friend who accompanied me feel the same way.  But most everyone else I talk to loved it, so try it, and let me know what you think.

Piora – 430 Hudson Street – Simon Kim and Chef Christopher Cipollone create some delicious dishes BUT the service left a lot to be desired.  We ordered cocktails and the waiter pushed us to order our meal very soon after.  We specifically told him we wanted to enjoy our cocktails prior to our dinner coming out and would order a bottle of wine with our meal (we arrived 1/2 hour early so they weren’t rushed to turn our table).  But the appetizer came out at almost the same time they delivered our cocktails.  And they seems very put out when we reminded them that we had asked to delay dinner till we finished out drinks. Service didn’t improve any…too many wonderful restaurants in this city to have to put up with sub-par service.  And I think many probably agree as it was not crowded and heard the same complaint from another friend.

The Clocktower – No. 5 Madison Avenue (on the 2nd floor of Ian Schrager’s Met Life Building’s which has been transformed into the EDITION Hotel) – Pretentious, expensive English grub.  Not my style, too stiff and stuffy (also no bar to eat at).  Chef is Jason Atherton, Michelin-starred chef from London,  and partner is restaurateur Stephen Starr. Has three intimate dining rooms overlooking Madison Square park, a billiards room and bar.

The Fulton – Pier 17, 89 South Street – the latest Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant recently opened at the renovated South Street Seaport.  The views are gorgeous, but that is the only positive thing I can say about this restaurant. The food was mediocre, the service horrible (they seemed totally confused the entire evening…like they never worked in this industry before), and the atmosphere of a chain restaurant with loud, uninteresting,  music blaring.

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