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Mar 31, 2007 08:17 AM

What if you don't like the food?

Went out last night (against my better judgement) to a pasta restautant (i dont really want to call it an italian restautant).

Well the pasta itself was just ok, but it was coated in very heavy oil, the eggplant in it was complete oily mush, and it was incredibly salty. I don't think it was a bad batch of the dish - I just think the restaurant wasn't very good. I picked at it a little because I didn't want to be the only person at the table not eating. When the waiter come to take the plates he asked if i was done and if i wanted it wrapped up (i certainly didnt want to take it home, even if it was practically a fully meal). He didn't flinch when i said no, he didnt ask if we enjoyed the meal. I went home and ate a sandwich.

I almost never go out to eat and dislike the food so much that I don't even eat it - usually theres something about it that i can eat around or pick out.

The question is simple - what do YOU do if you just don't like the food in a restaurant?

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  1. In all honesty - DON'T GO BACK! Complaining and bitching just adds to the frustration of the evening. The evening is ruined so why complicate it more - and for what? A "free dessert" - no thanks! The best statement is to not go back!

    1. I have been in the same predicament. I will usually tell them what I disliked and then they ask if there is something else that I would like. I will then go with another alternative. Luckily, most of the time, I go with something relatively safe and then am usually happy with the other meal. This doesn't happen much, thankfully. BTW...when I did this, they were very polite and accomodating. If I remember correctly, the problem was that the food was WAYYY too salty.

      1. If you tend to think most restaurant food is "too salty" or "too greasy" it might be a good idea to ask questions about how a dish is prepared before ordering it. And ask if there is something you can order that isn't so much salted or whatever the issue usually is.

        5 Replies
        1. re: mlgb

          For me, it was the first time at this particular restaurant, so I usually go with how the chef prepares it first. I dont think the OP said that they thought most restaurant food was too oily or salty. The bigger problem would be that his/her server did not notice that there was dissatisfaction, didn't even ask if they were happy with the food. But OP also did not comment, where I would have.

          1. re: justagthing

            Some people have a sensitive palate to things like salt or spice. That's all. If you've never been to a restaurant it pays to ask if you are a picky eater.

            1. re: justagthing

              When Legal Seafood opened a big splashy resto here in White Plains a friend and I had dinner there. My food was expensive and my dish was not good and when the waiter came I told him so. He shrugged. I never went back. If the waiter had even pretended to care, if he had even said, "I'm sorry you weren't happy", I would have tried again. there are just too many restaurants to go back to a bad one.

              1. re: lucyis

                I totally agree with you, except I would have asked for the manager.

                1. re: lucyis

                  Lucyis - I have been to that same Legal Seafoods in White Plains. While neither experience was great, the second time there I was so dissatisfied that I asked the waiter to please get the manager and -- since it is a restaurant that has pictures of the dishes on the menus (maybe that should be a tipoff!) -- i pointed out that my dish neither looked like thepicture and was lacking in many of the ingredients descibed on the menu and he was very apologetic, said that of course I would not be charged for the dish and asked if there was anything else I would like. Not that you would ever go back but I think calmly asking for the manager can help.

            2. If it's a chain restaurant I wouldn't waste my time complaining. The recpies are formulated in a central R&D facility and if you don't like it - tough. They're not going to be changing anything because someone doesn't like it. Just cross that one off your list.

              If it's an independently owned restaurant or a very small local chain I would handle it differently. I would assume that the chef would genuinelly want to know if a meal was not well received. I had this experience recently in an upper end, well reviewed restaurant. I sent back most of my dinner uneaten and the waitress didn't question my satisfaction. That surprised me due to the restaurant's reputation so I explained to her why I found the meal inedible. My meal was comped (as well it should have been) but no one seemed too concerned. I would have assumed the chef would have cared that his line cooks were sending out subpar food but I guess not. Like lucyis if the kitchen had at least seemd to care I would be willing to assume I just hit an off night. Since they didn't well, life is just too short to eat at bad restaurants.

              3 Replies
              1. re: rockycat

                You never know about chain restaurants... I was forced to eat at a Marie Calender's because that was where the group wanted to go. The dish I had was so over-salted as to be inedible. When I mentioned it to the waiter, I was asked if I would prefer a replacement entree or a complimentary piece of pie. I went for the pie.

                1. re: rockycat

                  Even with chains, say something. I've seen the occasional dish make it out of R&D that had no business doing so. The more people complain, the faster the dish gets fixed (and sometimes fixed means "gets pulled from the menu entirely). Likewise, if you love a dish, especially a Limited Time Only offering, tell the management how much you enjoy it. You just might see the dish on the regular menu. That's what happened with Quizno's and their Chicken Carbonara sub.

                  1. re: rockycat

                    Rocky, as a former waiter, I have to tell you how hard it is to gauge a guest's dissatisfaction unless he speaks up. There are so many guests on all types of crazy diets (Atkins, South Beach, gastric bypass) that it's basically impossible for a waiter to guess why you didn't eat your meal. If there was a problem, speak up; your waiter isn't there to play guessing games.

                  2. Usually, a server will stop by at the beginning of the meal to ask if everything is OK. At that point, I would comment if my meal was truly inedible. Almost every restaurant I've ever been to, chain or not, would offer a replacement meal. But if you don't say anything, they can't do anything for you.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: mojoeater

                      My thoughts are similar to mojoeater. When the server checks in with the table politely tell him you dislike your entree and to remove the dish from the table. And ask him how he can rectify the situation. Then let him do all the talking.