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Walking Out due to the Menu Options

We went to our little sushi place with SUSHI clearly part of the name of the restaurant. It wasn't very crowded but we had to take a table, no spots at the bar. A group of 8 or so walked in and were seated behind us. I heard the server take their drink orders because she made a joke about 6 sweet teas 5 times fast...
Our food came and a little while later we heard chairs loudly scraping the floor and the server saying "You can't find something you like? Oh I'm so sorry...what a shame, it's all delicious...' As the table got up and left.
Which prompted us to discuss if we could ever remember leaving a place because we couldn't find anything we liked on the menu (if that was really their reason). I couldn't think of a single time.
There's a menu posted outside too!!

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  1. I would have to say the restaurant was probably more expensive than they realized and decided to leave.. I find it hard to believe it was based on menu selections available for the night.

    1. Unfortunately we have walked out before. Not because of me, but because of my DH. There aren't a whole lot of places that have menus posted outside around here, sure wish more did, and he is very picky, so we go to an mexican place where the was absolutely not one thing that he would eat. They did not have Fajitas or tacos al carbon, and that is all he eats at those places, besides tortilla chips. I was very embarrassed. And it smelled so good, too.

      21 Replies
      1. re: danhole

        My husband once made me walk out of three places in a row, in the Hamptons, because none of them made french fries. And some of the chefs were friends of mine, so it was sort of embarrassing. I think we just picked up a pizza on the way home instead, he was in some kind of mood.

        1. re: coll

          Ouch! I'll bet that was really uncomfortable for you. If that happened to me, the snarky side of me would probably tell my husband that we should go to McDonalds.

          1. re: Miss Needle

            You're nicer than I am Miss N. At restaurant #2, I'd have told mine to go sit in the park or the car or something while I have lunch. I try not to reward bad behavior :)

            1. re: Miss Needle

              I wasn't nice about it, I can tell you that. I was actually sort of furious, but he's not easy to deal with at times. Well we're both Taurus in case that explains it! Or is that too 70s?

              1. re: coll

                Yup, too 70s. I've learned on CH to call any and every behavior that you don't like either "passive aggressive" or "OCD".

                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                    "I've learned on CH to call any and every behavior that you don't like either "passive aggressive" or "OCD".

                    man, sam, you *nailed* it -- as usual. i'd say "passive-aggressive" gets the edge..... ;-).

                    1. re: alkapal


                      jfood did not realize asking for tap water was passive-aggressive. Whoda thunk it? :-))

                      1. re: jfood

                        It's not, of course, and I'm sure Sam would agree.

                    2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                      In the 70's people had "Baggage" or were "Uptight man"!

                      1. re: danhole

                        Obviously, your post brought back this ancient memory!

                    3. re: Miss Needle

                      Ha ha, coliver and coll! Oh, my first instinct would be to be extremely sarcastic. But having endured stubborn people throughout my life, I've learned (painfully might I add) that it's just better to let them cool off and then have a "talk" when they're in a better mood. It's sometimes hard to restrain myself -- but I've had a lot of practice from these boards! ; )

                      1. re: Miss Needle

                        Oh, I totally agree with you. He could go sit in the car and cool off while I have a nice lunch. Then we can "talk" if we choose to. But why should I not enjoy MYSELF if he wants to be a pain in the rear? No way. And maybe the next time he won't be so stubborn. It's taken me a lot of my 62 years to stop enabling those game players.

                        1. re: Miss Needle

                          At least we got a pizza on the way home, I wasn't too mad to not eat anything.

                          I was just never into french fries all that much, so couldn't understand the fuss. But after 30+ years, you learn to deal with the BS.

                          1. re: coll

                            And he STILL didn't get fries?!?! That's what makes me giggle.

                            Years ago I dated a man-child that only ate beige food, and pizza. I had to brush & gargle if I ate any non-beige/pizza items. I think I wrote about him before. This was before I cooked like I do now, so we ate out often and only ate approved locations. It didn't last... I got tired of carrying my toothbrush to restaurants...

