Young and Hungry

Readers Respond to Furstenberg’s Departure and Theory on Comfort Foods for Lunch

DSCN1594_optMark Furstenberg's surprise decision to leave G Street Food, just months after opening the place dedicated to international street foods, came with an equally surprising theory: that people may not crave curious foodstuffs for lunch.

At least that was Furstenberg's current idea as to why G Street started so slowly.

Y&H asked for your thoughts on this theory, and you responded with all manner of opinions, some even related to the original theory.

Karly, obvious a good listener, wrote in:

I don't necessarily disagree with the statement that people don't want to think about their food during a stressful workday, but my one and only experience at G Street Food was stressful, regardless of the food I ate. It was busy, confusing, and the staff weren't helpful. Furstenberg admitted that the food he served was not your typical DC lunchtime fare, but the menu offered little to no explanation of what you were ordering or getting. It is sad that he left, I think the place has (had?) a lot of potential, but it just needed some time and some tweaks.

Mike, on the other hand, wasn't buying any theory other than the one that postulates this: G Street sucks. Writes Mike:

I think that if you check Yelp's reviews of the place, you will note the consistent comments on the average food and exorbitant prices. Any other theory is just bullshit.

[Y&H Note: Mike is correct about the constant complaints on Yelp about price, but a number of folks also mention how much they like the food at G Street. This is classic blogger-commentary subterfuge from Mike: Ignore the material that doesn't suit your argument.]

Both Ron and Jim wrote in to express their admiration for G Street and to support the idea of stretching one's palate at lunch. Writes Ron:

I really liked G St and was amazed how slow the place was. Perhaps it was lack of publicity, a somewhat sleepy location? I like trying new stuff for lunch, I've become a fan of bulgogi after trying it off the cart at 14th and L and I had my first bahn mi at G St (I can't believe I'm 46 and can say that)

Jim was even more effusive for G Street:

I have been eating at G Street Food every week since it opened –usually two or three times per week precisely BECAUSE it allows me to stretch the limits of my palate. After working in downtown offices for 30 years, why would I want to go somewhere where my choices are the usual tuna or deli-meat sandwiches? Even the chinese buffets introduced in the 90's are now "old hat." The success of Breadline (for almost 15 years) and G Street Food must be due at least in part to being unpredictable.  While you can get a real carved turkey or egg salad sandwich, if thats what you really want, when you enter you never know if you might end up with something completely
different that you love–like a Vietnamese pancake with shrimp, a spicy lamb pizza, an oyster po-boy, or peanut soup.  Even his new takes on the sloppy joe and meatball sandwich are worthwhile because of the step up in quality ingredients.  D.C. is one of the few cities where this can succeed–you wouldnt try it in Pittsburgh.  The truth is, its expensive, and office workers are notoriously cheap–they pay $6.50 for Sysco chicken-cube sandwich at Cosi, or $5.99 for a Mcdonald's meal deal, but
then balk at paying an extra $1.50 for food that is truly top quality.

You can also read the comments from the original blog post here.

  • pf

    Theories, schmeories.

    It was a somewhat doomed partnership between the Choi's and Furstenberg from the start. Watching Furstenberg interact with the owners told me all I needed to see: he barely tolerated them and their base perspectives, and they were constantly bewildered by his high-falootin' perspectives. Neither was wrong, but it was a mismatch for sure.

    G Street Food could be more successful post-Furstenberg, only time will tell. It all depends on how the Choi's decide to steer the direction. The core concept is solid... but in my opinion, there lacks a bountiful-ness (both in portion-size and overall vibe) that undermines the concept. We'll see.