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What is the ideal portion size? [moved from Boston board]

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I haven't been to No. 9 Park, so I can't comment on the portions. However, this thread raises the important question of what is the ideal portion size? I am not of the belief that bigger is better, and I don't eat out much because I hate being overfed. I like to feel satisfied, yes, but not immobilized. If you want to have several courses, each one should be moderate to small in order to survive the meal. I think many diners feel they haven't gotten their money's worth if they don't leave feeling stuffed. That said, if flavor is lacking and one is truly hungry an hour later, then that is unsatisfactory. Still, people have different appetites and a reasonable portion for one may be too small for someone else. But why do they always put everything in huge plates?? *That* bugs me!

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  1. huge plates are just for presentation.

    1. Most nutritionists today suggest that a four ounce serving of whatever protein you're having would be optimal. At home, I've taken to using that as a guideline and find I am quite satisfied with that amount even though I probably used to eat twice that at dinner and not think twice about it.

      However, if you were served a four ounce portion of meat in a restaurant, it would probably feel chintzy. Plus, I think restaurants just want to sell you more food so they can hit their price point.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bob Brooks

        Also at a restaurant, people of different sized appetites have be satisfied, and, for many people, eating out is a special occasion and they may expect/want to eat more food than they usually do.

      2. The points about portion size at restaurants needing to err on the side of too large are well-taken. However, I do wish that more restaurants would offer an option of a half-portion. I'd be willing to pay more than half the price. Depending on consumer demand such pricing/size strategies could be just as profitable.

        Also I agree with Bob about the four ounce portion. I think people's perceptions of what a normal portion is have been distorted by restaurant practices.

        1. Actually, many nutritionists have now brought that down to 3 ounces. glad they are not feeding me.

          I have never found restaurant portions to be overlarge - at least not for me.

          I never understand people complaining about being overfed. Is you mom there insisting you clean your plate?

          If you think there is too much food, you can take some home with you. If I think a portion is too small, I am out of luck.

          1 Reply
          1. re: FrankJBN

            > many nutritionists have now brought that down to 3 ounces

            I think the math depends on total calorie intake for the day (e.g., 2000 vs. 2500) and accompanying protein servings, such as a glass of milk. But I definitely disagree with those who suggest a person should get by just fine on only 56 grams of protein (about 8oz. meat) for an entire day.

          2. I hate sending food back, and I would rather not take leftovers home with me. I don't see lugging food home as the best solution to overfeeding. Maybe the food sucks or I just don't care about it, why would I want to take it home? Maybe I'm not going straight home. Maybe I'm going to be eating out for the next week and I can't use it.

            I wish that portions would be of a more reasonable size and pricing would reflect it. People who want more food (as I might on a certain occasion) could order a larger serving (as exists in some steakhouses) or additional dishes. Fat chance.

            1. The problem with offering varied portion sizes for flesh is that food is prepped ahead; restaurant efficiency requires this. You cannot suddenly resize flesh to order after an order is placed. Food purchasing would go beserk, with much more waste that would have to be compensated for with higher prices to retain the margin. Et cet.

              A restaurant kitchen does not, and should not, operate like a home kitchen.