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Adventures in Shilling #037: Natsumi, Moe's, Antibes

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It's time 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 tips@eater.com

2008_08_natsumi.jpgIn this edition of Adventures in Shilling, we find shills over at serial offenders Citysearch, Menupages, and Chowhound. Read through to find where to "taste heaven", find "perfectly balanced flavors," and have "truly amazing" service.

The review up for Antibes Bistro on Chowhound could just be a typical example of a 'hounder swooning over a new place, but it's also a suspect shill: "...i liked the roundness of the food here, the way textures and flavors balanced perfectly and unpretentiously. It's the kind of place you will eat everything off of your plate. We had the Beet and Goat Cheese Cake where the goat cheese was fragrant, not "goaty". The way it's assembled and presented was beautiful...but it was the taste and the mouth feel that you'd enjoy even if blind folded."
Shill Probability: 32%

The following shill is for Moe's Southwest Grill, the Qdoba-like chain that made its Manhattan debut this summer: "...fellow burrito lovers will have to seek this little gem out. The atmosphere here is key. The music by artists like Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin has always been a selling point for me...The service here is amazing, the staff is super friendly and helpful, especially if you're a first timer, and you can even catch yourself having a conversation with the owners themselves. A very humbling and enjoyable experience all around."
Shill Probability: 67%

A tipster notes some suspicious behavior on the Citysearch page for restaurant Natsumi: "This might be a record---Natsumi, Japanese on W 50th Street, 13 reviews on Citysearch. 12 of them raves from users who have never reviewed any other restaurant. The one remaining review blows the whistle on the other 12." And a look at the page confirms. A sample shill: "At Natsumi my entire dining experience was superb!! The fusion style cusine was truly unique in chioce as well as delectable in taste..."
Shill Probability: 89%

The phrase "if you want to taste heaven" is usually a tip off to a shill, as it is in the case of this Citysearch review for Soho's Aquagrill: "The oysters are always fresh and delicious. And if you want to taste heaven, order the Truffle Crusted Chatham Cod. I recommend this place to anyone who wants a great meal and great service. The staff is extremely knowledgeable about all food items and drinks, and they are always happy to explain anything. No one here is pretentious. I think the reviewer below me might have mistaken what restaurant he/she was at."
Shill Probability: 92%

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