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Splitting Appetizers/Entrees in a "nice" restaurant?

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Maybe it's just me, but my husband and I never share appetizers or entrees at "nicer" restaurants. By sharing I mean ordering 1 appetizer/entree for the two of us. It just doesn't seem right for some reason. If we go to a nice restaurant, like Ruth's Chris, or a nice local restaurant, we each order our own appetizer and our own entree. But I know some people here mention they order one app or one entree and share between two people. Am I being weird about this? I'm curious to see how others feel about this. (note: I'm not talking about ordering 2 items and splitting them between two people, but ordering 1 item and splitting it between 2 people).

  1. Done that. 2 appetizers, but sharing one entree. Some places, even the 'nicer' ones, just serve large portions. And we often share one dessert, especially if each of us had an appetizer & entree.

    1 Reply
    1. re: linguafood

      We often do 1 app, 2 entrees, 1 dessert and nicer restaurants. 2 apps seems like too much food with 2 entrees. We've done 2 apps, 1 entree, 1 dessert before also.

    2. We often just get one app and share, then order our own entrees, trying the other's of course. An app and an entree is usually too much food.

      1. My husband and I do this most of the time. As others have stated, 2 apps and 2 entrees is usually too much food.

        1. We often split one app and one entree, then usually each get a dessert. With these smaller portions, we usually can get through a full bottle of wine in addition to our cocktail, which keeps the check amount in the comfort range for the restaurant.

          You shouldn't go by whether the restaurant is fancy - most are happy to oblige. However, the higher priced places generally have comparatively smaller portions, so that should be taken into account when deciding how many courses you want to split.

          1. One doesn't have to be half of a couple to share food - I love food, and nice restaurants, but my appetite just isn't that big. So I'm always happy to have a dining companion who's willing to split, especially at some place like a steakhouse - if I can find someone to split a steak with me, and then we each order appetizers, plus sides and desserts for the table to share, and of course plenty of wine and/or cocktails, it's all good. Like HSBSteveM, I do have a "comfort range" with respect to the total check amount, so I am conscious about how much we're spending over all and not feeling like the waiter may be getting short-changed on the tip because the bill is unusually small, especially if it's a busy night at a popular restaurant.

            1. Boogiebaby, I am mostly in agreement with you. I never order one entree at a nice restaurant to share, and if the portions are too big for me to finish, then I take home the leftovers and have a nice lunch the next day. When we go to Ruth's Chris, I order the large filet just so I have leftovers to take home. Depending on the restaurant, I once-in-a-while might order a salad or appetizer to share, and will often order a dessert to share.

              The only exception to all of this is when I sit at the bar, where I will often split an appetizer and entree with someone. But if I am taking up one of their tables, I feel almost an obligation to order separate entrees. Besides, I get to taste more items on the menu!

              2 Replies
              1. re: brandygirl

                I agree. I would consider sharing an appetizer, unless it's one that I am particularly fond of, but never an entree. I would feel like a piker, and also be affecting the server's tip.

                If the entree is too much for me, and it usually is, I'll take it home for another meal.

                That way, I have room for dessert and coffee too.

                1. re: dolores

                  Yes Delores,this would be my style as well.

              2. It depends on how "nice" the restaurant is. If entrees are in the $20s, it's a classy place but not too formal, I'll definitely split an appetizer and/or dessert, but never an entree. When I go to a really upscale (high $20s+) restaurant, I'm usually in the mood to splurge, so I want to order my own appetizer, entree, and dessert.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Lucia

                  I totally agree with you. Even though I don't have a large appetite, I just can't split an entree in a "nicer" restaurant. In an upscale place, we do order our own appetizers and entrees but generally split dessert.

                  1. re: Lucia

                    I agree also. If I'm spending the money, I want the flavour variation in an appetizer, entree and dessert. And maybe two hours or more to eat everything. Though tasting menus are the best.
                    Although I have sometimes been known to get an appetizer instead of dessert, or an appetizer as an entree. They're usually best because the chef has to work hard to pack flavour and texture into a smaller portion.

                  2. If the jfood are not hungry they might get two apps apiece or split an entree. Likewise the jfoods never take home leftovers, so they order what they will eat. Whether the avg entree price is $15 or $40 does not matter, and if the resto would like to charge a split charge on the entree, no biggie for jfood.

                    So go to a restaurant and order what you want, as you would if you were eating at your home. If you would like to up the tip amount that is a nice gesture.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: jfood

                      Spot-on!

                      1. re: jfood

                        The better restaurants realize any business is better than none at all. While servers may instantly feel their check average will be low, in finer restaurants, that assumption would incorrect in most cases once drinks, wine and or desserts are considered.

                        As you get older, appetites are not as large and regulars who frequent their favorite places share their meals. The house know this and they are very accommodating. They do this for their regulars, so they would also gladly do it for others.......and they do not automatically assume you are cheap. There is one place I frequent where at the bar it is quite common for elderly couples to enjoy their meals and usually it is shared by both or the entire group. In fact, the shrimp cocktail is ordered by the piece @ $6.50 per, 10-12/lb.......whether you order one or order 12, they prepare and present it the exact same way in an iced seafood metal clamshell type server complete with two dipping sauces and mesh lined lemon halves.....

