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Jan 10, 2008 07:40 AM

Do you send food back often?

Reading the perfect salmon thread gave me pause.

I don't think I've ever sent food back to be refired.

I have no food allergies.

I have a wide range of likes with regard to capsicum, garlic, and other strong flavors.

I appreciate fine dining and good ethnic food but I am not averse to eating fast food either.

I have definite preferences with regard to the doneness of proteins (I don't like chicken too rare, I want my steak medium-rare, etc.). However, I'm pretty sure that the only way I'd send something back would be an expensive steak that was overcooked (beyond medium). Pretty much anything else I'd eat without complaint. I might not be totally happy about it but I'm not going to disrupt the flow of dinner for my companions if my salmon is a little over or undercooked.

Am I too easy?

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  1. I think it's all dependent on expectations, which is directly proportional to price. If I'm dropping $100+ per person on a meal, it had better be perfectly cooked, perfectly seasoned, and the wait staff should be properly pouring drinks, properly removing plates and properly replacing flatware after each course. They should also be pulling the food off the pass before it gets cold. The majority of the time, these expectations are met, and if they aren't, I either send items back with explicit detail on the problem until they come out correctly, or I don't come back for a second visit.

    If I'm at some chain restaurant, it's about not even worth sending the dish back, because it's crap to begin with. With quality establishments, however, I'd like to think that the executive chef would be disappointed in serving a customer something that's not up to the restaurant's standards, and would like it to come back if improper so it could be remedied.

    My Blog:

    2 Replies
    1. re: sirregular

      I agree that it's more justified in an expensive place. I ate at CityZen a few months ago. My Wagyu beef was oversalted (to my taste) although it was a perfect medium-rare.

      Who would have sent it back?

      1. re: filth

        This is where having great service, as expected in a place like that, is helpful. The server would ask if you're enjoying it, you could say it's oversalted and the problem is taken care of. I rarely (can't remember the last time) send food back but have been asked how the food is and I'll be truthful if it wasn't up to par (meaning, edible in some restaurants and not incredible in others).

    2. I have to agree with you on some level. I do not like sending food back either but will if I find foreign objects in my food (which I have-glass, label, hair etc.) If the protein is not cooked properly (usually if it is too rare, overcooked I can deal with, raw chicken I can't) Now if I am fine dining my expectations may be a bit higher, I really do not want to spend $40 + for a meal that was cooked improperly. With regards to not liking a flavor I believe that is on me and would not send back, just a lesson learned.

      1. My simple guidelines for reasons for ME to send food back:

        1. Foreign objects
        2. Over-cooked meat or fish......or anything mushy like pasta or vegetables
        3. Anything over-salted and inedible
        4. Anything arriving not as described or missing an ingredient, n.g., crab on an Oscar dish or Jumbo/ Colossal Shrimp.....described as U-10, but more like 16-20/lb
        5. Anything unpleasant to my sense of smell

        I do not feel it is proper to send anything back because you do not like it and it was not how your Grandmother made it. The only exception to this is if the server, manager or owner asks me specifically how I liked my meal....and I respond unfavorably........I believe I should be made whole with some sort of offer for satisfaction or resolution.

        If you are truly concerned as an establishment, the remedies are easily acomplished. up is never a problem.

        2 Replies
          1. re: fourunder

            I generally agree with the above but if I found foreign objects I would certainly tell someone but would not send it back and get another. It would be my last dining experience at the place unless it was one of my all time favorites.

            As far as being "made whole with some sort of offer for satisfaction or resolution", I usually get those questions when there's a lot left on the plate as with most people. Again, unless it's one of my favorites, I'm more inclined to say I just wasn't that hungry or something similar because if I didn't like the dish, I probably won't be back and don't want anything else to eat from that place.

          2. Yep. I've sent back overdone and underdone meats/fish, etc.. I've sent back scallops that had clearly gone bad. Half-raw sweetbreads. Steak that consisted of gristle, or too much fat & tendons.... plastic in my salad. The list goes on. If something is wrong with my food, I have it fixed.

            1. I think the only time I have sent food back is when I was served a salad with raw shrimp on it (someone was ASLEEP in the kitchen).

              While I agree food should be cooked properly, I can't STAND when I am eating dinner with people and they send back their food for stupid reasons. To each their own though. I just try not to eat out with people who I know send their food back just to be irritating.

              I guess my opinion is, sending food back is OK if you have a very very very good reason. Maybe I am too easily pleased as well.

              6 Replies
              1. re: enginerd

                When my father was alive, I used to go with him and his friends to Myrtle Beach bi-annually, a group of 8-12 golfers. I was in my twenties and everyone else was in their 50-60's. On one of these trips there was one person who sent back every dinner for five straight nights after eating the complimentary salad and bread and half his entree. he would always say it was too salty.....and would leave early before the bill arrived, never contributing to the final bill, claiming he was not charged for anything.

                On the sixth and final day after golf, the first two groups had already settled into the Grill @ Pine Lakes International.....where their specialty was an over-sized burger on onion kaiser rolls, toasted on the grill with butter. This person came off the course in the last group, saw what every one else was eating and said, "That looks good, I'll have the same". When his order came out, he saw that the roll was toasted with butter and he went into a the waitress and in general saying something along the lines it was not right, or how dare they do this to his meal.......At the dismay of my Father and all his friends, I yelled back at him and told him to quit embarrassing everyone in the group sending his food back and to shut up and eat the burger......he ordered it and it came out exactly as requested.......and we all knew his act was to get free food.

                Needless to say, this guy was never invited to be in the group again.

                1. re: fourunder

                  I once ordered rack of lamb in a restaurant. Three of the chops were nicely done, the fourth was almost raw.

                  I simply asked the waiter to bring the raw chop back and have it cooked some more. He did this, and by the time I had eaten the three good chops, the fourth was back, properly done.

                  No fuss, no muss, no cuss.

                  1. re: ekammin

                    Any idea how this rack was cooked? I'm finding it somewhat difficult to understand how three were cooked and one wasn't.

                    1. re: filth

                      Probably separated into individual chops prior to cooking, and then broiled individually.

                      1. re: ekammin

                        Errrr. I thought your described a "rack of lamb." Isn't a "rack" where the chops are still attached?

                        Did you mean "lamb chops?"

                  2. re: fourunder

                    >I yelled back at him and told him to quit embarrassing everyone in the group sending his food back and to shut up and eat the burger......he ordered it and it came out exactly as requested.......and we all knew his act was to get free food.

                    on behalf of waitresses everywhere, "Thank you!"