Mileage dining train-wreck

Two of my favorite things in life are travel and food. Since I post a lot about earning points to do the former so you can do lots of the latter in new and exciting places, it's no surprise I've got my credit cards enrolled in mileage dining programs.

Since I'm fairly savvy on the restaurant scene in my current (NYC) and former hometowns (San Francisco and Seattle), I can tell you that when I see a place show up on the mileage dining roster, it's a good sign the place is circling the drain. I feel bad saying that but with few exceptions, every time I visit one of these places it's a train wreck... like somehow "let's join a mileage dining program" is the restaurant equivalent of "lower the lifeboats!"

(FYI the same restaurants seem to be in all airlines' programs)

Last week I saw an email from Delta mileage dining that a very hip, upscale pizza restaurant we love was "new to the program". I was wary, but the 1000-point Delta bonus swayed me. We got there and there was no wait on a Wednesday night ("uh oh...") and the place had a single waitperson for 25 seated patrons ("oh sh*t! guess it's good I'm not starving..."). The meal turned out ok, but everything about the place had gone downhill several notches since my last visit there maybe a year ago. Sigh.

In the spirit of that, I just wanted to give a little shout-out to the lower Manhattan shining stars on the mileage dining list that I think are actually worth a visit:
  1. Fonda
  2. Oda House
  3. Sauce (their awesome pizza window also gets bonus miles)
  4. Yuba
  5. Cheese Grille
Obviously I've not been to all of the mileage dining restaurants, but I've tried enough stinkers on that list that I'm certainly not going to make a point of trying to. If you've got a favorite, I'd love to hear about it. One thing I found helpful was visiting places on the list for lunch – way cheaper and quicker if the place turns out to be crappy.


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