                        If you may feel awkward splitting entrees in the dining room.....consider dining at the bar or bar area for a more relaxed environment.

                        1. re: jfood

                          It's a dog's life, ain't it?

                          TT seldom orders less than 7 courses per Toast, so the issue does not arise. But, if it did, nice or not so nice, TT would split an app, or an entree. What's the big deal?

                          TT

                        2. I would never split an entree no matter what type of restaurant I am at. We do sometimes split an appetizer.

                          18 Replies
                          1. re: swsidejim

                            I'm with you, Jim. I don't exactly know why, but the thought of splitting an entree with my husband comes off as kind of tacky. If I wasn't that hungry, I'd skip the appetizer a/o salad course and move right to business.

                            If we were sitting at the bar, I'd be more apt to share than if I was at a table. I guess it's because while you're at the bar, you're frequently just there to drink, and having a little something to munch on is gravy for both the customer and the bartender. If you're at a table, it's presumed you'll be ordering dinner.

                            1. re: invinotheresverde

                              I dont split an entree for how it may look, but when I go out to eat, I am hungry, and want my own plate of food.

                              I agree I am more apt to skip the appetizer, or salad, and just go with an entree if the entrees are big, or my hunger may be in question.

                              1. re: swsidejim

                                I agree that I also want my own plate of food. If I'm not hungry, why am I out to eat (that's where the tacky part comes to play in my eyes)?

                                1. re: invinotheresverde

                                  In addition, if one is not that hungry and doesn't want to bring home food, then just have two appetizers. I do that often, and the price of two appetizers usually is the same as one entree.

                                  Who knew eating out was so dangerous!

                                2. re: swsidejim

                                  swsidejim -- thanks for making that point,. The potential check and graduity amount never factors into my choices. SO and I often share an appetizer and each have our own entree. If this is a problem for the server, well, then, it is his/her problem, not ours. The gratuity is based on the attitude we get much more so than the amount we are going to spend. It doesnt matter how it "looks". As customers we have the right to do this in any kind of restaurant.

                              2. re: swsidejim

                                Doesn't it depend to some extent upon the appetizer? A dish of mussels is easy to share, as is a salad, if you ask for two dishes. A bowl of soup would be somewhat of a mess, though.

                                1. re: ekammin

                                  In casual restaurants, I sometimes split a bowl of soup w/my son. I might want some soup, but not a whole portion, so we share, and just take turns/push it back and forth. I wouldn't do it in a fine dining situation though.

                                2. re: swsidejim

                                  I had a client that would take me out for lunch, her treat, and when we got there she always suggested that we split the entree. I hated that! I wanted what I wanted, and not necessarily what she suggested, but she was a client and treating, so being the wuss I used to be, I went with it. I still think it was incredibly tacky, and it wasn't as if she couldn't afford 2 entrees. I like leftovers, they are called lunch for tomorrow. Appetizers, unless it's soup, are fine to split. I can't imagine getting an order of queso, or some other type dip, and eating it alone!

                                  1. re: swsidejim

                                    You know, I used to think that way. However, I just came back from Florida where DH and I split a fruit plate and a sandwich at the hotel pool restaurant. We also split an order of stone crabs and a fish and chips dish at another restaurant. I think one of the reasons we felt more comfortable doing this was because the fruit plate and the sandwich were the exact same cost, and the stone crab appetizer was about three times the cost of the fish and chips entree -- hence, the servers didn't feel like they were getting gypped.

                                    1. re: Miss Needle

                                      interesting, the servers feelings never enter into my thought process. It comes down to me simply wanting my own entree.

                                      1. re: swsidejim

                                        I guess I'm incredibly selfish - I could really care less what the server thinks of my food choices, whether or not I'm sharing or really chowing down!

                                        1. re: Catskillgirl

                                          I don't think servers could care less about whether you're sharing or not. But they do care about the final bill as their tips are based on that.

                                          1. re: Miss Needle

                                            True, but I still order the amount of food that I want, not the amount that the server wants me to order. If I did order, say, only an appie and dessert with a beverage, I would up my tip accordingly, so the server would not be hurt by my lack of appetite.

                                            1. re: Catskillgirl

                                              I think what you're doing is right. Some people leave 15% regardless of what they order. About 15 years ago, I used to go to this diner that had a $1.99 breakfast special -- two eggs, toast, juice and coffee. Our coffee came first, then juice, then eggs and toast. That's a lot of work for the waitstaff. However I've seen people leave a 15% on $1.99 -- which works out to about 30 cents thinking that was OK.

                                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                                Miss Needle, I had to chuckle. In December 2007 we visited with my mother in Florida and went out for the $1.99 breakfast special as it was so reasonable and no one wants to clean up bacon grease, bake fresh muffins/bread, etc. For that price you got 2 eggs, choice of bread, grits/hashbrowns, juice/fruit cup or beverage (no kidding!). There were 6 of us. To have left 15% of $12 ($1.80) would have been ridiculous. I always left WAY more than that. To see one server (and a senior at that!) haul out 6 trays full of everything was almost more than anyone could bear to see (we speculated whether/not dropping the trays). There ought to be some evaluation and compensation for effort as well in tipping, totally!

