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Food Writers Share Their Most Disappointing Meals This Year

From sad dumplings to Midwest-chain burgers

A hamburger and french fries from Midwest chain Steak ‘n Shake.
Steak ‘n Shake burger and fries — not all they’re cracked up to be, according to one disappointed critic.
Roanne C./Yelp

As is tradition, Eater closes out the year by surveying local food writers on various restaurant-related topics. Readers, please feel free to chime in with your own thoughts in the comments section below.

Today’s first question: What was your most disappointing meal of 2016?

Bethany Jean Clement, food writer, The Seattle Times:

Steak ‘n Shake. You people from the Midwest said it would be so good! LIES.

Surly Gourmand, "world’s greatest food writer":

Paseo's: New, old, or whatever, the greasy fucking slippery teflon sandwiches that squirt out the back of the bread when you bite into them continue to be the biggest overrated scam in all of sandwichdom.

Nicole Sprinkle, food writer and critic, Seattle Weekly:

It seems mean to drag up the misses that I've already chronicled in my reviews. That said, Grappa in Queen Anne was underwhelming.

Chelsea Lin, food and dining editor, Seattle magazine:

Dumplings of Fury.

Leslie Kelly, senior food editor, Allrecipes:

I love Tacos Chukis on Capitol Hill, so when it opened in my neighborhood, I was pumped. But my first time at the new place, the carne asada was so dry I nearly broke a molar. When I asked the guy at the front counter if they were serving leftover meat from the previous day, he said, yeah, and wasn't too concerned about fixing it for an unhappy customer.

Allecia Vermillion, senior food and drink editor, Seattle Met:

I semi-accidentally ended up at one pretty prominent new restaurant the first night it opened. A few months later, it felt like a different place entirely. It was a reminder that places do need some time to find their rhythm, much as I want to rush over the moment a restaurant opens.

Jackie Varriano, editor, Zagat Seattle:

After much deliberation, I would have to say Bar Noroeste. I didn’t even hate the eggplant "guacamole," which was surprising because a) everyone else did, and b) anyone who knows me knows eggplant is up there on my most hated foods list. Not everything at Noroeste was bad — in fact, far from it. I loved the salsas and I loved hearing what chefs Shannon and Rachel were up to — hell, they made my 30 Under 30 list for Zagat! But eating there without talking to them and hearing the story behind the food was like a cult without a charismatic leader. Without them decoding the hows and the whys, I just couldn’t drink the Kool-Aid.

Providence Cicero, food critic, The Seattle Times

I had high expectations for Chop Shop. The space was lovely and Ericka Burke is a talented chef/entrepreneur but the restaurant lacked focus and never really found its footing. I was sorry to see it close, however.

Angela Garbes, food writer, formerly The Stranger:

As I long as I can afford to eat out, I refuse to be disappointed by restaurant meals. Just more grateful for some than others.

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