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Feb 4, 2007 09:34 PM

What foods do restaurants most frequently mess up?

I would say fries, omelettes/eggs, and mac and cheese.

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  1. a perfectly dressed salad. They're so often either too wet or too dry

    19 Replies
    1. re: realslowfood

      I've had some HORRIBLE Ceasar salads --
      Also - surprisingly this day and age its almost impossible to get a great medium-rare burger. They are almost always over-cooked.

      1. re: Marianna215

        And the staff frequently lie and say it is a board of health requirement that they cremate it.

        1. re: feelinpeckish


          Our State Board of Health rules states an internal temp of 165 (or greater by request) for hamburger. That means the hamburger is to be free of any pink. There is no lie about that, as they will shutdown an establishment for serving undercooked hamburgers.


          1. re: RShea78

            Feel sorry for you and your tastebuds. . What state so we can avoid ordering beef there?

            1. re: Panini Guy


              Confusion, Indiana... Sorry 160 degree for HAMBURGER. Beef in on another page...


          2. re: feelinpeckish

            That's not a lie. Many Boards of Health make that requirement.

            1. re: manraysky

              It's my understanding that if the meat is plain ground beef, it has to be cooked fully, but if it is ground chuck or ground round it can be medium rare. I ask what cut it is and order accordingly.

          3. re: Marianna215

            Yes, me too. I think it was on this site that I recently mentioned a waiter who once asked me what kind of dressing I wanted on my Caesar salad. Uh... let me think for a minute...

            It isn't just that, though. I've had them arrive made with iceberg lettuce of all things, or with tomatoes in them (I love tomatoes, but they really don't belong in Caesar salad) or with dressings that taste of soybean oil and sugar. It's gotten to the point where if it's a choice betwixt Caesar salad and garden salad, I take the garden salad. I expect the ingredients in that choice to vary from restaurant to restaurant and season to season.

          4. re: realslowfood

            I was just going to say caesar salad. They add tomatoes, or they make the dressing too heavy or not garlicky enough.

            1. re: realslowfood

              That's why I always get the dressing on the side.

              1. re: piccola

                yes but the beauty of a perfect salad is that its tossed with just the right amount of dressing in a large bowl so that every leaf is slicked in dressing. Dousing it at the table results in gobs of oil in pockets and using a lot more dressing than neccessary

                1. re: realslowfood

                  So many times I've been served salads that were not tossed at all. I abhor a salad that is a bed of lettuce with everyone just glopped on top and nothing incorporated. It is impossible to get it properly tossed when it is on your plate without making a mess.
                  I was also once served a salad on a hot plate which is just wrong. The temp. made everything go limp.

                  1. re: ArikaDawn

                    ArikaDawn, I know most chain restaurants will top a certain portion of a salad. In other words, salads are to be "Presented" in a certain way, to the customer. Like shredded cheese needs placed at the 9 and 3 o'clock position on the salad.

                    I agree with the "hot plate" salad thing. I tried to explain to "the powers to be" (Franchise Authority) that salads have no business being taken back to the cooks line to add on this or that to the salad. Instead they end up at the heated window awaiting whatever the cook needs to add to the salad.

                    It is amazing the stupid things that goes on in these places...


                  2. re: realslowfood

                    Agree. Often the other half of the problem though is the dressing itself. 95% of restaurants in my country seem to think a classic vinaigrette is a ratio of half vinegar, half oil. So my lettuce leaves and tastebuds are both dissolving in acid by the time I am eating my main and I can't taste squat. Which probably is not a bad thing considering if they can't even make a decent vinaigrette, you're probably not missing much with their main anyway.

                2. re: realslowfood

                  Still to this day the best Cesar Salad I've ever eaten was in Cozemel (Mexico) of all places. Salad chef with cart at the table, each lettuce leaf chosen one by one and placed for perfect presentation on the oversized plate, egg coddled for just the right consistancy and mashed with anchovies for awesome taste (the anchovies were mashed in as the dressing was made, so even those who dislike anchovies would have loved this salad. (I know some of you purists say original Cesar Salads shouldn't have anchovies, but I think it's a little flat without them). He then added just the right amount of garlic, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, olive oil, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, croutons, course sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Dijon mustard, wine red vinegar and a dash of fresh lemon juice completed the dressing. Man... my mouth is watering just thinking about it! I gotta go order my airline tickets :)


                  1. re: RasBardhylis

                    That's actually a standard presentation at 3-star or above places in all Mexican cities. Although the coddling is a new twist. I've usually only seen raw eggs go in.

                    But yeah, nothing like that taste. Makes caesar dressing's up norte taste, well, sort of plastic.

                    1. re: RasBardhylis

                      Was this by any chance at a cute little restaurant that claims to be a pizza joint? I know in the 90s there was one place there where a guy and a girl, a couple, who were European chefs moved to Cozumel and opened a restaurant. Had some awesome fish there. It was kind of on the main drag.

                    2. re: realslowfood

                      Absolutely agree with salad, but for slightly different reasons. Way too many restaurants cheap out on "filler" vegetables like cheap lettuce and are far too sparse with the real ingredients that give flavour to and define the salad. Very irritating... I'll gladly pay double the price... just put a generous quantity of stuff on top of that lettuce, please!

                      I ordered what sounded like a delightful arugula spinach pear walnut salad with a lemon vinaigrette from a local place one day. The dressing was excellent and in the right quantity, but a huge bed of lettuce and greens dwarfed the tiny quantity of pears and walnuts completely. Disappointing, because for the few bites I was able to enjoy with the pears, it was quite tasty.

                    3. Grilled chicken and turkey breasts.

                      Seared rare ahi... It's supposed to rare!

                      1. I have to agree that eggs seem to be the hardest to get right. But, to me, pizza is the worst offender these days. It tends to be greasy, doughy and the sauces are toxic in most cases.

                        1. steak

                          maybe it's not so much that they're messing it up, but more that different people have differing opinions on what medium rare is. i used to order my steaks medium rare, expecting a deep red center, but still warm. more than half the time it would come out pink which is more medium to me. on the flip side, when waiting on people they would send back what i thought was a beautifully cooked medium-rare steak because they thought it was too rare. because i hate sending things back and i really can't enjoy an overcooked steak, i just started ordering my steaks rare because there's no gray area as to what rare should be no matter where we're eating.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: rebs

                            I think differing opinions are at the heart of a lot of these. for example the salad. To me a very lightly dressed salad is perfect, but I know others that disagree.

                            1. re: rebs

                              Here's what drives me nuts - when you go to a steakhouse that has the descriptions of the doneness labels right there on the menu, and still it doesn't come out right!

                            2. There are so many restaurants that overcook fish. If it's not a restaurant that specializes in fish, I usually don't get fish because it's so often overcooked. Oh, and shrimp and scallops too!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: puppymomma

                                good point on fish restaurants, and probably a good theme for a new thread...