They aren't going to be very happy at Le Lion d'Or and Germaine's when they pick up the February issue of Vanity Fair. The two expensive Washington eateries are on the list of America's 10 most overrated restaurants. Former New York Times restaurant critic Mimi Sheraton described the two popular Washington restaurants as "so awful that I felt like checking the menu to be sure I was in the right place."
Of Le Lion d'Or, she wrote: "Through the years, I have made at least six visits to this restaurant, and I have never once been able to account for the critical praise it continues to earn." Of Germaine's: "Could it be that the media connections of the owners, Vietnamese Germaine Loc Swanson and her husband Dick Swanson , who used to be a Life photographer, explain the success of the place?"
Swanson said he had had a previous negative Sheraton review blown up to hang on the restaurant wall alongside the good reviews. "I can't tell you how flattered I am to be in the company of those nine other restaurants," he said. Le Lion d'Or owner Jean-Pierre Goyenvalle did not want to comment.
The other restaurants on Sheraton's list are An American Place and The Quilted Giraffe, New York City; Le Bec-Fin, Philadelphia; K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen, New Orleans; Ambria, Chicago; Fournou's Ovens and Ernie's, San Francisco; and Bernard's, Los Angeles. Sheraton said she eliminated at the start "21" in New York, Chasen's in Los Angeles and Antoine's in New Orleans "where the food hasn't been taken seriously for years."