                            1. re: Boccone Dolce

                              If only I could turn back the hands of time! At least he eats a lot more than beige food.

                              1. re: Boccone Dolce

                                Now why was it you ever went out with this person a second time??

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  He had a large..........


                                  Ha! Life is about choices, right? I'm grateful for that relationship and it's lessons, blah, blah, blah, but it took me a while to say screw it -I'll have the garlic knots with my french onion soup, etc..

                                  Alka I did have nicknames for him but this isn't the venue! I know that if we ever went to a new place (and we never, ever did) that we probably would have walked out of some due to the menu- but we'd never have gone in to begin with if it was called "House of Sushi" (or similar)

                                2. re: Boccone Dolce

                                  i dated** a "mr. beige." -- i named him that after he said "beige" was his *favorite* color. he may have ventured into non-beige foods -- but not *too* far.

                                  ** very briefly after this point. ;-).

                        2. My Dad has walked us out before once on vacation in Blankenberg, Belgium. The place had the same menu items as every other casual spot in this casual beach town, but was 2-3 times more expensive. My Dad is not easily embarassed so out we went.

                          1. I did this once back in the 90's. Remember when fennel was the "big" thing to hit the American food scene? Maybe not every where but here in NC you would have thought that some new miracle plant sprouted up from the soil.

                            Well, we went to a restaurant that took this to the extreme. Literally every dish on the menu had fennel of some form or another. It was a small restaurant with just a few menu items and fennel was the ingredient of the week....

                            Sorry, but fennel is the one thing that I just can't stand. I also dislike dill, black licorice, black jelly beans, ouzo, absinthe, raki and sambuca. I am not a huge fan of tarragon because it has the licorice undertone or more accurately the anise undertone.

                            I was extremely apologetic and very embarrassed and did tip very very well on the round of cocktails that we ordered. Thank God they hadn't got the grand idea to infuse the vodka with fennel :-)

                            My father, who is NEVER embarrassed, dragged me out of some place in NYC when I was a kid because of price.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: chicaraleigh

                              I'm there with you on all things licorice / anise flavored as well as dill. I have recently been able to add very small amounts of fennel (only if it is a dish that i'm dying to have except for the fennel). plus there are some biscotti that have anise flavor that i'll manage to choke down.

                            2. With 8 people instead of a 2 or 4 top I am guessing the place was way more expensive than people thought. Unless one person is a real boor, it's not likely the one person who couldn't find something they liked on the menu wouldn't have just quietly sucked it up and gotten something just to play along. With all 8 people leaving, I see the conversation going something like this: One person complains about a price they see, another chimes in that they've never seen that item so expensive, nor several other items. Someone else says yeah I knew they were really expensive but I thought this was where everyone wanted to go, I'm just going to get a side dish, I can't afford these prices. Etc etc til finally someone says, well then, why are we eating here, lets' just go to (other place nearby) instead! And they all get up and leave.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: rockandroller1

                                I just thought ok, it's a sushi place- no huge surprise what will be available. They may have missed the menu outside, or figured they could get 'fried rice' or something for the non-sushi fans in the crowd.

