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Shills for Betel, Zengo, 1 or 8, and Big Daddy's

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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

2010_04_betel1.jpgToday, the radar picks up shills coming from Williamsburg's wacky newcomer 1 or 8, Midtown's Zengo, Thai spot Betel, and the lovable Big Daddy's over on Park Ave. South:

Today's first shill may have stood out on it own, but what really cinches the deal here are the pre-opening shills dating back as early as March:

is out of this world, service was amazing, our waiter Javier explained the menu in detail and made good recomendations, my mother falled in love with the tuna tacos, anf i loved the cod....awsome first time experience, will come back to try the drinks...
Shill Probability: 75%

Please, please read this incredible review from a first time Eater commenter on a thread about new West Village Thai restaurant Betel:

Once inside we made our way through a wonderful and refreshing drinks list and settled on a wonderful Blackberry Caipirinha. The Betel cocktail list is by far the most refreshing and tasty I have experienced in NYC in quite awhile...The atmosphere and positive buzz about the place , and watching eyes alight on the delivery of dishes to surrounding patrons was a pure delight. For a first timer the concise but expansive menu was a treat, leaving me salivating on pure description of the dishes...The specialty oysters, delicate and unique, the stuffed Betel leafs just right I'm certain this is the overall experience the chef and owners were trying for. The short rib, one of the richest decadent dishes i've eaten, and absolutely delicious. The whole branzini was just right, and i say to try some of it without the side condiments and some with. This place is a sharers delight. A wonderful selection of what must be homemade sorbets followed and set us up to hang around and enjoy the post dinner atmosphere with another of those delicious Blackberry Caipirinhas as BETEL showed no signs of slowing down for the night.
Shill Probability: 84%

There is a lot of suspicious commenter action on a thread for 1 or 8, the newish Williamsburg sushi restaurant. One of the latest ones:

Just had dinner at 1 or 8 & could not be more impressed. We are hardcore Bozu fans and loved the freshness & innovative approach at their new endeavor. Seriously, it kicks Nobu ass!!! The service & atmosphere is also beyond perfect. We became regulars after tonight.
And a favorite from earlier in the thread:
OMG! Can we talk about the food? Isn't that what restaurants are still about?
Tasting menu absolutely spectacular!!!
At first I asked myself if I wanted to spend that money on a dinner, but then how many times have I spent money on mediocre food? Many!
And I'm sooo glad I did.... Wonderful experience, best sashimi in a long time, and the experience as a whole was way superior than expected. Yes, the place was empty, but it did just open!!!
I will certainly go back soon and bring my friends.
Shill Probability: 89%

In an A Hamburger Today post about the dismal burger and tater tots at Big Daddy's, three first time ever commenters chime in to defend the place. Says one:

I'm so surprised, Big Daddy's usually serves a great burger. One of my favorite spots and I especially love the friendly and upbeat staff. Definitely deserves another try!!!
p.s. love the tots!
And the other:
I've had big daddy's burger and think it's yummy. i've also had the tater tots and fries there and they were always hot and crispy and really addicting! i go there for the trivia nights which are fun.
Shill Probability: 97%


51 Grove Street, New York, NY 10014 (212) 352-0460 Visit Website


51 Grove St., New York, NY