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So how bad is Trump Grill? Yelp gives it 2 1/2 stars — and lots of grief

So how bad is Trump Grill? Yelp gives it 2 1/2 stars — and lots of grief
Trump Grill, located inside Trump Tower, could possibly be the worst restaurant in America, according to Vanity Fair. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

President-elect Donald Trump has taken to Twitter yet again to attack the source of a perceived slight, aiming his arrow this time at Vanity Fair.

On Wednesday, the venerable magazine published a restaurant review that slammed Trump Grill, the Manhattan restaurant inside Trump Tower, declaring it possibly "the worst restaurant in America."

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"The allure of Trump's restaurant, like the candidate, is that it seems like a cheap version of rich," the review asserted. It pointed out its inconsistent menus ("literally, my menu was missing dishes that I found on my dining partners'"), inconsistent name ("occasionally spelled Grille on various pieces of signage"), unappealing food ("flaccid, gray Szechuan dumplings with their flaccid, gray innards") and disappointing drinks ("cocktails [that] seemed to be concocted by a college freshman experimenting in their dorm room").

Trump responded Thursday morning the most effective way he can: in 140 characters.

"Has anyone looked at the really poor numbers of VanityFair Magazine," Trump tweeted. "Way down, big trouble, dead! [Editor] Graydon Carter, no talent, will be out!"

But can Trump's restaurant really be as bad as Vanity Fair claims?

Potentially, if you believe crowd-sourced reviews online.

Trump Grill boasts an average 2.5 star rating on Yelp (down from the 3 stars it held earlier Thursday), while Google reviewers have awarded the restaurant an average of 3 stars too.

"The food was worth the price but the additional time needed to remake some of it was a letdown," wrote one Yelp reviewer. "All in all it was definitely an experience since I'm not from the area ... I dare say I'm pretty happy I voted for someone who can competently run a successful restaurant. It's a hard job but he seems to be doing just fine!"

"Cafeteria food at restaurant prices," countered another Yelp reviewer, who deemed it worthy of one star. "This is a place to avoid for sure. So many great lunch options in midtown. This is not one of them."

Yet another Yelp reviewer (and repeat customer) praised Trump Grill's steaks and lobster rolls, but noted on his most recent visit that "the lobster roll was smaller then before."

Trump Grill's lunch menu features standard fare such as a steak sandwich ($23), a "Platinum Label" burger ($20), a filet mignon ($31) as well as the infamous taco bowl ($18). And don't miss Ivanka's Salad (an $18 Greek-ish salad boasting diced tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, Mediterranean cured olives, feta cheese and romaine lettuce).

New York Magazine and Eater haven't had anything especially nice to say about Trump's restaurant, either, and a reviewer on Google called Trump Grill "nothing but very expensive Applebee's."

Ouch.

As a whole, though, reviews ranged from absolute praise to those that explained, "If you have an uneducated palate, you won't mind getting poorly tasting food — if you have a sense for quality produce and well-prepared meal, stay away from this place."

Another Google reviewer accused haters of "trolling because they are bitter and can't separate politics from a fine NYC restaurant." And, of course, others skewered the restaurant in Trump's own parlance: "I heard great things about the taco bowls. I tried it. Easy to eat with my smaller hands. However it was mediocre. Probably will sue for false advertisement," a Yelper quipped.

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By late Thursday morning, the Yelp reviews had ignited enough commotion to prompt the site to issue a disclaimer.

"This business recently made waves in the news, which often means that people come to this page to post their views on the news," it read. "While we don't take a stand one way or the other when it comes to these news events, we do work to remove both positive and negative posts that appear to be motivated more by the news coverage itself than the reviewer's personal consumer experience with the business."

Trump and Carter, of course, have a long-standing feud, dating back to the Vanity Fair editor's days running Spy magazine; he famously called Trump a "short-fingered vulgarian."

Trump Grill aside, the president-elect was no doubt miffed that Vanity Fair recently reported that somebody had "finally agreed" to perform at Trump's inauguration. The story highlighted how Trump's team has been "scrambling to rustle up some big-name stars to perform at his impending presidential inauguration," only to be repeatedly turned down.

"That was more than a quarter of a century ago," Carter wrote last year. "To this day, I receive the occasional envelope from Trump. There is always a photo of him — generally a tear sheet from a magazine. On all of them he has circled his hand in gold Sharpie in a valiant effort to highlight the length of his fingers.

"I almost feel sorry for the poor fellow because, to me, the fingers still look abnormally stubby," said Carter.

To quote a food-related adage, revenge is a dish best served cold.

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Twitter: @tracycbrown

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