                                1. re: Boccone Dolce

                                  I tend to agree with you. It would be interesting to learn more about the makeup of the group. Was it all guys, all girls? 4 couples? Maybe there were a couple in particular who were indeed thinking "I can get fried rice" or something like that and didn't realize it was ALL sushi, despite the name. I mean, I loathe sushi, but there are always *plenty* of tasty items for me to get at a Japanese restaurant. If I were invited to a Japanese place, I would go and plan on getting those things that I do like that are non-sushi that seem to be offered at most Japanese places (even those with "sushi" in the name). Now, in my case, if I had gotten there and there LITERALLY was not one other thing offered besides sushi, I would just had some california rolls, struggled through the meal with a smile as best I could and left and ate something later on; it's one meal and no reason to spoil everyone else's good time, and I'd know not to go back to that place. I went on 2 dates back in my dating days where I was unexpectedly taken out for sushi, it was a first or 2nd date with each person and they were both really excited to take me to one of their 'favorite' restaurants. I know most people love sushi and my dates were both convinced I would love the place, so I suffered through both meals to be polite, trying hard to lean toward the vegetarian stuff and choking down as quickly as possible the few fish-sushi things I had to, knowing that the dates were never going to be long-term partners for me, but that's because I don't like making a big scene. Some people wouldn't do this though. If you were dating someone high-maintenance who looked over the menu and realized there was NOTHING they could get since they don't eat sushi and that they would basically refuse to eat and could spoil everyone's meal with their attitude, I would be inclined to quietly suggest that we were probably going to just go as X didn't realize that the menu was ALL sushi. And then probably another couple would say oh, well, we didn't realize it either, I wanted to get some tonkatsu pork and they don't have that either and someone else would say well, we could just go somewhere else, there's another place right next door, etc, and pretty quickly everybody would agree to get up and leave and go to another place. Certainly I've rarely been out in a group of 8 where every single person was familiar with the menu before they'd ever arrived unless it was a chain restaurant. Some people just say ok, we'll try this new place and meet you there. I just don't see this is some egregious breach of etiquette. It's not like they had reservations.

                                  1. re: rockandroller1

                                    All woman, dressed up teens to grammy-aged. (I had to look!)
                                    This is a funky little town, with lots of shops and exhibits going on. Could have been they were walking around and decided spur of the moment. It just surprised me and made me think if I'd ever left because I didn't see anything on the menu I would like.

                                  2. re: Boccone Dolce

                                    Most Japanese restaurants tend to have other offerings, even if sushi is the main event. I think it's more typical to have the izakaya style place where you can get a variety of dishes to try than have a place that serves only sushi, including chahan (fried rice), tonkatsu, miso soup, dumplings, etc. If you're talking a truly traditional sushi place, it's not even going to have the California roll or other more Americanized rolls.

                                2. Luckily most places around here post menus, so the one time we walked out wasn't a matter of menu options. When my son was much younger we ended up in a restaurant that turned out to be more formal than we'd judged from the outside. It was clearly going to be long, slow meal and more than an ordeal for us than a treat. I apologized to the waiter and we left as quietly and unobtrusively as possible.

                                  1. this is why you look at the menu before sitting down! Even if there isnt one posted outside, you can ask for one from the host, and peruse beforehand. This way you can reject it for any reason you want, and not have to give an explination or feel bad about it. Just hand the menu back and say "Thank you". Then leave. Sitting, getting drinks, then bickering about whatever it is you dont like until you all leave, is well......rude.

                                    28 Replies
                                    1. re: nkeane

                                      It never even really occurred to me - I'm not a picky eater and this was a place my ex was set on trying. I can generally find something to eat almost any where, from the late night taco truck to the finest restaurants. Just not the fennel stand ;-)

                                      Even after that experience, I don't think I've ever asked to see a menu prior to sitting down - is this a common practice for other folks?

                                      1. re: chicaraleigh

                                        I've never done this unless the menu is online.

                                        1. re: chicaraleigh

                                          The menus are usually accessible where you wait or at the bar. I always just take a look.

                                          1. re: chicaraleigh

                                            Definitely. If the menu isn't displayed, I ask to look at it before I sit down.

                                            1. re: chicaraleigh

                                              not to waorry C. what you did was fine. If anyone is embarassed into staying for a meal after seeing nothing onthe menu that pleases them, that's their problem. Not rude at all. Pay for what you order, thank the server and move on.

                                              1. re: chicaraleigh

                                                If the menu's not posted, I always ask to see it. Why wouldn't one? How on earth are you going to know if it's even in the realm of the type of food you're interested in or the price?

                                              2. re: nkeane

                                                The OP said nothing about "bickering."

                                                1. re: nkeane

                                                  When we walked out of the Mexican restaurant we didn't even order drinks. The menu was presented first, and before they could put the chips down he had decided he was not going to eat there. Still that is a good idea to look at the menu before you are even seated. I scour the internet for menus, and if I can't find one online and I am really curious about a place, then I call and ask them to fax me a menu. I don't ever want to go through that again.

