When I read about Josh getting food poisoning and
recall other posts of being served food that is too
greasy, or too dry, or just plain crappy food, I am
wondering if anyone ever says, "Look, I'm not eating
this or paying for it."? What would happen if one did?
Just checking. pat
I expect expensive restaurants to replace a dish if it
is not to my taste, and on the few occasions when I've
asked, they have obliged. I would be less sanguine of
getting that service the further down the price scale I
went, so I'd lower the bar accordingly and only
complain to that degree if the food were truly
The problem with food poisoning, of course, is that you
can usually neither see it nor taste it. Happily, last
night's episode only meant a few hours of discomfort
and a very spartan breakfast this morning.
re: Josh Mittleman
I'm curious what you mean, Josh, about "to your taste"
- other people have used this expression on the
boards. I would myself use this expression refer to my
personal liking (a subjective standard) rather than to
any (objective) deficiency in preparation.
In terms of whether a dish should be sent back, its
really a question of a proper allocation of risk - I
would normally not send something back if I simply
didn't like it - or the way it is fixed; if the dish
was correctly described, that's my risk not the
chef's, since I chose the dish and the restaurant.
sometimes people in, say, French restaurants make
mistakes in ordering because they are too nervous to
ask what a dish is. thats part of the learning
experience - its not fair to make the restauranteur
finance the diner's learning curve, so you learn to
ask. Likewise, a person who orders a perfectly sound
bottle of fancy Chablis and finds it too tart and dry
(not to his taste), shouldn't send it back, but should
chalk it up to education, and give the wine a chance
to taste pleasing with the food.
However, if a dish is not cooked in the way
specifically requested or described, a serious mistake
has been made in preparation, or the food is "off"
that should be the restaurant's problem, not the
re: jen kalb
At a top-quality restaurant, I do expect to
enjoy whatever I order. If a dish is simply
unpleasant, then I will talk to the waiter about it,
and I would expect the waiter to offer to bring me
something else. It is not the customer's
responsibility to finance the chef's experimentation.
re: Josh Mittleman
ok - lets say you don't enjoy the food because you
turn out not to abide kidneys, brains, skate, caviar,
pheasant, etc.- because of your own miscalculation,
rather than a mistake in judgement by the chef. Should
that really be at the restaurant's risk?
On the other hand, if the cook whips up some
monstrosity (its hard to imagine any combo that hasn't
been tried at this point) and it flops utterly,I would
agree that we as customers ought to reject the
re: jen kalb
I guess it would depend what sort of restaurant it was
how I was feeling that day, whether or not the waiter
had recommended the dish, just how expensive it was,
and how clearly it had been described on the menu. If
a dish is especially weird, I would expect the waiter
to warn me. If I then ordered it anyway and ended up
disliking it, I'd probably accept my mistake.
At a certain point, though, I really do feel that the
restaurant has a responsibility to please me, not just
to serve me what I've ordered. And it's important to
point out that, in my experience, high-end restaurants
and a good number of medium-priced restaurants seem to
feel that way, too. I have had waiters offer to bring
me a replacement far more often than I've asked for one
on my own.
re: Josh Mittleman
Sometimes friends, you gotta speak up.
If something isn't right, a polite word to the waiter
can bring needed attention to something imminently
Just today I wandered into Market Cafe (9th Ave &
about 38th St) for one of their grilled pizza's.
I've had them before - nothing terribly special about
them except that I was in the mood for something light
and crackly with a good hit of garlic and fresh tomato.
The version that arrived today was a gloppy mess of
thick cheese that weighed down and soddened the usual
crisp crust I've come to expect. Since I was due back
for an afternoon meeting, I just made the best out of
it, scraping off what I could, eating mostly the
edges, but really disappointed in the preparation.
As I was paying the check, I (politely curious) asked
the server if the kitchen had any recent changes to
the staff. She looked a little warily and asked
"why". After expressing my the reasons for my
disappointment she confided that the usual lunch chef
was taking a (no doubt richly deserved) vacation that
week and that the kitchen was making do in his absence.
My polite inquiry resulted in an explanation, a
withdrawn bill (I left an appropriate tip anyway - the
serving staff didn't work any less), and an indication
that the kitchen staff would receive a bit more
instruction in prep skills.
Silence is the voice of complicity.