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Jan 27, 2000 07:05 AM

Huge portions

  • p

The other day my wife and I had dinner at Fiorella's, near Lincoln Center. Nothing special, and overpriced.....It was cold, the streets were icy, and it was near where we were.

I had a steak frites, which was okay....but the amount of fries was incredible. I am NOT known for a dainty appetite, and the fries (matchstick style) were good, but I couldn't finish....I think I ate a little more than half of them.

Is there some reason for serving so much? Do people like it? Seems like an awful waste.


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  1. I feel defeated when presented with enormous servings and tend to lose my appetite almost immediately rather than looking at it as a challenge. Also, I'm turned off by a plate that's so full of stuff that there's no room to maneuver -- you can't cut the meat without pushing the fries off the plate. If there's room on the table, I'll almost always ask for a smaller dish and eat from that one. And I have to remind myself that I'm no longer sitting at my mother's table and there's no prize for finishing everything on my plate.

    IMO, management wants us to believe we're getting our money's worth, so they give us a huge portion of some relatively inexpensive side dish. We're supposed to (1) be impressed by their "generosity," and (2) fill up on the fries (or whatever) to compensate for the fact that there's not a whole lot of meat or that much of the meat is waste - fat, gristle, bone, etc.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Dena

      It's probably economic rather than aesthetic: the more fatty and salty food you eat the thirstier you get and thus you order more drinks.

      1. re: Dena

        My biggest pet peeve is when I get a bowl filled with as much pasta as I'd cook for a family of four. But at the same time, I can't seem to get a decent sized salad - when I want a salad for dinner, I want a SALAD for dinner. Not a few lettuce leaves and some cucumber slices with those ubiquitous cardboard tomato wedges...

      2. you just named a particularly noisy bee in my bonnet. why ARE portions of so many things so gaudily, so tackily huge? sandwiches - stuffed so full that they might be tolerable with 3/4's the meat, huuge plates of overcooked pasta, vast quantities of sugary syrupy sodas, the goddess of plenty gone amok.

        at first, i had the easy, cheap answer; howlers law so to speak: the quantity varies inversely with the quality. but theres something more subtle going on, i think.

        2 Replies
        1. re: howler
          Caliente Raton

          i've noticed this most in upper middle and higher range restaurants, and it's simple economics. after all the money (most often multimillions) thrown into the decor and facilities of the restaurants, they've got to get their investments back somehow.

          the easiest way is to inflate the prices and give you more food --- the marginal cost of putting 1/4 to 1/3 more food onto a plate is minimal --- doing so is a high profit margin no-brainer.

          like someone else said, americans love a deal; especially the nouveau haute bourgeoisie (neo-yuppies with attitude) who all come from middleclass roots. but i digress...

          1. re: Caliente Raton
            Josh Mittleman

            You've hit it on the head: They overserve to justify
            overpricing. The solution is simple: Split a dish.

        2. What, you don't know why they give you so much?
          Well, of course, it's because they've got to do something with last night's leftovers! (kidding).

          We have a hard time, here in Klamath Falls, OR., finding that problem. I mean, if it's not two Whoppers for a dollar, well, then it's not much else!

          Really, though, in some establishments, where they give so much, it really is obvious that they do want you to get your money's worth. That's a nice feeling, unlike the feeling after having tried to eat it all. Other places aren't so fortunate to use that explanation...two Whoppers for a dollar!