                                                  1. re: danhole

                                                    I know this is an aside, but why couldn't your husband put something together? Like a steak with some tortillas, rice? beans? Or a chicken breast with things? Or shrimp? I know a lot of Mexican restaurants have "plates" but Mexican restaurants also seem to so want to please. I'm sure they'd be glad to just bring him some "stuff."

                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                      See my post above. Maybe they didn't have french fries!

                                                      1. re: coll

                                                        So those three places in the Hamptons had fries on the menu but, in fact, didn't have/serve them? Weird. Maybe potatoes are too ho-hum for the Hamtons!

                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                          No they weren't on the menu, he just assumed every restaurant in the world has some form of fries. Well maybe not Mexican. There are many places in the Hamptons that don't even have fryers, and are proud of it. Fine with me, stinks for him.

                                                          1. re: coll

                                                            How odd. Unless it were a burger joint, I would have no expectation for fries.

                                                      2. re: c oliver

                                                        Oh, you don't know Mr Hole! He is just THAT picky. Rice? Beans? Shrimp? HA! No way Jose. Ask alkapal about all my horror stories about trying to cook for him. Anyway, it isn't worth the sulking I have to put up with.

                                                        1. re: danhole

                                                          So what goes in those tacos that he likes?

                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                            Oh gosh, I hate to even reply to this, but here goes! He will eat a plain taco from taco bell, meaning only the taco meat, or a soft taco, meaning only tortilla and meat. Other than that it's a flour tortilla with beef fajita meat, and that is it. I tried to get him to try a carne asada steak once and he turned his nose up at that - huh??? I even made one at home, but he hardly touched it. Now, I did make a little progress a few months ago bu getting him to taste some al pastor meat from a taco I had, and he actually liked that, but no toppings on the taco, or in a burrito, and no corn tortillas - only flour.

                                                            1. re: danhole

                                                              Oh, honey, I can't imagine what you go through. I only asked because why couldn't he just order a steak at the Mexican place and eat it with tortillas? You should start your own thread on this - or have you???

                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                A very long time ago I started a thread titled something like "Married to a picky eater . . .divorce?" It was a hoot and I got lots of replies.

                                                                1. re: danhole

                                                                  I'll try to find it. My husband will eat anything (and stays slim and trim, darn him) and so will I. Though I divorced him once (and then remarried him a couple of years later!), it certainly wasn't because of food issues.

                                                                    1. re: danhole

                                                                      I just finished reading ALL the replies. Sounds like control issues to me but obviously you deal with it in a way that suits you. God love ya :) Since I already did the divorce thing, it WOULD be murder!!!

                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                        I really should update that old thread because, believe it or not, there has been some progress made over the past couple years. On both sides!

                                                                        1. re: danhole

                                                                          Please do! Mr Hole is an enigma to all of us.

                                                                          1. re: danhole

                                                                            Yes, please. And if there's no physical reason for the gagging, perhaps hypnosis could get him over that reaction. I'm not joking. You sound like way too good a CH not to enjoy cooking and eating all the loveliest thing - even if he can't/won't join you :)

                                                                    2. re: danhole

                                                                      Ah, many years ago I dated the love of my life. Only problem was, he was a meat and potatoes guy and proclaimed that America was so perfect, why would he ever want to travel outside of it? It pained me greatly, but I had to cut him loose.

                                                                  1. re: danhole

                                                                    Maybe it's best not to be in a relationship with a 4 year old.

                                                                2. re: danhole

                                                                  dani, does he ever read your posts?!? LOL!!!!

                                                                  [NOW i understand why you couldn't make my sauerkraut and porcupine meatballs *with sauerkraut*].

                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                    No he doesn't, as far as I know! But he tells me that he is sure I bash his eating habits. My reply is "Why wouldn't I? Our grandkids eat better than you and they are 3 and 6!"

                                                          2. If a menu isn't posted outside, I have no problem walking in and asking to take a look at a menu before I decided whether or not I wish to eat there.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Melanie

                                                              Same here, exactly. I have no problem walking in and asking to see a menu if one isn't posted outside and there are times when I took a seat with out reading a menu first and walked out because nothing looked good to me.

