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Jun 16, 2007 05:28 PM

Portsmouth Brewing Company and Restaurant Etiquette

So I was wondering what other people do when they eat at a restaurant and the chef/cook is preparing dishes with ingredients with which he is clearly unfamiliar. As an example, I was recently at Portsmouth Brewing Company, which I think has really excellent Beer and has an interesting menu for a brewery with standard pub fare and some more inventive stuff. The first time I was we stuck to fried calamari, fish and chips, and a burger which were all great--way better than your typical greasy pub grub. This time we tried the spicy curry mussels, which were fantastic, and the stuffed chili poblano, which I'm afraid was just terrible. It came out raw, it did not have the bitter and difficult to digest skin peeled off, and there was something in the 'sofrito' sauce (chile water, unstrained pureed chiles?) that made it incredibly bitter. You might say that I should know better than to order a chile relleno in New Hampshire, but I'm wondering if I should have had the waitress tell the chef that poblanos must be roasted and peeled before they are stuffed, and that something was making the sofrito unpleasantly bitter, or if that is just too awkward and insulting? There might have been some other reason for serving it this way--perhaps so the chile would stand upright rather than having to serve it on its side?--but this dish seems like a real liability, even if no one who eats it knows what it ought to taste like. Does anyone know how chef's/restaurant owners react to 'advice' from patrons?

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  1. Sounds to me like a clear case of "send the food back and tell them why you don't like it." They need to hear if something is no good. You will be doing them more of a favor by telling them, so that they can fix the dish and make more customers happy, than by trying not to hurt their feelings.