There are a few restaurant empires in NYC. The union sq/gramercy tav group and the batali/bastinach group are of one type: seemingly sprung from a chef’s passion for creating great food and followed through with an organic expansion. The food is paramount, customer service a priority, the management is awake, and did I mention the food? The food is the key.
Then there’s more corporate approach: born from a real estate deal coupled with a high concept of dining. In corporate world, the food is decent enough but there doesn’t seem to be a distinct chef nor personality behind the machine. In truth, there’s not much to pull you back other than convenient location, really.
BRGuest is one of these groups. This is actually my least favorite group of the corporate variety. I had a very bad dinner and a prima donna chef experience at Fiamma when they opened and I never returned.
However, I have been to Dos Caminos many, many times. It was one of the few restos near my old job that I would take agents to consistently because I could eat the beans and rice [this when I was still a lacto-ovo vegetarian]. The food isn’t stellar. What they do have in their favor, despite that corporate smell about the joint, is that everyone from hostess to server to manager is consistently helpful and appropriately concerned about food allergies. Which puts them in the applaud column for me. I wouldn’t go out of my way to eat there but if I happen to be in the neighborhood seeing a client as I was today I would stop in and know that they would do a decent job of taking care of my allergies and food intolerances.