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September 21, 2010

Top Ten confusing restaurant concepts

jack's bistroI hate it when I confuse my "upscale localvore-focused contemporary American dining experiences" with my "cozy, casual and affordable French Brasseries with an American feel." But I managed to do that recently in a blog post.

The mistake -- I'd mixed up descriptions for two restaurants mentioned in the same press release -- just came to my attention yesterday. And it got me thinking about how restaurants bill themselves these days.

Which brings me to this week's list, which is actually a quiz:

Top Ten confusing restaurant concepts

(See if you can match the description to the restaurants listed below; answers to be posted later today)

1. "Upscale localvore-focused contemporary American dining experience"

2. "Cozy, casual and affordable French Brasserie with an American feel"

3. "[BLEEP] is an upscale-chic dining destination led by the culinary direction of renowned Executive Chef [BLEEP]. The ever-evolving menu utilizes the freshest seasonal and local ingredients combined with savory imported offerings." 

4. "Where food meets fashion"

5. "[BLEEP] is an explosive celebration of Asian culture taking three of the most popular styles of cooking from the orient and bringing them together on a stage set with the performance energy of a rock concert."

6. "Improvisational dining is the concept at the heart of the menu format which balances heavy and light preparations and allows each guest to dine according to their own preferences." 

7. "Our menu caters to diverse tastes; where else can your party enjoy a breakfast burrito, Thai chicken and mint salad, wild Maine blueberry pancakes, a green chile cheeseburger, and a vegan bbq riblet sandwich simultaneously?"

8. "Executive Chef [BLEEP]'s seasonal entreés showcase classic flavor combinations prepared with fresh, local ingredients."

This one doesn't sound confusing at all. The confusion comes later, when those old-fashioned, heirloom tomatoes grown just down the road at Farmer Brown's arrived on your plate as savory ice cream.

9. "Baltimore's first sous vide restaurant."

Clear enough, unless you're part of the overwhelming majority of the population that's never heard of "sous vide"

10. "[BLEEP] is an eccentric, Technicolor version of a diner serving up savory nosh that is more cultured than your typical grilled cheese."

Restaurants: Milan, Jack's Bistro, 208 Talbot, Golden West Cafe, brique, Brasserie Brightwell, Charleston, Tatu, Paper Moon Diner, Volt

Answers to be posted here at 3 p.m.


Answers: 1. 208 Talbot; 2. Brasserie Brightwell; 3. brique; 4. Milan; 5. Tatu; 6. Charleston; 7. Golden West Cafe; 8. Volt; 9. Jack's Bistro; 10. Paper Moon Diner

Sous vide pork belly at Baltimore's only sous vide restaurant. Sun photo by Kenneth K. Lam
Posted by Laura Vozzella at 5:58 AM | | Comments (24)
Categories: Top Ten Tuesdays


You have Charleston listed twice on you list.

Ugh! That's what I get for writing while bleary eyed. Thanks for pointing that out. I've added the missing restaurant, Paper Moon Diner, above. LV

Where food meets fashion. Wow. I'm not sure I want my food to meet fashion. Especially not at Milan.
PS. I had always thought it was "locavore." When I googled I received the "did you mean...?" response for localvore.

This particular restaurant goes with "localvore." LV

another crappy top ten and another tuesday i miss EL

Lindsey - you're mean. Where would the sandbox be if LV hadn't agreed to step up to the plate. GONE.

I think this is a great Top Ten. Sometimes restaurants try too hard to set themselves apart by the words they use, rather than by the food they serve.

Thanks, LV.

Seriously LV ... sounds like you're running low on material. This Top Ten sucks and so does your writing. I agree with Lindsey ... bring back EL PLEASSEEE! Some of these concepts aren't even that confusing.


Instead of being snarky - why not make a few top ten recommendations?

Top Ten Reasons they should have retired the Sandbox when EL retired.

top ten places to...
eat near a fireplace
watch the seasons change
have a great vegetarian meal
eat gluten-free (since that seems to be popping up more often)
get dessert
eat in under an hour for lunch
get breakfast during the weekday rush
ask for a tasting menu from the chef
regional-inspired restaurants(non MD/Baltimore)

that enough? its really not that hard, but i do understand this blog is probably an after thought to LV considering she writes stories for other sections of the paper. it certainly feels like it on tuesdays

The sandbox took some nasty pills this morning. Give LV a break!

I've posted the answers for anyone out there who isn't too stricken by the passage of the Elizabethan Era to have a look.

Eh, I only got a 60%... That's a D, right?

I grade on the curve, sean. Let's see how the rest of the class does. LV

Top 10 Bitchy Comments on This Top 10 List?

A GOOD top ten LV.

Lindsey did offer some good suggestions for future lists.

You are doing a fine job.

The one thing you goofnards who complain all the time don't realize is that the Sun didn't hire a replacement for Mrs. Large. That was a stupid business move and not particularly flattering to her legacy. The Sun knew of her departure several months ahead of time but didn't think it was worth replacing her.

Don't whine at the people who remain employed there who probably do more work than they ever did to cover the people who left.

The top ten device has been played out for years as a weekly feature. Sun management wants to keep it but hasn't provided the resources to make it work. Even still, a list of subjective materialism with short shelf life is for donkeys and sparrows.

I think LV has done a great job with it. It's amazing that people seem to complain when she does something clever or uses adult vocabulary. If you have no staff restaurant reviewer, let alone someone who got paid to eat dinner for four decades.

Go, Laura!

Lindsey, sweetheart, I hate to break it to you, but many of your top ten ideas have already been done on this blog.

Thanks for hanging in there, LV!

It's never easy to replace a writer whose wit, imagination and charm backed a deep knowledge of and enthusiasm for what she was writing about. EL was one of a kind and it's sort of unfair to expect LV to slide over from the political arena and simply pick up the baton. That being said, there's no question that D&L has become largely a rehash of press releases, peppered with market reports, the reaction to which can be seen in the dwindling number of comments to most topics. There aren't nearly as many kids playing in the sandbox any more. And it wouldn't be amiss for the Sun to install a blogger who has a fresh take on dining out (and in) and let LV focus on the deeds and misdeeds of politicos, a subject on which she's a proven pro.

Now I know what to tell the family on "clean out the refrigerator Friday nights" when they ask what the heck they are having for dinner. (see #6)

It sounds like you need to gain more experience in the food world as none of those are "confusing;" or were you just trying to save face b/c you made a mistake and that's what "got you thinking."

#1 LV stick to politics because you come off as an amateur when it comes to the hospitality industry

#2 Maybe you should learn to not only READ press releases, but to FACT CHECK before posting false information so you don't have to follow-up with annoying blog posting like this. It's Journalism 101 darling tsk tsk


1. Try something daring and new.
2. Stay with the tried and true.
3. No politics.
4. Stick to politics.
5. Regular commenters are insular and intimidating.
6. When regulars disappear, comments go down.
7. Top Ten is boring and outmoded.
8. Top Ten is the only reason some people look at this blog.
9. Damned if you do.
10. Damned if you don't.

It's been another couple of life-affirming days here as your temporary blog hostess.

Richard Gorelick, are you sure you can't start before Monday? :)

FWIW LV I think you did a heckuva job - ignore the carpers. Beside he probably needs some extra time to toughen up his hide.

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About this blog

You are reading the archives. For updated blog posts about the Maryland food scene, see Richard Gorelick's new Baltimore Diner blog.
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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