February 2, 2009

"Since when has [landmark status] been awarded to a glorified Midwestern catering hall?"

Don't insult the Midwest, lady. New York City should take responsibility for its homegrown style of crappiness.


Anonymous said...

If they served a jello mold, or tuna casserole with potato chips, then they can call it a Midwestern catering hall. Not otherwise.

traditionalguy said...

This reviewer sounds like she judges her surroundings from a European-american point of view. Since nothing rating a mention in European eyes has happened since their 13 original Royal colonies were allowed a little autonomy, she quite properly dismisses the add on frontier lands as of any importance in her world. Landmarks means places the Queen or one of her famous subjects such as Washington has eaten or slept in.

Lem said...

The last time I was there I felt like I was at an airport.. only worse because from the airport you eventually get somewhere you want to go.

ricpic said...

I can't remember the Rainbow Room ever receiving a review by a food critic in the paper I read regularly, The NY Post. It's generally understood that the place is a tourist trap. Doesn't make it right that tourists should be ripped off, but anyone who's serious about food knows the Rainbow Room is a no go zone.

Rick Lee said...

None of this comes as a surprise after reading Anthony Bourdain's "Kitchen Confidential". His first job out of CIA was in the Rainbow Room and he told in great detail what a ripoff it really was.

Leland said...

I wish we'd gone to Popeye's instead.

Well, there's your problem. When you turndown cajun cooking for NYC pomp and circumstance, then don't blame others for noting you're easy mark.

kjbe said...


Well, I'll take Turner's or Serb Hall, in Milwaukee, over this (yes, what looks like a tourist trap). She needs to get a little more.

Triangle Man said...

As far ad catering halls go, you see a ok more of them in New York and it's environs than anywhere in the midwest. Perhaps she meant "VFW", in which case she might have a point about the food.

Anonymous said...

It's difficult to identify the low point of the night, whether it was the server wedging a bar towel under our wobbly table or my queasiness on the rotating dance floor when the overcooked lamb chop repeated on me. But the drunken young stockbroker-type surely takes first prize.

Drawing horrified gasps from the largely elderly patrons around us, he spewed obscenities at the band. He went on to smash a wine glass and shoulder tackle his girlfriend to the ground. Classy.

Another Rainbow Room story from the 1990s

rhhardin said...

We're conveniently located in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio,

MCL Cafeteria.

Henry said...

Glorified midwestern catering halls have friendly staff. Try again.

My wife and I went to the Rainbow room once (it was a gift from some very generous friends). It was like being the last guests at a really poorly catered wedding.

SteveR said...

Last time I checked, the center of the universe was well over a few million light years from NYC and depending on the time of day, as close to Ohio as Manhatten.

I think we know where the butthole is, quite accurately.

traditionalguy said...

Just a thought on these type of famous restaurants you just have to eat at once; the service is uniformly bad, the food is late, the food is poorly cooked, and the place is full of people oohing and aahing over how privledged they are to eat there. Go figure. The suprise is when one of these restaurants has really fine service, great food and normal people eating around you. I was pleasantly surprised by Tavern on the Green in NYC, and that one has100+ years fame. At least they all have souvenir shops to take the family some trinket with the name on it to tell everyone about the trip.

Bissage said...

It might seem harsh but it’s a fair tag to liken the Rainbow Room to a Midwestern catering hall.

I haven’t been to one yet where some drunken guy didn’t shout obscenities, break a glass and shoulder tackle his girlfriend to the ground.

You’d think by now these guys would know better than to wear blue suede shoes for a night of dancing.

The Drill SGT said...

Indulge me please.

Is a Midwestern catering hall like either of:

a Cafeteria?

a German Beer Hall?

both can be excellent if you go there expecting the correct things

AllenS said...

It's where you can rent a hall, so that everybody's grandmother can bring their scalloped potatoes, warm sliced roast beef, warm sliced ham and other assorted hot dishes to be feasted on by the gathering of the unwashed. I've never had a bad meal at one of these occasions, and I've been to a hundred.

KCFleming said...

If I go to a restaurant and "the check is an eye-popping $606 for two", I'd better shit gold for a week.

I saw an ad for the Rainbow Room when I was in NYC a few years ago; I thought it was a joke, or mebbe a gay bar.

And I like when people mock midwestern eating establishments. They are in fact hokey, homespun, unsophisticated, and dull, just like we like them. We eat elitist disdain as an appetizer, and wipe our dribbling chins with the NY Times.

So go away before we taunt you a second time, you silly New York critics.

The Drill SGT said...

So it's a secular Church Potluck Dinner?

former law student said...

For the first time in a long time, Blogger ate my comment (Duplicate Action Performed (Huh?). So I'm going to start copying before sending.

Rick Lee is quite right. I immediately flashed on Bourdain's description of the wretched slops he had to prepare for the Rainbow Room. Its mediocrity should be known by anyone with even a passing interest in eating out.

Midwestern catering halls I have been to (for weddings) serve

Chicken Soup
Green salad
Roast Beef
Kielbasa and sauerkraut
Wedding cake (of course)

No tuna casserole or three bean salad.

Anonymous said...

If the Rainbow Room served schaum torte for dessert, I'd go there no matter how much the rest of their stuff sucked.

traditionalguy said...

The midwestern diet sounds German. In the South we would add deviled eggs, tomato aspect, green bean casserole, and pecan pie. One really hilarious book about southerners is called " Being Dead Is No Excuse". The stories are funny because they are true to life tales of southern society as it is practiced around the Funeral Meals traditions.

Ann Althouse said...

"Kitchen Confidential"? The Rainbow Room was mocked in "Catcher in the Rye" -- 50 years ago. I've never met anyone who admitted to going to the Rainbow Room, and I lived in NYC for more than 10 years. Who on earth even considers going there -- except, like Holden Caulfield, as some sort of joke?

former law student said...

The Rainbow Room was mocked in "Catcher in the Rye"

Good point regarding its history of suckage, but I read CitR so long ago I did not remember that reference. Was it mocked for bad food, or for some other reason, like being unhip, or overly formal, geared to older folks, etc.?

At some point it must have been good, no? You have to have a reputation before you start coasting, I thought.