                                                1. re: Diane in Bexley

                                                  DiB

                                                  It's SOP in some places in FL. When Jfood goes to visit the FL fokes, he is the guy who plays "golf" with the uncles (ouch) and then the 8-some run to the bagel joint for the $1.99 special because it is all you can drink coffee (jfood has never seen the elderly drink coffee like boiler-makers). Then everyone gets a separate bill for about $2.15. They each leave 2-singles and 2-quarters. Jfood is always the last to leave and mysteriously an extra $10 fallls out of his pocket and onto the table. Ten years and no one has noticed yet (or so he thinks).

                                                  1. re: Diane in Bexley

                                                    You reminded me -- I totally forgot the homefries for that $1.99.

                                                    Yeah, people can have a tendency to simplify things and just leave a flat percentage and not take into account various factors.

                                              2. re: Miss Needle

                                                I really don't think a servers take home should be on my mind when I go out to dinner.

                                                I have to admit that I don't go out to eat often. I hate to wait, service is often lacking and I can cook and enjoy it.

                                      2. i love food and love to taste new things. so, we always split everything (even if we don't tell the server). in fact, that's really where "high end" dining is going. you think about places like craft/asia de cuba/chinois and then tapas restaurants - it's really moving toward "family style" and tapas so that everyone can have some of each dish.

                                        at ruth's chris - i don't know how you'd split the steak, but the sides are all served family style - creamed spinach, onion rings . . . as sides? that just means that everyone is sharing.

                                        if dining is too formal, i just can't enjoy it. i like to dress up - but being boxed into what plate i'm allowed to eat off of is too much. i'm paying good money and i'll eat the way i like.

                                        we usually go with another couple and get 2-3 apps, 2 entrees and a dessert and are full and happy and have tantalized every taste bud.

                                        1. It's Paris, spring of 1993.and the heppy newlyweds are walking the streets with the smell of crepes wafting through the air. Ahhhh! Their plan is to go to all of the bistros in and around Paris that have been in the NY Times list of bistros opened by Michellin starred chefs. It's their last night and they've kept Relais du Parc which was opened by Robuchon for their last night. They walk by the Arc de Triumph and down this beautiful side street to the hotel that this restaurant is located. They ask for a table outside on the patio because the weather is so beautiful and they sit for what promises to be a wonderful evening. The trees are glistening with white lights all tastefully placed and the tables are far enough apart that you would have to strain to hear conversations. The sommelier brings a bottle of wine and pours the couple a glass of a St. Emillion and the happy couple toasts to their wonderful time in Paris and their future together. Minutes later, the waiter arrives with their first course. For the happy bride it was a salad, and for the happy groom it was a terrine of fois gras. The happy couple are relishing every bite, AND THEN IT HAPPENS! The couple exchanges plates so that they can share in these wonderful dishes. Within moments a visibly outrages maitre 'd arrives with a scornful expression and tone in his voice and says "If you must indeed exchange food, at least you can use this" and proceeds to hand them a "sharing fork". The happy groom explains how the couple have been married for just 2 weeks and that this is their last night in Paris and how they saved this restaurant for their last night so it they would end their trip with the greatest memory. Wow! This guy was falling all over himself to help us at that point. Wine turned to champagne (of course with the proper food), and advice was given as to what we might want to eat in addition to or instead of what we ordered. At the end of the meal, desert arrived (without being ordered) and when we left to walk back to our hotel, a pkg of food was given to us, uh I mean them to enjoy later that evening.

                                          Long story even longer, this couple always shares. The only issue is that the lovely wife still orders salads instead of terrines.

                                          7 Replies
                                          1. re: jnk

                                            what a wonderful story. leave it to the french to understand that the customers come first, not the amount of charges and upselling at every table.

                                            1. re: jfood

                                              Umm... hate to break it to you but suggesting something else they might want to eat IS upselling.
                                              "...advice was given as to what we might want to eat in addition to or instead of what we ordered" jnk

                                              Even if the customer is satisfied with the service, and indeed they were happier to have received the "advice," it is upselling. Just upselling at its very best, so good, in fact, you may not even realize you're being upsold.

                                              (Although I call that suggestive selling; To me, upselling is when they try to sell you something bigger, sugestive selling is when they offer something completely different from what yo've ordered. However, people on this board tend to use upselling to mean either.)

                                              1. re: miss_bennet

                                                nice catch mb, jfood got caught up with the moment.

                                                upselling in jfood book is trying to sell a higher priced dish than what was ordered, trying to give the impression that something is free but really carries a price and "and which potato would you like?" whe this is not included in the price of the entree.

                                                curious if any of those came into jnk's dinner.

                                                But still a wonderful story.

                                                1. re: jfood

                                                  I recall someone complaining that a relative of his, with whom he often dined, would never order an entree of his own, but would insist upon taking something from the plates of everyone else at the table.

                                                  He finally hit upon a soluiton. When this relative put a fork into his dinner he just handed him the entire plate, saying, "I really don't want any, here, take it all." The relative then had a full plate of food placed before him. It took a few missed dinners, but the guy was finally cured.

