As seen in the Wall Street Journal, it's time now for another edition of Adventures in Shilling, in which we fight shilling the best way we can, by shaming tasteless, unscrupulous shills into submission. Well, that's the plan, at least. Fight shills yourself by dropping offensive links to email@example.com.
Certainly we've seen our fair share of insanely blatant shills around these parts—faked "reviews" that are so self-evident that the Shilling Probability tops out at 100%, or above. A trickier problem, however, emerges as restaurateurs and their agents become better at the game—as we daresay some are—posting positive reviews that are faked but nonetheless plausible enough to dupe unsuspecting diners.
In this latter category, for your consideration, we present this reader email: "Here's a potential Adventures in Shilling candidate for you: newbie Toloache and its five 5-star reviews on Citysearch. First two start it off—8/27 foodluvernyc, 8/28 iluvfoodnyc on a suspicious note (note similarly suspicious names, and repeated use of the restaurant branding of dish and drink names):"
foodluvernyc: Just had dinner at Toloache and was impressed with the wonderful menu selection and service. Its great for mid-town. Try the cucumber margarita and the sweetbread tacos! For dessert, a must have, is the churros!
Shill probability: 24%
iluvfoodnyc: I work in the area and we needed a fun and authentic Mexican place. I have been here twice already (it only opened last week) and my favorite dishes are the fruit guacamole, each of the quesadillas, salad with tomatoes and zucchini flowers, the pork tacos and the Toloache chicken. It's going to take a while to try everything on the menu. Get the Toloache margarita. The service is pretty good, considering they just opened.
Shill probability: 56%
Continues our tipster, "Then there is Dixiechix that starts a pattern: she's from Texas, and says the food is authentic. The two most recent are both from California, supposedly. Connection? How authentic the food is! For an added touch, they reviewed the hotel they "stayed in". Hmmmm."
dixiechix:Brand new place across from my apartment. We were so excited because there's not much around. Even though it is pricer than most of the Mexican places around, it's worth it. Have tried and enjoyed the tuna, shrimp and beef ceviche, the tortilla soup, suckling pig and the churros. For the most part I enjoyed the drinks, but there are a lot to choose from. I am sticking with the Toloache marg and my boyfriend loves the cucumber one. We are originally from Texas and this place is a delicious spin on authentic Mexican food.Now that, friends, is some authentic American shilling.
Shill probability: 71%
erinkurinsky: Wow! That's all I can say after a visit to Toloache. Went there on a weekend visit to NY from LA, where great Mexican restaurants are a dime a dozen, and I can honestly say that this is the best Mexican food I've had! The ceviche was phenomenal, and I love the fact that they had a ceviche bar. Best guacamole I've ever had in my life was the fruit guacamole (can't remember the exact name) that was slightly sweet and had mangos, basil and some other ingredients I can't remember. Staff was very attentive and it seemed like every single person working there from the servers to the bus boys knew the menu backwards and forwards. Drinks were also really awesome, I had three different drinks and they all were great...I just wanted to keep trying more and more. Dining room was cute and small-ish, it looked like they are going to be opening an upstairs portion soon, which will be great. I am making sure I go there again the next time I am in NY.
Shill probability: 79%
ucsbalum: I ate at this new restaurant ( I understand it's only been open two weeks or so) with some friends on a recent Friday night. I have not stopped raving about this meal since! We started off with drinks from the extensive cocktail menu. Each one was creative and better than the next. For dinner, we shared a variety of plates (tacos, ceviche, salads), and again, each one was the better than the next. You must try the guacamole trio -- and then argue over which one is the best (hint: they are all excellent!) As a Californian, I was skeptical that you could find great Mexican food in NY, but this place does it. For dessert, the churros were superb. I can't wait until my next trip to NY to eat here again!
Shill probability: 84%
Aggregate shill probability: 91%
· User Reviews for Toloache [Citysearch]