                                                            2. When going to a new restaurant, I always look at the menu prior to going to the table. That way I am aware of the price and the entrees. I would never walk out. After being a part owner of a restaurant, a chef and a server and bartender ... I just wouldn't. But I would think they should of did a quick glance first of the menu.

                                                              Maybe young, just in experienced, lots of reasons, but I still find it wrong. But now a days, you see just about anything. It was probably better they walked rather than ordered and "hated" the food and then complained and caused more problems.

                                                              It is a difficult call. I walked out 2x but just after putting my name on the list. Never after I was seated.

                                                              1. Oh my gosh - yet another example of me being unaware of my own rudeness. I live in an area where they do post the menus and I do read them before I sit down. There are times, though, when I sit down and try to make the 'commitment', I find I just don't want anything on the menu after all. Or I remember that I really wanted to try that other restaurant. Or the vibe in the place is a little 'off'.

                                                                I'll make my apologies to the waiter and leave a tip for the inconvenience. Were I in a large group, the dynamics would be different, and I may not leave.

                                                                Really, I don't mean to be rude! I just want the eat the meal I want.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: alwayscooking

                                                                  I would always look, but just me, restaurant owner, chef and server and bartender ... but big parties are a problem for the staff if they just left. Couples, that is different. If you were polite and just made apologies with a small tip. That is very considerate and usually doesn't cause a problem. Big parties usually are a hassel and cause some rearranging for a restaurant so I think that would be inconsiderate.

                                                                2. It has happened to jfood a couple of times. Seated, relaxed, looked at the menu and nothing there that he wanted to eat. So instead of suffering through a meal he does not want, he apologizes and leaves.

                                                                  This is not even close to being rude. It is actually being considerate since, once a meal starts off badly, chances are the rest will follow, and then it is a lose-lose situation.

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                                    I agree not rude if apologize, but for large groups to me it is more difficult, but small groups of 2 or 4 shouldn't be an issue.

                                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                                      So glad to hear someone else thinks this "is not even close to being rude." I was really beginning to question myself! I mean, it's not like I do it all the time (I can probably count on one hand), but I HAVE done it before. And I've done just what jfood has done: I apologize, might put some money on the table for the trouble (if there was any), and then leave. It never occurred to me this would be rude! I actually think the waiter would be happier I did that -- what does it benefit the house if I order one entree "to be polite" because I don't want to walk out? After all, if I leave, there is a greater chance the table will go to someone who is excited about the menu and shows it by ordering an appetizer, entree, dessert and coffee.

                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                        Not that it adds or detracts from what you said j, but I never said they were rude.

                                                                        1. re: Boccone Dolce

                                                                          nope, not directed at you BD. Another poster placed that line in the sand. Jfood just wanted to place another one in the sand as well with the contra-rude statement.

                                                                      2. I did it once. It was 1993. If memory serves, the restaurant was in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island in Puget Sound. My lovely new bride and I were staying on a classic wooden sailboat that doubles as a B&B. There was a restaurant right in the harbor, and since it was late we didn't feel like hunting for someplace to eat. So we went in and grabbed a table.

                                                                        The more I looked around, the more I realized that this place had once been a Denny's. But it wasn't just the floorplan and the decor reflected the time before the franchise was lost. The menu, too, harkened back to those glory days. Brought to you by Sysco.

                                                                        What really tore it was the small print under the recommended entree of broiled salmon. It was Atlantic salmon. In the middle of Puget Sound.

                                                                        We paid for our drinks, left a tip, and found a place up the hill. Pool tables, drunken commercial fishermen looking for a good fistfight, and halfway decent pizza. Much better.

                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                          Puget Sound is Puget Sound. San Juan Island is in the San Juan Islands. Totally different bodies of water. It's like calling the Gulf of Mexico the Caribbean Sea.

                                                                          You made the right move to get out of there. It sounds horrible. Friday Harbor has far better.