                                                  1. re: ekammin

                                                    Not jfood but you probably hit the reply verus the reply to original post icon.

                                                    NOONE sticks their fork in jfood's food. and fortunatele his family and friends would never think of reaching over and grabbing.

                                                  2. re: jfood

                                                    I have never had someone try to sell me a higher priced dish in a restaurant... Interesting. I'm pretty sure I would hate that.
                                                    The one that happens all the time in casual restaurants is "do you want gravy for your fries?" which I don't mind at all. And I've definitely never had a server try to pull the wool over my eyes like that "which potato would you like?" crap. If one did, and I was charged, you can be sure that I would be having some choice words with the MOD. Without swearing, of course, because then you don't get anything.

                                                2. re: jfood

                                                  Wait, what? The maitre d' racing over to yell at them with visible scorn shows a delightful understanding that the customer comes first? Granted, they turned the situation around, but the customers had to make it happen, and not everyone can seize the reins like that when they're being scorned and yelled at on what was supposed to be a relaxing occasion. I would probably run away crying and never set foot in France again. Fine, call me a baby. I'm just not ALL THAT CHARMED by this tale.

                                              2. Dh and I often eat at upscale steakhouses. If we both want steak, we share the steak and the sides and any appetizers and dessert. Everything is ordered a la carte and sides (especially) are usually designed for sharing. We generally get out own salads because that is an area of disagreement. If we are going to a restaurant with inclusive entrees, we do not share.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                  Exactly. At Bob's in Dallas, the sides are very generous and so it's only natural to share them. I don't know about sharing a steak though, though TT would try it, just to see what happened.

                                                  TT

                                                  1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                    I couldn't even share a steak with my boyfriend if he was willing. He likes his medium, and I like mine rare. As soon as it turns browny-gray, I can't stomach it.

                                                  2. No, your not weird, that's just what you are comfortable doing.

                                                    My husband and I frequently share appetizers and desserts, on occasion salads or entrees. Does it make me feel weird? Nope.

                                                    I tip on the service I receive with the tab amount used as a starting point. I've tipped 100%+ on a breakfast tab with outstanding service and 10% on an expensive dinner tab with poor service. My point is, if you split an entree or any other course it's your decision on a tip amount. As an example, we recently stopped into a very nice place, at 5pm, for a cocktail and snack (we had late a dinner reservation somewhere else) we shared 2 appetizers and a caeser salad(the kitchen served the salad on 2 plates, without us asking), we received excellent service and upped the tip an extra 15%.

                                                    Dining out should be fun, do what you are comfortable with and enjoy!

                                                    1. We often share an app but not an entree at "nicer" establishments. Now, if it's a place we're really excited about we typically will get more than one app simply b/c we want to try several things.

                                                      If we want to split an entree we'll sit at the bar, if they have one. If it's a place we frequent, than I don't feel bad splitting at a table. We always have a pretty high check avg anyway (wine/cocktails, app, entree, coffee) so it doesn't adversely affect the servers bottom line.

                                                      1. The $10 +/- asparagus or hash browns appetizer at Ruth's Chris or S&W, by example, could feed half of Myanmar for a day; of course they are meant to be shared. Entrees are a little different. Shrimp scampi are easier to share than a veal chop. It depends a bit on how intrinsically divisible an item is. The "nice" has more to to with how you get along with your dining companion, rather than the restaurant.

                                                        1. We almost always share. I can't eat the large portions that are usually served and DH shouldn't be eating his app, entree and dessert, then finishing off mine. Solution - share. If he needs more - rarely - we order something else. Exception to this rule is if he wants liver and onions - I won't do that.
                                                          Server's tip isn't the issue. Tipping is a separate issue,

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: Pampatz

                                                            Pampatz, you know I love you like an hermana, but the flip side of when "DH shouldn't be eating his app, entree and dessert, then finishing off mine" is when you query him as to how is his steak (Denver or Mexico), and he indicates with that certain glint of the eye and flash of the knife that it is sabroso, that's when a man wants to be left alone for a few more minutes. He should not be further interrupted or asked to share :)
                                                            Edit: When I ask "how's the Creme Brulee?" and I get that same steely-eyed, tight-lipped glint and flash of the spoon I noted above, I back off and sip my coffee in pathetic recalcitrance.

                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                              Hermano, I've seen that glint before and learned to respect it. I admit to giving the steely glint where Creme Brulee is concerned too.

                                                          2. My wife and I often share dishes when we go out to eat, from a bucket of popcorn at the movies to caviar at the finest restaurants. In fact, not infrequently, we'll order 5 appetizers to share because the entrees don't look as interesting or we'd rather try more things. No one has ever betrayed any discontent or hint that they were displeased with our ordering.

                                                            1. Point One - Ruth's Chris is not a good steak resto, wouldn't be eating there with Mr. D.
                                                              Point Two - Mr. D. is a big guy, 6'2", 250 lb. very rare that we could share entree alone. However, increasingly, resto portions have become so large with so many sides that it is possible. There is a medium price BBQ joint in our town that serves 1/2 of a 6-7 lb. BBQ chicken (I'm not kidding!) with 2 sides for $12.99. That we can share, as Mr. D eats dark meat and I nibble on breast. Occaasionally, we will each order an app, split an entree and share dessert. Or some other permutation/combination.

