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Restaurant heat lamps

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Ate at a rather large and upscale hotel reataurant last night that was almost empty and our entrees (fish and crab cakes) came out so dry we sent them back. My thought was that they made them while we ate our apps. because they had nothing else to do and put them under a heat lamp. Could the heat lamp dry them out and how long would that take?

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  1. That sounds strange.
    A restauant usually screws things up when they're packed. An empty dining room allows the cooks to get their timing just right.
    The heat lamp should be a very temporary holdover while the waiter gets his butt in the kitchen for pickup.
    Don't really matter if its fish or crab cakes or burgers, the plate shouldn't be under the lights for more than a few minutes. More than that, the dish starts going downhill. Not necessarily dry, but not top shape.
    I'm guessing they simply overdid them.
    How was the second serving?

    2 Replies
    1. re: porker

      Changed the order. One dish came out very good, the other, a crepe, was not great. By the way they did comp us some items and provided one free dessert.

      1. re: porker

        Speaking as a cook for many years... you would think that an empty dining room allows us to get the timing just right. However, without fail, the majority of mistakes are made when there is nothing to do. You put something in the oven and then go in the walk-in to grab something unrelated to that dish just to catch up on prep and next thing you know, you've forgotten that you're cooking something. When you're busy, you're constantly looking at the burners, the grill, in the oven. You always know what is going on. We run 10-15 minute ticket times when we're busy, and 20 minute ticket times when we're slow.

      2. If the food is bad, doesn't matter what they've
        done to it. But most (though not all) hotel
        restaurants are mediocre. They rely on
        hotel guests who are looking for convenience,
        not good food.

        1. A heat lamp could definitely be the culprit.

          So could a bad chef ... so who knows.

          1. Also, as many chefs on here would I'm sure agree, an empty dining room can sometimes mean an empty kitchen to save on labor costs. If it's not busy, the Exec Chef goes home to catch up on some well-deserved rest, and entrusts his/her kitchen to what may be inexperienced or newbie staff. Have seen this done so many times, I've lost count...

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