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Jan 1, 2009 06:53 AM

should restaurants tell you they're serving "special menu"?

I'm just curious. Called to make reservations for New Year's Eve. When we arrived, with EXTREMELY picky 15-year-old son, were told they had a special menu. Prix fixe, 3 courses, $48. Entree choices: prime rib, salmon, duck. Uh-oh. Our son is stictly chicken nugget, spaghetti, burgers. So we decided to leave. Explained the problem to waiter and host, apologized, and headed for our neighborhood pizzeria. So what do you think? When you call for a reservation, should the restaurant tell you if they're serving a special menu?

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  1. I think ANY restaurant should tell you when you make the res. I gather you've been there before and their regular menu is the "low-brow" stuff that some teens want :) It does seem odd that they would completely diverge for NYE, doesn't it?

    1. Yes, definitely. I'm assuming the place was not TGI Fridays or Olive Garden that specializes in your son's cuisine but still, a deviation to a prix fixe menu should be mentioned. As I recall everytime I've called in such a situation I've been told, "we're serving a fixed price menu that night for $80 [or whatever]" very explicitly.

      1 Reply
      1. re: taos

        I also do not recall a time, that I was not informed. This is just a good business practice. All surprises should be good ones.


      2. Where I live, almost every non-chain restaurant does a "special menu" for NYE, prix fixe as you've described. If it's unusual there, they should mention it. I would expect it where I live.

        1. I think they should have mentioned it. But, on a day like NYE when a lot of restaurants use special menus, I always make sure to ask when I'm making the reservation even if the information isn't volunteered.

          1. Maybe they should have mentioned it, but I think it was more your responsibility to ask.

            3 Replies
            1. re: valerie

              I agree with Lucia & Valerie. They should have told you, but you have a duty as a consumer to protect yourself and ask, it being NYE.

              1. re: Leonardo

                i hate to say it, but i agree with Lucia, Valerie & Leonardo. it's pretty common knowledge that many, if not most, restaurants serve a special or prix-fixe menu on holidays like NYE, so i always assume that IS the case. it would be nice if the restaurants did always offer the information, but you really can't rely on them - you should take responsibility for it yourself.

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  Agree NYE is always an exception to normally and special menus are always in is also a good night to stay in.