                                                              The important point is that the diners feel comfortable with the resto, it's atmosphere and menu. My 78 YO mother & I often share food. Like JFood mentioned, we compensate the server a little extra for bringing extra dishes,cutlery, napkins, etc. As long as no food minimum has been posted, the diner should be comfortable ordering whatever they want. One of these days, I will work up the confidence to march into a white table cloth resto and order 3-4 desserts for dinner.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Diane in Bexley

                                                                Depending on the restaurant, some places here have a $7.50 sharing plate charge. I guess they've taken 'sharers' into consideration.

                                                                I'd rather order the entree and feed what is left to my dog than pay that charge.

                                                                Or, as I've said, order two appetizers.

                                                              2. As to the server caring what the bill is going to be: I worked in restaurants for more than a dozen years; everything from fine dining to cheap takeout. And I can honestly say that I wasn't bothered by people who ordered split entrees, the least expensive items, etc. What did bother me were the people who asked for multiple free refills of soda/tea or tons of chips & salsa (at one particular tex-mex place) expecting not to be charged. Those folks took up tables while there was a wait for dinner at the door and just made it unpleasant for everyone.

                                                                1. We split an appetizer frequently and then order 2 entrees (almost never the same one!) and take a taste from each other's plate only after the person who ordered it has tasted it, of course. Dessert is never a given for us so we've shared one or ordered 2 different ones and tasted each other's. If the portions are too large, we take the part we can't finish home. No big deal. Our tipping is usually generous and at a "nice" place, we usually have ordered a bottle of wine so our server is getting a significant tip already. In Florida, we have the lovely option of having the bottle recorked and sealed to take home. But usually we have lingered long enough to consume the whole bottle safely anyway.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: PDeveaux

                                                                    I agree, PDeveaux. Here in NY, two appetizers for me and an appetizer and entree for hubby usually rings up a hefty bill, with desserts (I don't share dessert, not ever) and coffees, so I wouldn't dream of tipping for food not eaten.

                                                                  2. I've eaten in very very nice resturants even better than Ruth's Chris. We don't mind sharing at all. It really depends on the menu, what we feel like that day, and our appetite. Sometimes we even just order the huge combo appetizer platter (at a regular resturant ) and have that as dinner. We're not being sloppy about it either. Food is social and so is sharing. It's pretty doubtful that we'd go to a high end resturant and just eat one entre. We'd probably have 2 entrees and share an app and desert.

                                                                    1. I find that this question is often resolved by the restaurant. I will split appetizers/entrees at places where I know the portions are huge, generally cheaper casual places. More upscale places generally have saner portion sizes, so an app/entree each becomes the right amount of food.

                                                                      1. It's your money. You're the boss. Do whatever you want and don't be intimidated. Without you there would be no restaurant.

                                                                        36 Replies
                                                                        1. re: nolanani

                                                                          I second that!

                                                                          Salut

                                                                          1. re: nolanani

                                                                            I disagree.

                                                                            Just because restaurants live off of their customers, those same customers don't have the right to "do whatever you want and don't be intimidated". Guests should always use good judgement and decent, if not proper, etiquette.

                                                                            Do I think splitting an appetizer before each ordering an entree is a big deal? Nope. Sometimes extra courses are simply too much food. However, I can't imagine having an appetizer as my dinner and taking up a table on a busy Saturday night. That borders on rude to me, especially if there's room in the bar.

                                                                            Also, "without you there would be no restaurant" is a bit elitist. There are plenty of customers without the holier than thou attitude that restaurants love. You're not doing the restaurant a favor by dining there, just as they're not doing you a favor by feeding you. It's a give/take relationship. Both parties should be courteous.

                                                                            1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                              I'm not talking about being rude,loud and obnoxious.

                                                                              I'm just saying if I want to share my food I should be able to.

                                                                              Have you seen some of those combo appetizer plates? They're meant to be shared by at least two people. There's no rule on how much you have to eat in a "meal". It's like eating pizza. There's one large platter in the middle and each person has their own side plate. It's still a meal any way you "slice" it.

                                                                              1. re: sleepycat

                                                                                I don't think the discussion is about Friday's/Applebee's/etc. We're talking upscale places, most, if not all, don't have appetizer platters.

                                                                                Also, I think we ARE talking about being rude and obnoxious, since not ordering an entree each at a dining room table, in my opinion, is both.

                                                                                1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                  Ouch

                                                                                  The pizza example was just analogy. I think the question was about in a "nice" resturant. I don't think boogiebaby said an upscale resturant. Nice being subjective. What one may think is nice might another average resturant to another.

                                                                                  When I go to a resturant, I am attentive to the people I am with and not what surrounding people think of me.

                                                                                  As others have said most high end resturants give you a much smaller portion. It's pretty doubtful that we'd go to a high end resturant and just eat one entre. Having said that I still don't see where it's written as a rule saying you have order one entree each.

                                                                                  1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                    I

                                                                                    "we ARE talking about being rude and obnoxious, since not ordering an entree each at a dining room table, in my opinion, is both." Please say you're kidding.

