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Can't get hamburgers cooked the way I want

I've noticed that in several restaurants I can't get hamburgers cooked medium rare or rare. Medium is the least cooked I can get. In some restaurants it's the company policy, in others it's the local board of health. Yes, I know all about the dangers of undercooked meat. My feeling is that the restaurant should be required to warn you about undercooked meat, but that I'm an adult and paying for the food so I should be able to get the meat cooked any way I desire. As long as I am told about undercooked meat (the lawyers talking) it's nobody's business. How do others feel about this policy?

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  1. Drives me crazy. But get this! I've eaten in a couple of places that refused to serve eggs over-easy! They said it was against health regs or company policy or something. They'd only do them with the yolks cooked solid. Ick!
    But then other places can serve steak tartare, sushi, house made mayo, caesar salad, etc.
    I'll sign a release. Just give me good food.

    1. This recent thread might interest you. It got so heated the Chow team put the brakes on it. FWIW, I like them that way too and can never find a place that will do it either.
      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/456447

      1. I always order rare, I would order raw if I could. Squires in Briarcliff cooks them perfectly. I always get them rare at Blazer's too (both in NY).

        Have you tried them?

        As to the health risk, bugger the health risk. Then again, I used to adore the steak tartare at Town Tavern in Bronxville, NY, so what do I know.

        2 Replies
        1. re: dolores

          dolores, come on over to Brussels! If you order "l'americain" (The American) what you get is a big beautiful mound of raw, slightly seasoned, beef. You usually get small side piles of chopped onion; cornichons, etc. It is on practically every menu here, from cafe to fine dining. It's in all the delis as well.

          1. re: briedemeaux

            LOL, briedemeaux, I've love to, that sounds wonderful! There used to be a place here in Westchester NY that served steak tartare, which is similar to what you describe. The place has since closed and I doubt, due to liability, that many other places serve the dish you describe.

            Whenever I cook London Broil, I always eat mine raw...:O)

        2. Thankfully here in MA most places will cook to order (with the possible exception of some chains -- someone with more info hopefully will correct me if I'm wrong) and EVERY menu, from the lowest diner to the fanciest fine dining room has to state on their menu something to the effect that raw stuff can make you ill, so you're taking a chance. Of course, it's worded a little nicer... when I was a waiter people from out of state would often wonder at this statement, as if that particular restaurant was warning them that they could get ill by eating there. When I explained it though, they understood.

          1. It's all about liability - the fact that they warned you doesn't prevent them from getting sued if you get sick and you're inclined to sue. Since they're usually not paying for their own legal defence, it's their insurers who get to set guidelines on recommended practices. Whether they win or not, the legal defense still costs money.