I finally got around to watching some of the episode of Kitchen Nightmares shot at what used to be PJ's Steakhouse on Yellowstone Blvd. If you missed it, the episode is available here:
Kitchen Nightmares, “PJ’s Steakhouse”: pathetic joke, that’s what it stands for
As I said in a previous post, this brought up so many feelings for me. One of the reasons I started doing this blog was to encourage better quality restaurants to open in Forest Hills. When I moved to the neighborhood more than a decade ago, my God there were some atrocious places. There still are. And you probably know the ones I am talking about. (Feel free to post about your own experiences with them either below or on the Discussion Board of our Facebook Page. )
I watched about 20 minutes of the Kitchen Nightmares episode so far. Here are my thoughts:
1) It's a real eye-opener how a restaurant can look just great and have terrible food. It makes me think of that cool-looking diner that until just a few years ago used to be on Restaurant Row (70th Road) here in Forest Hills. I don't remember the name of it, but it had kind of a retro-diner feel. But the food was horrible.
2) I love the part of the show where he finds plastic in his crab cakes. This always amazes me. A restaurant has one task to do: serve you good food. And this place served the poor guy plastic in his otherwise rancid crabcakes! It would be hysterically funny really, if it wasn't so sad. And this brings up another memory of mine. After I had first moved here I once stopped in at the old bagel place that used to be next to the Key Food (I think it is where What a Deal!!! is now). I ordered a bagel and cream cheese, took a bite and almost broke my teeth. Half of a plastic straw had somehow been placed inside my bagel on top of the cream cheese!
Since I moved here, these horrible restaurants have thankfully closed and some pretty good ones have started to open in and around the neighborhood. I am very hopeful that the restaurant scene here will only continue to improve. I am especially looking forward to the new places on Austin: Exo and the yet-to-be-named seafood restaurant across from it where Piu Bello used to be.
After all, before I lived here in Forest Hills, I lived for several years in Park Slope - and I can assure you the restaurants there back in the 90's were just as bad as the ones described above and now that neighborhood is world-class when it comes to places to eat.