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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today we've got shills for The Hurricane Club, Lowcountry, The National Bar & Dining Rooms and Ballato's.
Our first shill, the least suspect of the bunch, comes from an Eater commenter of The Hurricane Club's Early Word, whose only comment reads:
I've had the good fortune of eating there as well. It seems like everyone agrees on the decor, the drinks, and the atmosphere but I must say I had the short ribs when I went and they were extraordinary. I mean melt in your mouth good. I want more right now just thinking about them. Also I loved the sharing aspect until I realized that reduced my share of the short ribs. ;p
Shill Probability: 49%
Next up, a reader who probably knows "the new bartender Joseph" writes in about a recent meal at the built-out Ballato:
Finally got around to Emillio Ballato's place down on Mott St. and glad i did. There was a good energy and atmosphere, but it was the food that will have me coming back. Nice job by the new bartender Joseph. I ate at the bar and he really knows how to work the place. He's on his game. Very helpful and informed.
The pasta bolognese was excellent.
Shill Probability: 57%
Next up, we've got two shills for Lowcountry, the redo of Bar Blanc. First, from the comments, yet another single poster:
I was there Saturday night and the food was outstanding. Also, the feel inside the space was the opposite of depressing. Good tunes, packed bar and people having a great time. Highly recommend it.
This was said, of course, on the day it was set to open. Then New York Magazine commenter DesignerLifeLover drops by with their first review and - surprise, surprise - it's an overwhelmingly positive one. Never mind the fact that their showing up before it even opened is suspicious, just check out the overall tone:
I went there last Friday with a crew of people so we got to try a lot of the food on the menu. When one thinks of Lowcountry cuisine grease comes to mind, but this resto smartly highlights seafood (which the Lowcountry has lots of) which adds fresh, light dishes to the menu (meaning you can bring your date here & not just come to get boozy and greasy). It is all pretty much DElicous!" Unless they ate even more, their recommend dishes reads like their order. "I would most recommend: Crab Dip, Sliders, Calamari, Shrimp & Grits, Yellowtail, Fried Chicken, Catfish, Pork Chop, Red beans & rice (these are yum), Bread Pudding, Pecan Pie, *cocktails also look yum tho I only tried one (avoiding hangover) which was super fresh & in fact did not give me a hangover: the Mikey Spritzer. It's super delicious & you won't regret it. I'm going back for more.
Shill Probability: 67%
Our next two shills are for Geoffrey Zakarian's The National Bar & Dining Rooms, both Yelpers, both first timers. Thoughts from John M., complete with a pat on the back for Zakarian:
This place is amazing. Food is delicous and approachable. Great place to have a drink as well. Order the Iced tea with the Ice tea cubes in the drink! The decor works for breakfast or dinner. If you need a great breakfast place in mid town this is the place. I found the service to be genuine and smooth. Try the ribs app and only if your really hungry the lamb shank. This place really pulls off the grand Cafe concept. Bravo Geoffrey Zakarian. This is just what mid town needs! Go there. You will return again and again.
Our second shill, Florence Q., wants you to know that she is not a shill - we'll let you be the judge of that:
I love The National! First, I love the atmosphere and the bistro vibe -- it is warm and sophisticated, comfortable and polished. The sketches, including the deer smoking a pipe and the sailboat on roller skates, made me smile inside --always a good thing. (They should turn them into a product line of framed prints, coffee cups, note cards, etc.)
The baby artichoke sandwich was great. As someone who likes sandwiches that are primarily vegetables, I can tell you that not many dining rooms get it right; you don't often get great bread, the right amount of flavorful veggies and yummy spreads in one sandwich. The National got it right with this one!
The iced-tea ice cubes in the iced tea are a neat touch. The smoked paprika with the fries is the kind of attention to detail that makes the ordinary special.
The whole experience made me feel like someone knows who I am and wants to make me feel good. Can't wait to go back!
Disclosure: My firm, Quinn & Co., does the PR for Affinia Hotels, which is owned by Denihan, which also owns The National. We do not do the PR for The National.
Shill Probability: 85%
And lastly, just getting in under the wire, are two shills for the brand spankin' new Italian restaurant, Spasso, from some anonymous Eater commenters. The first reads:
Love the name, love the food, love the place! Bobby is a genius. Get there as fast as you can to enjoy.
The above was followed only one minute later with the second anonymous comment:
Craig's food is amazing. It's a great place for dinner and drinks.
Shill Probability: 92%