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Adventures in Shilling #038: Yerba Buena, Macondo, and Blue Seats

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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

2008_07_macondo.jpgWelcome back to Adventures in Shilling, a special downtown edition. Today we've got the LES sports bar Blue Seats, Houston Street's new "street food" spot Macondo, and in the sold Samba-Le spot, the three month-old Yerba Buena. Let's go to the least suspicious first:

We know the manager is going to be in the comments disputing this one (or writing in the window), but the following comment about Blue Seats has all the makings of a shill: "I've been watching my sports at The Blue Seats ever since they opened. The bar in the back is always packed. The front area is a nice place to chill out. the bartenders are knowledgeable. I was in all last week watching the DNC and the place was packed. This week, there hasn't been a better place to watch the US Open and Politics at the same time as gearing up for NFL. afterall, Politics is a sport and those of us who like to be intelligent, informed voters should pay a little attention to both conventions. thank you Blue Seats for being the Fair and Balanced, thinking-man's sports bar. LES regular."
Shill Probability: 42%

A suspicious positive review on Macondo from a Citysearch reviewer writing their first post ever. No need for PR people to call Page Six with celeb spottings when you can report it to Citysearch: "went to macondo as soon as they openned and sure enough the place was packed. The ambience is trendy charming and well put together. You'll often run into celebrities, on one night I sat next to Kevin Spacey, and I went again and the miss universe was there with a party of 20 beatiful girls. The tapas are amazing (I recommend the "Buenos Aires coca) Im definetely taking everyone i know to Macondo. This place is happening!!!!!"
Shill Probability: 64%

Suspiciously, this rave on Citysearch for Yerba Buena comes out on the same day as the NYMag article it references: "After reading the great review about Yerba Buena in New York Magazine's 'restaurant insider', I decided to give it a try and take my fiancee to a romantic dinner. My first impression was the genuine friendliness of the staff that greeted us and took us to our table, which was directly in front of the kitchen, which were covered by half opened blinds which gave you a great view of the kitchen team and executive chef in action. Out waiter, Freddie(sp?), was one of the better server's we've had in the city and was very knowledgeable and attentive. We ordered the guacamole appetizer to start...then ordered the grouper taco and calamari, which were both incredible. I had the arroz con pollo and it too was incredible. This restaurant was a pleasant suprise to both of us and we will both be back and would highly recommend to our friends."
Shill Probability: 87%

And on the exact same day, another glowing send up for Yerba Buena, again from someone who is writing their first review: "I have rarely been more impressed by a restaurant. I was also very surprised to be that impressed. I had just picked this restaurant blindly, largely based on reviews here and the desire to try something new. When we first set foot in the restaurant, we were a little unsure if this was going to be a good scene for us as there were some loud and annoying sorority girls at the bar. But once we settled in and the hostess accommodated us by getting us a quiet and comfortable seat we were extremely comfortable and pleased. Our waiter as well as the owner/manager were very knowledgeable and made us feel right at home. The appetizers, ox tail special, and various sides were spectacular as well as the wines we chose....It is wonderful to go to a new york city restaurant where the staff actually cares that you are enjoying the food as well as your dining experience."
Shill Probability: 88%