Friday, December 3, 2010

Restaurant Pet Peeves

It's Friday.  It has been a long week (especially after a crazy short one last week) and I am in the middle of several recipes. So today, instead of listing off a half complete recipe, I thought today I would discuss my little list of restaurant grievances.  

Now, keep in mind, these are not directed at any particular establishment or person, just some things that drive me nuts when I go out to eat.

1.  The Mayo Paradox.  
There are several types of offenses here, but they both stem from the same origination: too much mayo.  Let's set the scene.  It's lunchtime, and you are craving a delicious sandwich to tide you over for your noon time meal.  You decide on a nice BLT, and you picture this lovely sandwich- toasted bread, juicy, ruby red tomatoes, crisp lettuce, strips of wonderful smoky bacon and a little mayo to tie it all together.  Doesn't that sound delightful?  Maybe it's whole wheat toast, and the nuttiness of the bread you know will just blend so perfectly with the salty smoke of the bacon, and the sweet tomato.  Then, you receive your sandwich, from the outside all seems picture perfect.  The bread is warm, you spy that cheerful tomato peeking out from under its cover of lettuce and there are those meaty strips bringing it all home.  But then, you take your first bite.  You don't taste the tomato, or the nutty grains of the bread, or even that lovely bacon.  All you taste, as it oozes out of the sandwich is the may, applied far too liberally, and thereby ruining a perfectly good sandwich. Shed a tear for that BLT- it's a goner.  Sure you could scrape off the excess offensive white stuff, but by the time that's done the bread will be cold, and you know that it will never fit together again properly so that the ingredients don't squeeze out during consumption.  Criminal.

The second offense with mayo- similar to above, but different in application.  Another lunchtime arrives, and this time your in the mood for a little tuna salad, or perhaps chicken salad, so you head to the deli and order a nice sandwich, the person making your sandwich heaps on mounds of the salad of your liking on to the bread of your choice- and your horror adds additional mayo to the top slice of bread.  WHY?  Why must we have Mayo overload?  Somehow this needs to be addressed- we must stop the excess Mayo situation.

2.  Menu "Mis-Truths".  
"Oh what a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive."  I will never understand this one.  Don't claim to use truffle oil if you're just using regular old vegetable oil.  Don't farm fresh produce if the lifeless greens on my plate obviously came from whatever distributor.  Don't claim Kobe when it's just not.  I will say this much, I am 100% more upset when I feel lied to on a menu, than if I had known going in what I was ordering.  

3.  Tell Me Like It Is
If you are out of the majority of the menu, please tell me that before I make my selection(s).  I get excited about the food I'm going to eat.  I read menus like they are in the coveted #1 spot on the New York Times Best Seller list.  I read every ingredient listed and imagine how they will be used and how they will work together.  It is truly upsetting to get that excited and then have my dreams killed...especially several times.  If it's just one item, fine, but if most of the menu appears to be MIA, just a heads up would be nice.

4.  Don't Doubt Me
Maybe this is just me, but I have serious cravings for spicy food.  I seek out cuisines that I know will satiate that craving.  Please, kitchens everywhere, when I order the spiciest thing on the menu, and confirm I want it spicy- PLEASE believe me.  It makes me so sad when I get ready to light my taste buds on fire, and I can barely feel any heat at all.  

So there you have it guys, an end of week rant examining my biggest restaurant pet peeves.  

Do you guys agree?  What are your pet peeves?


Rachel said...

Totally agree with the spicy thing! It's so hard to find a place that'll actually give me truly spicy food. That's why I love Hell Night at East Coast Grill so much - you KNOW it'll be insanely spicy (and delicious)!

Lara @ GoodCookDoris said...

Not an in-restaurant pet peeve, but it drives me crazy when the main page on the website has no hours or phone number. And when the menu has no prices!

Other pet peeve - telling you a shorter wait time than it really is. I'd be happier if I called sooner...rather than later.

I'm with you on the mayo - the amounts they put on subs are ridiculous.

Hope you have a pet-peeve free dining weekend!

Lizzy said...

SO GLAD we met the other day- I love this post! Well first, I have a fear of mayonnaise (unless you count spicy mayonnaise on Sushi- hehe) I also hate when you go to order something and they dont have it anymore AND I love Spicy food. Hell Night?

MelissaNibbles said...

Yes! I hate when they don't bother to tell you something has been 86'd. I also hate when you order a dish and it's missing half the things it's supposed to come with.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Lara on everything! I hate when prices aren't listed. Makes me not want to even go there!

I hate when you make a reservation and it still takes them 15 minutes to sit you! Why make the reservation in the first place?!

The Small Boston Kitchen said...

Mayo is my biggest pet peeve EVER! Especially when they don't even tell you it's going to be on your sandwich and it comes on something you wouldn't even think it to be on. I don't typically send things back but if it comes out slathered in mayo and I wasn't before, it goes back...

Great post!

Dan said...

This might be a weird one, but I hate when they auction off your plate at the table. you know, when they bring everything over and it's like "who had the fish??" "who had the pasta??" it's very easy to write who had what on the slip. not much bothers me at restaurants but for some reason I really really hate that this move has become so commonplace.

Alicia said...

I hate, hate, hate, when a high-end restaurant has spelling/grammar errors on the menu. Like you I read every word....if they don't spell check the menu I notice.

Right on with the mayo too! its everywhere!

Restaurant Reviews: A dead art?

Last December I declared 2023 the year I would return to food writing.  It was a bold statement (even now as I look at my last published dat...