                                                                                    If a restaurant places the following notice on its menu, how long do you think it would stay in business:

                                                                                    "All people at the table must order at least one entree."

                                                                                    That might be a reason for a restaurant to be listed on jfood's DNR list before a sip of water has crossed his lips.

                                                                                    What's next, a sign at Burberry's and Brooks Brothers stating:

                                                                                    "Anyone entering this store and speaking with a salesperson is expected to purchase at least $50 worth of clothing."?

                                                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                                                      No, but if you're sharing entrees or just having appetzers, why not eat in the bar and let other diners dine?

                                                                                      Also, I'm not kidding.

                                                                                      1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                        I

                                                                                        Dining is the act of eating and if jfood orders two appetizers, that would satisfy that definition. And why should any customer be relegated to "the bar" because the amount of food that they want to order does not meet the standards of the server. And if M&M jfood want to split an entree they should sit at the bar as well? Pretty soon the bar will be the naughty customer zone.

                                                                                        If the restaurant has a minimum per person at the table, let the owner decide, not the employees. If the restaurant does not want to seat three people at a 4-top, let management decide, not the employees. And then the customer can decide with their feet whether this caste system is worth their money.

                                                                                        There is no way that jfood would ever ever ever ever ever support a place that seats people by how many courses they are ordering or any restaurant that would ever ever ever ever tell people to go to the naughty room because they do not have a large enough appetite to justify a seat at the "adult table".

                                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                                          lol naughty corner

                                                                                          like my two year old says... no no

                                                                                          I concur jfood. You never know one's situation. For example, my hubby may want to take me out to dinner but if he has a late hockey game he's not going to eat a heavy dinner before playing on the ice. Seeing as I always get fed (since I get grouchy if I don't get dinner) I don't see why he would have order an entre so that we could have dinner at a table.

                                                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                                                            I don't think the bar area is the "naughty customer zone", but it IS the less formal dining area, and if you're sharing an entree or having a few appetizers, you're having a less formal dinner.

                                                                                            1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                              Once again, please say you are kidding? Only formal diners eat at tables, non-formal-ites eat at the bar?

                                                                                              Not having a full entree each and having the kitchen "split" it is less formal. Does the restaurant give plastic utensils to the splitters? And if jfood is eating the $62 veal chop stuffed with foie gras with truffle risotto and mrs jfood has one of the appetizers, they are eating less formally than the table next to them who ordered two orders of $22 roasted chickens? And why can't M&M jfood have two appetizers each with a white tablecloth and a server, busboy, waterboy and full staff?

                                                                                              Sorry, the tables are for customers that want to eat there, the bar os for people who want to eat there and if anyone at a restaurant tells jfood to vacate a table because his order did not meet the minimum, the minimum has been met, because jfood will spend $0.00 at that restaurant.

                                                                                              1. re: jfood

                                                                                                You CAN do anything you want, but I don't understand the desire for a fine dining meal consisting of appetizers.

                                                                                                Again, if my husband and I were having only appetizers, we wouldn't DREAM of sitting anywhere other than the bar/lounge area.

                                                                                                1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                  Wow. The appetizers are often the most interesting items on a menu, and because of their size, one is able to get a couple or even three in lieu of an entree. I'd prefer to linger over those at a real table.

                                                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                    I would also point out that many restaurants, even pricey ones, enable this kind of ordering by charging for sides separately. If I have to pay for a separate side for my entree, I do feel entitled to create my own meal with an appetizer and a side.

                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                      I not only prefer to do so, linguafood, I do. And will continue to do so. And have never, ever run into a problem with any server, thankfully.

                                                                                                      Funny stuff here.

                                                                                                      Val55, I've never even felt pressured to order a side when I order two appetizers, thanks to the restaurant gods I have looking over me.

                                                                                                      If the day came when all the restaurant owners actually sniffed at me just asking for two appetizers and directed me to the lounge, I would be hanging up my gustatory shoes. Thankfully, that isn't going to happen any time soon in the real world.

                                                                                                      1. re: dolores

                                                                                                        I didnt mean to imply that there was pressure to order a side, just that I find that even charging separately for sides seems an implicit invitation to add them to anything you want. There have been times I would like the smaller portion of an appetizer and being able to have a sep side makes it easier for me to make a full meal of it.

                                                                                                        1. re: Val55

                                                                                                          Oh Val55, I was agreeing with you. I've never felt pressured, ever, to add a side to my appetizer only meals. If the sides were interesting (as long as they weren't bread), I happily add them to my total. I sometimes find that even salad is too much, added to my two appetizers, so of late I have discontinued it.

                                                                                            2. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                              (Addressed to invino, not jfood)

                                                                                              I simply cannot eat an entire entree at most restaurants. Sometimes I will just order a bowl of soup or an appetizer. I also don't drink any alcohol - where would you like me to sit? I don't mean to be rude, but after years of retraining my portion control, I'm not about to let a restaurant dictate how much I eat on a nice evening out with my SO.

                                                                                              I'm also a very generous tipper - 20% regularly, easily 30% when I order just an appetizer or soup.

                                                                                              1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                >>Let others dine?

                                                                                                Wow, so others who dine have preference over those who share entrees or just have appetizers?

