Showing posts from August, 2009

When a Superhero Disappoints you

In the marketing business, "branding" is everything. Where once a brand implied an assurance of quality, it only now offers familiarity and bragging rights. In recent years, the allegiance to brand has trampled right over actual quality. A strong brand can get people to pay a premium for the brand name alone.

Sadly, both restaurants and the chefs who lead them seem to be falling into a similar trap. Outpost versions of classic restaurants only rarely live up to the the originals. Perhaps it's simply the absence of the famed chef who can't be in all locations at the same time, or maybe a shortage of staff with sufficient passion for food and service, or that some locations simply entertain less finicky clientele. Whatever the case, the disappointment of at such a restaurant can tarnish the original. Such was my case with Gotham Steakhouse in Miami; but first, a bit of history.

When my former chef-girlfriend and I broke up a dozen years ago, I was surprised at how much …