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Dec 31, 2006 12:40 AM

Rack of Lamb - What would you do

Large group (13) at an upscale resto in FL. Three of us ordered racks of lamb (2 - med-rare; one - rare). All came well-done. These were full racks, about seven bones served as an uncut unit. One in our party did not care and the other two of us sent back. Five minutes later the waitress brought out a new set of lamb, this time, the rack was cut into individual chops, each coated on all sides with the broed crumbs and then sauteed. So the end result was similar to a breaded/fried veal chop.

Choice was

1 - send back for the original presentation of a "3rd" try
2 - choose a different entree that can be quickly served
3 - call it a night on the entree and order dessert

What would people do?

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  1. Pretty odd that no one pointed out you could be wating a while, and just took it into their own hands to make something different. That said, I guess my answer depends on:

    - How much were you spending?
    - Who were you with?
    - How was the waitress/rest of staff about everything?
    - Were you ever going to come back even if everything was lovely?
    - Etc.

    Guess I don't believe in "principled" answers - if staff seemed like they were doing the best possible, try and make it easy for them (order something different/tip average), and don't come back to the resto; if staff was less pleasant, send the chops back for a 3rd time (and don't come back to the resto). My dad once sent a steak he'd ordered "Pittsburgh" back 4 times b/c it was way over cooked the first two times, then actually raw the 3rd time.... and the staff PO'ed him - and, obviously, he, them.

    1 Reply
    1. re: candace

      I thought it odd as well, but we were out with a leisurely night with In-laws, cousins and aunt/uncle. Price point was high $20's and my in-laws go there often so did not want to muck the waters for their future visits. Waitress was lovely and I mentioned to her after the third dish that I understood that it was not her fault at all. Her comment was that she was "very disappointed" with the kitchen that night and they were having issues with many orders. Since it was 13 for dinner an 18% gratuity was already included but i would not have dinged the waitress for the kitchen's incompetence.

      After two bad racks I ordered a skirt steak and it was servedd all cut up and saueed. The inside was raw. Waitress offered a free dessert and I declined saying the kitchen needed a fresh start another night.

      I called it a night and had a scoop of banana ice cream down the street.

    2. >> All came well-done.

      I think (?Crown?) Rack of Lamb must be cooked and served well done in any US food establishment. (internal temp of 165 degrees at the thickest point.)

      Unlike- Steak (uniform thickness) or Prime Rib (uniform density), those can be served at respectable lower internal temps than of bone in irregular cuts of meat. (Ribs and shoulder meat need the 165 degree temp in my book)

      In all honesty- I think the waitress/server did you a disservice, IF she went around the cooks back here. I say that because I have been there.

      If I would have saw a written order come back to my kitchen like that, believe me, I would have came out to dining to clear up the air on the order, pronto!

      8 Replies
      1. re: RShea78

        Lamb is NOT served well done in all restaurants. I have no idea where you would get this idea- but you must never order lamb when you go our. As a matter of fact, I have never had a restaurant tell me they must cook my lamb well done. I have only been told my burger ( never a steak) must be cooked through. Please let us know where you got this info!

        1. re: macca

          Well Macca there is so many "depends" to this it would be impossible to get the scoop 100% accurate in every given situation.

          Like your burger at 155, or is it stuffed, or is it imported, or is local jurisdictions overruling state minimums?


          >> Poultry and stuffed meats = 165°
          >> Pork = 145°
          >> Ground meats = 155°
          >> Beef/Pork roasts cooked for 3 minutes = 145°
          >> Beef/Pork roasts cooked for 12 minutes = 140°
          >> Beef/Pork roasts cooked for 21 minutes = 130°
          >> Steak = 145°
          >> Fish = 145°
          >> Eggs (for immediate use) = 145°
          >> Eggs (for hot holding) = 155°
          >> Stuffed foods/casseroles = 165°
          >> Lamb = 145°

          1. re: RShea78

            I understand what you are trying to say, but the statement that" lamb must be cooked and served well done in any us food establishemt( internal temp of 165 degress at the thickest point)" is simply not true. And the website you included does not make your point.
            As jfood states, this practice is usually reserved for ground beef. And it is on a by restaurant basis- does not seem to be b y state, and is certainly not a "federal regulation".
            Not trying to be snarky here, but your statements are not based on facts.

            1. re: macca

              Macca, if you are going to quote me at least have the respect to quote it right. You missed -I think- from the entire sentence, so you are intentually misreading it.

              Fact is- they all came out well-done, so under what reasons still remains.

              1. re: RShea78

                I did see the I think part. sorry I did not include it. When I saw your second post referring to local jurisdictions overruling stete minimums, I thought you were of the opinion that is was either state local or federal rules that meat must be well done. My point was that I don't believe any level of government dictates this. It is done on a restaurant by restaurant basis. There are restaruants in my areas which are in the same city- and one restarant will serve meat rare, and the other will not. That was my only point. I think I was confused by the wording in both of your posts.

                1. re: macca

                  You raised a good point!

                  >> There are restaruants in my areas which are in the same city- and one restarant will serve meat rare, and the other will not.

                  With all the food scares lately, well done maybe on the rise. Owners are in fear of lawsuits if someone gets sick on anything less than well done

        2. re: RShea78

          Nope, lamb has the same rules as steak since it is not ground meat. Ground meat has separate rules because the outside may become the inside during "grounding" and the temperature of "exposed" meat must rech 160. Also I have eaten med-rare lamb everywhere in the US.

          I am not sure what you mean by "around the cook". She was the only competent member of the staff that evening.

          1. re: jfood

            Lets part with this.

            For whatever reason the order was messed up. If one never knows why or gets to the bottom line, it happens to someone else the next time.

            >> I am not sure what you mean by "around the cook". She was the only competent member of the staff that evening.

            Unfortunately this is all nothing more than a long distance trouble shooting affair.

        3. My husband and I took some family members out to eat at a very nice local restaurant two nights ago. I ordered the rack of lamb, medium rare and it came out horribly overcooked. The herb rub on the outside was almost blackened. It's the first time I had ordered lamb in this particular restaurant, and if I decide to order it again I will tell the waiter of this experience, in a positive way, and hope a repeat will be avoided. I order rack of lamb often when we dine out and never had it overcooked before. "Accidents" can happen in the kitchen, especially on a busy night. I decided to go with the flow and eat it, it wasn't the end of the world, and the others in our party were happy with their meals. If it had just been my husband and myself I would have sent it back.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Axalady

            >> "Accidents" can happen in the kitchen, especially on a busy night.

            I cannot speak for all restaurants but it isn't always an accident that meals get sent out over done (or even under done) per customers request.

            It isn't funny but poorly staffed / under equipped kitchens spoil the meat.

            No one knows what went down and when, except the one cook who is probably going off on the deep end. That would probably me as, I need 48 steaks and room for only 4 at a time. And my request for the $80,000 radiant char-broiler went across like my past pay raise.

            All in all, you can be surprised of the back of the house drama at your eatery of choice. No accidents, just a huge train wreck in the makings.

          2. Well-done lamb is so bad, it's turned many Americans against the meat. Medium rare is so wonderful, juicy, and flavorful, I truly believe that if most folks could taste it, they'd love it.

            1 Reply
            1. re: pikawicca

              Well, the same is true for beef or pork, but I despise Lamb any way it is cooked, smoked, or bbq'd. I dislike being in the kitchen while being cooked.

              Our family once raised sheep, and those other barnyard critters. I just never took the liking to it. Perhaps the critters were telling me themselves, they are ba-aa-ad!