                                                                          I've never walked out strictly due to the menu, as I always read it before being seated.
                                                                          However, I did walk twice because they were out of half the menu, specifically the half that had piqued my interest.
                                                                          And I've walked a few times because we were ignored and never gave our order.

                                                                          1. re: Leonardo

                                                                            You may be right, but apparently the folks on San Juan Island disagree with you:

                                                                            "San Juan Island, Washington in Puget Sound is a Pacific Northwest treasure."


                                                                            1. re: Leonardo

                                                                              "Puget Sound is Puget Sound. San Juan Island is in the San Juan Islands.
                                                                              Totally different bodies of water. It's like calling the Gulf of Mexico the Caribbean Sea".

                                                                              Sorry to correct you here but this isn't correct.
                                                                              San Juan Island is one of the San Juan Islands....the main town is Friday Harbor....in Washington State, on Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest.

                                                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                                                Calling it Puget Sound is an outsidery thing. Like when non Floridians call the Bahamas the Caribbean.

                                                                                NOAA strangely calls the San Juans, The Strait of Juan De Fuca and(gulp) strait of GA up tot he Canadian border Puget Sound. But that makes my eyes roll back in my head.

                                                                                Me? Puget Sound is anything S of Whidbey Island. The Strait of Juan De Fuca starts around the turn at Port Townsend and the San Juans are the San Juans. Period.

                                                                                Then there are those that like to call the area the Salish Sea. Sigh.

                                                                                Of course most people seem to believe Seattle is on the Pacific and have NO IDEA there is a giant peninsula to Seattle's West.

                                                                                For ref: I sail PNW.

                                                                          2. I never have . Walked out because of service but now thinking about it there were a few places where I wished I had ....just not appetizing . I recall one place where the only entree that appealed to me was chicken but it was described on menu with 4 -5 or 6 things on it including vanilla (?) Ordered it, hated it..shoulda left

                                                                            1. I did it about a year ago. The only restaurant in an area was an asparagus restaurant. I didn't realize it until I got the menu and sat down because there was no menu posted outside. I absolutely loathe asparagus and couldn't deal with anything that had asparagus as a key ingredient, so I ended up leaving. Luckily I was eating by myself.

                                                                              21 Replies
                                                                              1. re: queencru

                                                                                Was that in Germany, perchance? I know there's a place there that serves nothing but spargel-whatsoever.

                                                                                1. re: lemons

                                                                                  Somehow I missed that I sparked a whole conversation on asparagus. It's a castle restaurant Slovenia. The view was just so lovely that I wanted to enjoy it with a meal. Needless to say, that was not going to happen.

                                                                                  Asparagus shortcake- GAG!

                                                                                2. re: queencru

                                                                                  an asparagus restaurant
                                                                                  wow. wonder what they do in the off season? ;-).

                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                    its 2009, there is no off-season!lol I can get asparagus year-round, not that I do, but I can.......

                                                                                    1. re: nkeane

                                                                                      I CAN get asparagus year round but do have access to "local" A in late spring/early summer. The other stuff to me is just a pale substitute. So I certainly wouldn't want to go to an asparagus restaurant in the off-season.

                                                                                        1. re: yayadave

                                                                                          I've avoided the Gilroy Garlic Festival for 30 years cause I can't even imagine a swallow of garlic ice cream. Yuckers.

                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                            The asparagus festival in Stockton has asparagus shortcake. I haven't tried it.

                                                                                              1. re: Glencora

                                                                                                Probably be good with a dab of garlic ice cream.

                                                                                                Wud he say??

                                                                                                1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                  You are a dreadful chowhound. How will I get that picture out of my mind?!?

                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                    Just try to picture the first person who ate a raw oyster.

                                                                                                        1. re: Scargod


                                                                                                          I have been fortunate enough in my lifetime to have two items considered the best each respective city has to offer.

                                                                                                          As you know, Barbeque @ Sam's in Austin......and White Clam Pizza(No Mozzarella) @ Frank Pepe's in New Haven......As much as I love Barbeque and the meats @ Sam's.......The Clam Pizza @ Frank Pepe's would be the choice if it were my last meal, given a choice between the two. Don't knock it until you have tried it.

