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Banned On Chowhound: Thou Shalt Not Derail the Morimoto Express

After a month of silence on the topic, we've been hearing those rumblings again. What kind of rumblings, you ask? The kind of rumblings that can only come from being Banned on Chowhound. Yesterday, an Eater reader emailed the following:

So here's a question for you: is Eatery (and by extension, Whym) on the Chowhound no-chatter list? There is some talk in the Site Talk boards there about an Eatery review that got axed, no questions asked, and a suspicious lack of Whym references. Just thought you might know.
Not 24 hours later, an email from another Eater friend: "I thought you would like to see my post that has been removed from Chowhound about how Starr will fail in NYC." The allegedly suppressed post, containing the explosive phrase "way short of my worst visits to Nobu," after the jump.
As a New Yorker who spent a few years in Philly recently, I needed to comment on some of the press coming out about Morimoto and Buddakan. Starr is the self proclaimed king of Philly restaurants by virtue of throwing lots of money into design and caring very little about the customer experience.

Morimoto- I wanted so hard to like, but every single time the food fell short- way short of my worst visits to Nobu. Morimoto-san does not cook there- the restaurant is too big for him to run the kitchen in a meaningful fashion- he walks around and greets his friends or tourists. I always felt that I knew much more about the menu than the pandering servers. Requests for an extra piece of sushi were met with remarks like “The kitchen is backed up and that piece of hamachi may take a while. The chef suggests the toro tartare.” Sitting at the sushi bar I was not allowed to order from the sushi chefs, and long waits, even with reservations became so common that I made friends with the hostesses.

Buddakan is even worse- a derivative of China Grill with a few Japanese (tuna tartare, etc..) type dishes thrown in there. Everything is served family style, which means the kitchen can just toss out whatever they want whenever they want. Requests for a coursed dinner go unheeded. Obviously the waitstaff and the kitchen are not coordinated at all. Food is pre-cooked and thus beef dishes can fly out of the kitchen at peak hours. And on more than one occasion a waiter would tell us they were out of a dish only to see it arrive later on another table.

Starr could succeed with smoke and mirrors in a town like Philadelphia were most upscale diners have to travel to destination restaurants. I don’t feel he has a chance in NYC where substance (ie: food and service) tends to prevail.

I look forward to hear some ‘Hounds’ reviews.

· Banned On Chowhound: Chowhound Explains! (Sort Of) [~E~]

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