                                                                                                Wow.

                                                                                                1. re: dolores

                                                                                                  I'd say yes, assuming they were both regulars.

                                                                                                  If a restaurant you frequent knows you're a low-check table, they still appreciate your regular business. However, they appreciate the bigger spending regulars more. I've watched the owners with my own eyes make exceptions for big spending regulars time and time again (giving them a reservation even when we're booked, giving them a table someone else has requested, making the kitchen spend extra time on their entrees, sending over extra amuses/desserts/drinks, etc.).

                                                                                                  So yes, while all customers are valuable, I'd say there's definitely a preference given.

                                                                                                  1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                    I don't have an issue with that...in most business regulars or those who spend significant $$$ on a regular basis get preferencial treatment. There are several places where we get significant perks but we also are the ones there all year long, Monday nights, etc.

                                                                                                    1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                      Exactly.

                                                                                                      1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                        Believe it or not jfood agrees, you have to work your way up the regular ladder. In some places jfood has to stand on line to get a reservation and others he can call almost as he needs a favor.

                                                                                                        Fact of life in all businesses.

                                                                                                    2. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                      How incredible. So the restaurant business is not about the customer, it's about the bottom line? Fortunately, I patronize restaurants that are more than civil to me whether I have a drink and leave, or spend an hour or two on appetizers, dessert and coffee.

                                                                                                      Your observation doesn't hold all over the country, but it's interesting to note, if only for the forboding nature of it. I sincerely hope it isn't an indication of restaurants to come.

                                                                                                      1. re: dolores

                                                                                                        Again, restaurants value all customers. They just value big spendering customers more. I don't think it's a new concept; as Janet mentioned, it's been going on in business for years.

                                                                                                2. re: jfood

                                                                                                  Doesn't stop some places from trying that. For example, one time we went to a pub and the waitress said we had to order an alcoholic drink for every plate of wings. My hubby can drink anybody under the table and would not have a problem with drinking two beers )as there were 2 of us ) per plate of 10 chicken wings. He loves beer. However, he was very much against the priciple of having some establishment telling him what he has to order. We left that place without eating or drinking and have never been back.

                                                                                                  1. re: sleepycat

                                                                                                    Were the wings at a special price (a la happy hour)?

                                                                                                    1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                      The promotion was one alcoholic drink per plate of 10 wings. I know some resturants have order a drink with your "wings" but I don't drink that often due to medical. So my hubby would have to drink 2 beers ( his choice of beverage) for each plate of 10 wings. Should a patron be forced to purchase an alcoholic drink ? I don't think this kind of promotion is a good one. My hubby is on two hockey beer leagues so course they love beer and wings and we go to lots of wing places. We weren't comfortable with this stipulation and voted with our feet. We didn't complain as they have a right to have whatever promotion they want but the basic principle is if you're going to dictate what I shall order then I eat somewhere else. My hubby does have a high tolerance and he usually drinks enough for both people anyway so it's not that I want to "cheap out" by not ordering a drink. I don't even have a problem with order two drinks per x. I have a problem with order two alcoholic drinks if you want x. That particular pub wasn't that great anyway they've been closed a couple times by the local health region. Oops I digress.

                                                                                                      1. re: sleepycat

                                                                                                        If it's part of a promo, I don't see the big deal. The restaurant obviously had a lower than normal price on the wings, and was using them as an attraction.

                                                                                                        (Although, again, I thought we were talking about "nice" (which I take as upscale) restautants).

                                                                                                        1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                          I think I was replying to jfood's observation and supporting the general principle with my own personal exerience.

                                                                                                          Again, "nice" being subjective. The original post never really defined what they thought "nice" was. It could be upscale or it could be nicer than average whatever average refers to. What is your definition of upscale seeing as you work in the resturant industry?

                                                                                                          1. re: sleepycat

                                                                                                            Not a place serving wings with a drink minimum. :)

                                                                                                            "Nice" to me is +/- $100 per couple before alcohol.

                                                                                                            1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                              I know a wing place wouldn't be considered a "nice nicer" resturant. I'm Canadian not stupid. That example, was an aside digression to agree with jfood's principle. It could have been fois gras it's just that my personal example included wings.

                                                                                                              1. re: sleepycat

                                                                                                                "I'm Canadian, not stupid" just made me laugh out loud.

                                                                                                                Also, my smiley face was intended to note a tongue in cheek response.

                                                                                                                1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                                  I'm sleepy. I didn't see the smiley face. At least something is making you laugh. :)

                                                                                                          2. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                            Using something as an attraction is a great idea, using something as an attraction and then sticking it to the cutomer by "forcing" them to order something they do not want is a low-brow thing to do. It is not a promo it is a "hide the banana". Not good business practice.

                                                                                                      2. re: sleepycat

                                                                                                        good for him sleepycat. can't wait for a restaurant to tell jfood he has to order a $50 bottle of wine if he orders a hamburger for dinner.

                                                                                            3. Jfood understands that a server's tip is in direct proportion to the amount of the check at a ratio of 15-20% per dollar spent. Jfood also understands that the amount that jfood pays is also in direct proportion to the amount of the check in a ratio of 115-120% of what he orders. So the dollars out of jfood's pocket is 5.75-8.00 times greater than the dollars into the servers pocket for every dollar of food ordered.