                                                                                                          The best way I can explain it to you is......if you like pasta with White Clam Sauce.....you would probably enjoy the White Clam Pizza.

                                                                                                          1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                            I'm just kiddin'. I've had clam 'za. I liked it a lot. Especially with lemon...
                                                                                                            I just was getting on the bandwagon of referencing other nasty topics. Like Passadumkeg, one of my favorites is Z Z Top clam apizza.

                                                                                                          2. re: Scargod

                                                                                                            I hope danhole's husband isn't reading this or he'd REALLY be gagging!

                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                              LOL, c! I don't think reading about food makes him gag, but then again, I'm not sure! I updated the picky post - you need to check it out, speaking of gagging!

                                                                                          2. re: queencru

                                                                                            I would not want to use that towns public bathroom and then head off to that restaurant. Just sayin'.

                                                                                          3. we've done it quite a few times. never really solely over the menu though, most of the times it was a smell or something.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: ScubaSteve

                                                                                              yep- the times we have left were not about the food choices. I have stood in a reception area while hostesses talk amongst themselves, ignoring me/us to the point when I just wink at my husband and we go-that type of thing.

                                                                                            2. Interesting thread. I agree with the others that it might not have been the menu choices. I did this late last fall with my friend. We went to this nice bar that has pretty good sandwiches but we made the mistake of going about three fifteen in the afternoon. Bad idea. We were the only customers in the dining room and everyone seemed in a mid afternoon stupor. I was too, from lack of food. Anyway the deal breaker was when the off duty waitress sat at the table next to us talking loudly on her cell phone while she waited for her ride. It wouldn't have been a big deal if there had been other customers, but we were tired and hungry and just didn't feel comfortable so we quietly left, saying we didn't realize how late it had gotten.

                                                                                              1. I like places with the menu posted outside (with prices!) because that way I can check it out discretely before committing... (cheapest dish on the menu is $20, not in my price range... everything has seafood in it, sorry can't eat it!) We've walked in and sat down and then left because there wasn't anything on the menu that wouldn't kill DH. But I'd prefer to avoid that.

                                                                                                1. We walked out of a restaurant just a few weeks ago, but we hadn't ordered any drinks or anything else yet. It was a Pho restaurant and we looked at the menu before going in which listed a Vegetarian Pho. When we were happily ordering, we asked our server to confirm that the Vegetarian Pho was made with a veggie broth and she happily explained that is was actually made with a BEEF broth. Since there was no pho that we could eat, we left.

                                                                                                  It wasn't the first time we've run into a similar situation and I don't have any problem leaving a restaurant if we can't find anything that we can (or want) to eat.

                                                                                                  Part of the problem for us is that hostesses and servers still don't know what is vegetarian on their menus. Sometimes we'll ask on the way in, "Does the XYZ have any meat in it?" or "Is the soup made with a veggie broth?" etc., and we are told it is vegetarian only to find later that it isn't. Very frustrating.

                                                                                                  1. I walked out of a restaurant in Vancouver once. We decided to walk there, because it would be a nice walk and it would take about an hour, so we'd be hungry when we arrived. A friend of mine had told me it was vegetarian, and the concierge at our hotel confirmed it. The walk ended up taking about two hours, so we were starving when we got there and just plopped down at a table without checking the posted menu. It turned out that it wasn't vegetarian at all, and only had one vegetarian entree on the menu. We had just walked two hours and wanted to have at least two dishes to choose from, so we left. Very politely and apologetically.

                                                                                                    I walked out of lots of "comida economicas" (I don't know if that' the right name, but that's always what's on the sign at little Mexican restaurants that are set up in people's front yards or garages) when they advertised vegetarian dishes (usally quesadillas or dacos dorados filled with potato, cheese, beans or squash blossoms) but those dishes weren't actually available.

