Just ‘cause it looks bad doesn’t mean it’s good

undergdGourmetREVNot many people get as excited as I do about books of obsolete restaurant reviews. I especially like The New Orleans Underground Gourmet. In the 1973 edition reviewer Richard H. Collin zapped a few well-known tourist places as well as some less expensive restaurants which had “little or nothing to recommend them” in order to “spare the reader’s time and stomach.” He not only performed a service but produced enjoyable reading for anyone inclined to find humor in bad reviews.

Thank you, Richard H. Collin, for writing honestly instead of turning out “publicity puffs.”

Please note that this post is not meant to suggest or imply anything at all about any currently operating restaurants and certainly not about New Orleans restaurants in general.

The Court of Two Sisters – “The food ranges from horrible to inedible. The restaurant relies on the fame of New Orleans cooking and the beauty of the French Quarter to perpetuate nothing less than a systematic outrage against all who enter its doors.”Court2Sisters331

Napoleon Restaurant – “The menu is pseudo-French with parenthetical notes after specialties saying ‘Try me.’ … On a recent visit a special treat was the addition of canned fruit cocktail served in the wineglass with the St-Emilion ordered for dinner. More fruit cocktail later turned up on a main-dish plate of gray tough veal. Astonishing!”

Marco Polo Restaurant – “A combination of the worst of two cuisines that deserve better: Italian and Chinese. The food is equally bad from either menu. Poor Marco Polo! Little did he dream on his return from Italy from China in 1295 that someone would build him a monument like this in 20th century New Orleans.”

Pete’s Spaghetti House – “A strong contender for the worst-food-in-New-Orleans award. Steak in a garlic butter sauce (raw chopped garlic and butter) and spaghetti imprisoned under a heavy red sauce are equally atrocious.”

Ben’s Pizza – “Ben is the king of prefab pizza, turning out more of the horrible little things than anyone else in town with a whole bank of miniature heating ovens. Is it better to eat these pizzas quickly before they become unglued or to let them cool, put them aside, and pick up a hamburger on the way home?”

The Smokehouse – “This is a strong contender for the title of Worst Restaurant in New Orleans. For years the Smokehouse has been giving barbecue a terrible name in the city, with its miserable mystery meat and serve-yourself sauce in tiny paper containers. You probably won’t ever taste worse barbecue, and you can have all the joy of taking it to the table yourself and figuring out how many of the little paper cups of sauce will obliterate the taste of the meat.”

Carlos Restaurant – “Slices of packaged white bread, margarine, cans of condensed milk on the table, and a luncheon special that is sold out by 1 P.M. are examples of why not every restaurant in New Orleans that looks bad is good.”

© Jan Whitaker, 2009

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