                                                                                              so jfood orders what his stomach tells him to order at any given meal. If he does not want a $10 bottle of water - not ordered; chicken instead of steak - cluck cluck; dessert and coffee not in the cards that night - please bring the check. And if mrs jfood is not that hungry and wants 2 appetizers, that is what she is ordering. And if there are three people in jfood's party at a 4-top, sorry what's jfood to do? Should jfood order a phantom meal to please the server? Not happening.

                                                                                              Serving tables in a restaurant is like investing. You have some winners and you have some not such winners. It's a portfolio of tables. If jfood's is a low beta for the night, sorry, but it is jfood's money to spend, his hunger to satisfy and he only has three people in his party.

                                                                                              Jfood will order as he and mrs jfood see fot that night, and if it's a split entree, so be it. As Jack Welch said, "Without our customers we are out of business."

                                                                                              1. deb and i do it all the time. we also split bottles of wine.
                                                                                                never had a problem.

                                                                                                1. I have so tried just to not respond to this thread, since I put down some very simillar comments on the etiquette board.

                                                                                                  I think splitting an appetizer that is easy to share, not a soup or pasta or etc, is ok. I will even say that dessert, ok if you really want to, maybe. Entrees, No. Except entrees meant to be split done either in the kitchen or at the table, a pizza, porterhouse for two, paella.

                                                                                                  When my father got remarried his new wife wherever we went insisted on splitting meals and I just wanted to smush myself down under the table with shame and sneak out the back door it was so embarrassing. They looked so cheap and PDAing it was gross. They have gotten over it to some extent now, luckily or I wouldn't take them out I would cook something that I could give them each a plate of at my house.

                                                                                                  1. Splitting dishes can tend to be overly PDA in public, the no you take that last mushroom, no you makes me want to eat the mushroom and say there. Splitting desserts can get like this too. I would rather the kitchen split them and charge a fee because I don't want to see you trying to do it, especially in nice places. So if you do it have the kitchen plate them for you. I am assuming this thread is talking about more upscale restaurants, but I think some of my comments could be across the board.

                                                                                                  2. If you don't have that much of an appetite ask for a half serving, or take it home, put it on top of a trashcan for someone else.

                                                                                                  3. If you can't afford it if you don't split it go somewhere else.

                                                                                                  4. Plus do you really want the same thing every time as your partner really? Are you sure they don't feel obligated to oblige your wierd sharing habit or you don't.

                                                                                                  I find the whole splitting entree thing really disturbing. Please for goodness sakes don't do it with other people eating with you if you do it, reserve it for meals alone. Having a bite of someone's really good whatever I think is ok, put a bite on their bread plate, etc. If you do it once in a while just you two, ok maybe, but the people who do this often make it a habit and habitually doing it is where I draw the line. If you do it more than perhaps once every two months, yuck.

                                                                                                  I don't see many people ever splitting meals in DC and especially not the places we normally go to dinner. I think as long as it isn't habitual really. And in really upscale places DO NOT in any circumstance split a tasting menu. Give bite, sure, split, no... Wine feel free to split with as many glasses as you like.

                                                                                                  Ok I said what I think I am going to try not to say anything else this reallys gets me mad. I am glad I don't know anyone but the aformentioned offenders that do this.

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: ktmoomau

                                                                                                    I don't know about sharing my food with relatives or other people at the table for that matter. A lot of couples like to try a number things on the menu so sharing is natural. It's not like you're french kissing them while they're half way through their lobster.

                                                                                                    I think this is a cultural thing too.

                                                                                                  2. Wow, never expected so many responses! I haven't had a chance to go through all the replies until now.

                                                                                                    To clarify, by a "nice" restaurant, I meant $100/couple or more. I'm not talking a family owned, $12/entree type place or a fast food type restaurant. I'm referring more to an upscale, $35/entree type place. I used Ruth's Chris as an example for price and ambiance, but hubby and I tend to frequent local non-chain restaurants. I thought everyone knows Ruth's so that was a good example for a nationwide example.

                                                                                                    I find the responses intriguing. Like I said in my original post, my question didn't pertain to those people who order 2 entrees and then sharing each entree. I'm talking about people who go to a "fancy" restaurant and share an entree to save money or because they feel the portions are too big. It just doesn't seem right to me -- looks like some poeple agree and some people don't agree!

                                                                                                    1. Wow When I opened this I though you were going to be talking about the FL. I find it terribly disconcerting that you actually consider a lousy chain like Ruth's Chris a "nicer" restaurant. YIKES!
                                                                                                      Yes you are being weird about this. We split a single app often and even some times a salad at (OH MY) a servers suggestion. I don't recal ever splitting an entree. The wise server fully understands that the total of the bill is not the sole factor in gratuity.

                                                                                                      1. I think it's ok to share usually the portions are big enough for two.

                                                                                                        1. Folks, it looks like pretty much everything that can be said on this subject has been said, and now things are getting repetitive and unfriendly. We're going to lock it now, and let you all get back to sharing chow tips, rather than tips on sharing chow.