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Apr 2, 2007 05:18 PM

at least one nonmeat entree choice [moved from Manhattan Board]

I dont claim to be vegan or vegetarian but sometimes I want to go to a fancy restaurant (for an example, such as Eleven Madison) but dont feel like having duck or fish or more braised short ribs. I wish some of the higher end restaurants had some more non-meat choices on their menu or at least one. The possibilities are endless, why is it so uncommon? Anyone else feel the same?

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  1. i think we are in a carnivorous wave in the biz!

    1. It seems there is usually one vegetarian entree, but almost never vegan. And often it's so cheesey that it isn't light at all. Guess they expect you to survive on apps and salads.

      1. Like the OP, I am neither vegan nor vegetarian. When I've asked for a vegetable plate, no kitchen has ever refused. I've had some wonderful vegetable-only meals at unexpected places -- Kuletos in SFO was memorable. Every now and then, I'll luck into a chef with his/her own garden patch and my meal is over-the-top. San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito CA was such a place.

        As I've said, I have had great luck by simply asking nicely.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Sherri

          I am a vegetarian, and often opt for a more casual restaurant where I feel more comfortable asking for a meatless entree. The nicer the restaurant is, the more uncomfortable I feel about making special requests. In my mind, high-end chefs have a much more defined idea of their cuisine, and would be less likely to make exceptions for patrons that aren't health or allergy related. Is this accurate, does anyone else have an opnion?

          1. re: enbell

            Interesting. I think it depends on the restaurant. Personally, I have generally found the opposite to be true (unless the restaurant is stuffy and overly trendy in which case then I would believe that the chef might be unwilling to make accomodations).

        2. This post was interesting because last night I was at a restaurant that had 2 vegetarian entrees and two vegetarian specials and I was surprised. I remember thinking how sad it was that I was surprised that the restaurant was trying to offer more variety.

          3 Replies
          1. re: bonmann

            Okay, so while trying not to step on the toes of anyone's personal tatses, is it appropriate to make an off the menu request regardless of the restaurant?

            1. re: enbell

              If done in a polite manner, very few restaurants will take offense. Even fast food chains accomodate personal tastes.

              1. re: enbell

                I think most restaurants want diners to enjoy their experience and will try to make an accommodation. Of course what they can do might be limited by the materials on hand. If it is a very meat oriented menu they may not have much more to work with than is already on the app or salad menu. Of course I think that if you let the restaurant know when the reservation is made you get a much better product as there is time to plan and prepare.

            2. 1. Most diners are meat-centric. They equate entree with meat or fish of some sort.

              2. A veggie only entree is a money loser. For example, if most of the meat entrees on the menu are in the $20s, it would be hard to justify a veggie entree for the same price. But, if you lowered the price of the veggie entree, then it would compete directly with the appetizers.

              3. Limited choices. Aside from pasta and grilled veggies, there aren't too many ways to prepare a veggie entree for most Western cuisines. Now, if you talk ethinic, like Indian, Asian, etc., then it would be a different story.