Five Worst Reviewed Restaurants of 2011

Perusing the past year's restaurant reviews has brought to light something I suspected: I wasn't very mean in 2011. It was difficult to find five scathing critiques. In fact, I really didn't find any -- there was only mild sarcasm in a few of the following. Still, these were the most disappointing restaurant meals of the past twelve months.

I vow, as one of my New Year's Resolutions, to be much tougher in 2012.

Andalus' paella.
Andalus' paella.

5. Andalus
The dining experiences at Andalus "didn't quite clang our chimes," starting with the "cool, capacious ambiance" that seemed "all too quiet and cold -- the antithesis of warm, boisterous tapas bars of Spain." Tapas were "really full-size appetizer plates," which is "not how tapas are supposed to work." Paella, for $40, "brought mostly prosaic ingredients while lacking promised squid, fish, and peas." Our order of ajo blanco (chilled garlic/almond gazpacho) "never arrived."

De Rodriguez Ocean's tuna mixto.
De Rodriguez Ocean's tuna mixto.

4. De Rodriguez Ocean
The backstory to Ocean's negative write-up is that, unbeknownst to me at the time, Doug Rodriguez was out of action with a physical injury during some of the initial months of opening. Timing wasn't on Doug's side. Although the paella was "pedestrian," and the overall experience "half-baked," some items (like ceviches) were good. But the restaurant appeared to be "more like a business plan than a place to dine: big-name chef on the marquee, an emphasis on seafood, and a means of snatching some lucrative tourist trade from the real estate south of Fifth Street." And while I didn't know the famous chef was absent, I sensed it, saying the menu was straightforward enough "that it could be prepared without needing Mr. Rodriguez on deck." D-Rod is back on board now though.

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