I have not read through this whole thread--I stopped around page 6--so maybe someone already said this (although I doubt anyone is as contrarian as I tend to be):
Consider these restaurants as, essentially, meant for their neighborhoods--locals, not destinations. A neighborhood restaurant that provides competent food with decent service does not have to be cutting-edge or innovative; it just has to satisfy the need for a meal without fuss. People are annoyed by such cookie-cutter, middle-of-the-road restaurants because they think they must try every new place that opens, wherever it is. So when they travel from one end of the city to another to try the latest opening and find it's just like something they've been to elsewhere, they blame the restaurant rather than their expectation that every place must be unique. Why the desperate need for peregrination, only to be disappointed? I'm a proponent of staying close to home. If I had an equivalent to, say, D&H nearby, I would not schlep to Brooklyn. When I read the menus of new places and see how much they parallel others, I decide they are not worth the trip.
Someone like Platt, who by the nature of his work must try new restaurants all over (well, in a spread-out if small number of acceptable neighborhoods), will of course run into this much-of-a-muchness. An occupational hazard, that I don't think is worth complaining about; it goes with the territory.
That said, there are probably neighborhoods that are saturated with too many too-similar restaurants. So why not just pick the one you prefer and ignore the others? Or try the new ones, decide if they are different enough, and add them to the rotation only if they are?
And to answer Adrian's "No one complains about good trattorias in Rome or izakayas and ramen places in Tokyo or bistros in Paris or Montreal or various cantinas in Mexico City.": Possibly true, but the timing and length of the experiences are different. When most of us visit those restaurants, it is as short-term visitors to the city,* not as full-time residents. So the compacted (in time) dining experience is one of looking for "the best" examples of the local food in multiple parts of the city, food of types we are unsatisfied with in our home territory. This requires a compare-and-contrast of places offering similar food. (That was my recent experience in Lima: in four days, we ate at three very good restaurants that all served somewhat gussied-up takes on traditional Peruvian food. Were we unhappy with that similarity? Not at all; the food was completely new to us, and we were happy to detect the subtle differences among the three versions.)
*Except for Orik, who seems to live everywhere.