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Adventures in Shilling #061: Montenapo, Haakon Hall, Brooklyn Star

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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

2009_06_montenapo1.jpgThis week in shill detection, we have some highly and not so highly suspicious reviews for a few newcomers. First, the least offensive entry:

A reader pointed out this Yelp review for Brooklyn Star as a shill, but chances are it's just an overzealous fan:

"I could not disagree MORE with Chris J. I have eaten at the Star a number of times since they opened and everything has been excellent. The prices are very reasonable considering how generous the portions are...The Dr. Pepper ribs are INSANELY good... and so are the pig-tails, though I had to be convinced to order those by a friend. Definitely try the chicken & dumplings...There is one communal table in the middle of the room, so this intimate space could also potentially host a larger group... and that way you can try everything on the menu. This place is going to be hot..."
Shill Probability: 35%

Some somewhat suspicious reviews for newcomer Haakon Hall on Citysearch:

"Although at first I was a little apprehensive to try the place out as it looks pretty fancy and seemed out of my budget, I was shocked when I took a look at the menu and realized I could go out with my girlfriends and get a bottle of wine for only 15 bucks! Their TV dinners, which change everyday (Thanksgiving dinner on Thrusdays... so good) are only 13 or 14 dollars. Their beer selection is amazing and it's great that the area has a real nice bar to hit up late night. Despite this site's info. the Hall is open until 4 am... I think, and if you haven't tried it out, you definitely should give it a shot!..."
Shill Probability: 52%

Because it's just so damn good, a lengthy excerpt from an extensive Yelp review of Midtown's new Montenapo. Shill or not, someone need to step away from the Yelp:

"This past Thursday evening I had the pleasure to check out one of the most talked about new dining experiences to hit Manhattan. Montenapo, which borrows its name from a popular shopping street in Milan, is a stunningly beautiful restaurant located in the city's theater and fashion districts.

...The waitress that served my wife and I was extremely friendly and equally helpful with picking out the perfect wine to start the night. Her selection of a particular white wine was spot on and a very delicious way to prepare us for our meal.

We enjoyed some of their warm bread and "finest olive oil imported from Italy" while looking over the menu. The appetizer was an outstanding 24-month aged Parma ham with fresh mozzarella, baby arugula, organic cherry tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil. Just the right amount for the two of us to share...For entrees, my wife went with a perfectly baked filet of red snapper that was just so soft and mouth watering. It was served with cherry tomatoes, fingerling potatoes, black olive tapenade & fresh thyme.

...I decided on the baked free range boneless young chicken that was stuffed with chestnuts, fresh herbs, black truffle, and chicken liver. Bravo! The chicken was so soft and juicy. It came with a side of creamy mashed potatoes and organic vegetables.

...Quite possibly the best tiramisu she (and I) have ever tasted. They even sprinkled a little edible gold on top. I went with the creme brule and found it to be extremely!"
Shill Probability: 84%

The Brooklyn Star

593 Lorimer Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211 (718) 599-9899 Visit Website