                                                                                                    1. We have walked out several times when advertised vegetarian dishes aren't available. It's fine if there's a big selection (ha!) but if there are only 2 or 3 dishes ... and they contain some of the few vegetable my otherwise adventurous husband won't eat ... It's just a waste of money and calories to consume something you're not going to be happy with. We don't walk out often, but when we do we're always very polite.

                                                                                                      The last time, my husband was working near a restaurant in DC that had a great pizza on the menu. I met him there for dinner, only to discover that the pizza was only on the lunch menu. We explained the problem to the hostess and apologized profusely. And even left a few dollars on the table (the waiter hadn't been by yet).

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: odkaty

                                                                                                        It's not that we don't like some element of surprise, nor do we want to have every dining experience, especially in a restaurant new to us, totally planned out, but I've tried to preview a menu, whether outside, online or before sitting down as much as possible to avoid bad choices, especially when traveling, or other awkward moments. I've read reviews of many well-regarded places whether in the media, or on sites such as CH, that some people rave about, but then when I look at the menu, with due respect, don't necessarily find anything appealing. If I just followed the foodie crowd blindly, I might make some bad choices for ourselves, so again, I rarely dine anywhere without some advance peak at the menu, usually online.

                                                                                                      2. Actually I just recalled that one night we walked out of a great Cambridge ( MA) restaurant Chez Henri. They have both a bar area and a diningroom and in the bar you have your choice of the bar or regular dinner menu. Anyhow when we walked in they were having a private event in the main diningroom and only the bar area and bar menu were available. The bar menu items just weren't what we wanted ( though the bar menu has the best Cubano on the planet) So we politely declined and they were so gracious they gave us a voucher for dessert on them next time .

                                                                                                        1. We've walked out of restaurants for bad service, or lack of. One time we walked out of a very famous casual restaurant chain because we ordered egg salad on bread other than what it came on and they would not switch.
                                                                                                          There have been plenty of times when we wanted to but didn't because according to hubby they only had a default menu for him, meaning a steak. He actually has become very willing to try new foods, but can't stand beans or pureed stuff like that.
                                                                                                          We were at one of those restaurants that were accomodating and I ordered clam chowder for 15 dollars and all it was, was a bowl of cream with a few fingerling potatoes sliced and two clams in the shell, I sent it back.

                                                                                                          1. I think it is gauche. Please check the menu if you are uncertain.

                                                                                                            1. If the menu is posted outside, I really am kind of perplexed why people sit down, order drinks, eat freebies if offered (fried noodles at an American Chinese restaurant, banchan at a Korean restaurant, tortilla chips at a Mexican, etc.), take a look at the menu and just leave solely for the reason that they couldn't find anything to eat or because prices were too high. Generally, the first thing I do before going to a new place walking off the street is look at the menu posted outside to see if there's something I'm interested in eating and if it is in the price range that I feel like spending at the time. I can understand if people change their minds eating at the restaurant for non-menu item related things or for food allergy/vegetarian issues, things that one would not be able to ascertain from looking at the menu posted outside -- ie. seeing a roach, witnessing manager berate the waitstaff, finding that the bathrooms are filthy, their chicken soup is not guaranteed to be nut-free, etc.

                                                                                                              I think I've walked out of a restaurant just once because of menu selection. But we weren't even seated and asked to look at the menu from the hostess as there was none posted outside. I was with my dad who is on a somewhat limited diet. Didn't realize that there were only 10 things on the menu, and he couldn't eat any of those 10 items. I'm glad that we asked to see the menus in the beginning as opposed to having the waitstaff bring us in, set up the place, take drink orders and eat the banchan.

                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                As a couple or foursome that makes sense, but when you get into a party of 8, there are bound to be people that just don't know about the place and what they serve. To me it seems almost a given that perhaps someone in the party thought it was a "japenese" place instead of "just sushi" and someone in the couple truly couldn't find anything to eat on the whole menu that would be acceptable, and when the others found out they just agreed to go elsewhere. I don't see why this is such a huge deal. It's not like they had reservations. Everyone isn't as obsessed with food as us Hounds are and probably just figure there's something on the menu they'll be able to get - normal, non food obsessed people probably don't "research" restaurants like us before they go.

                                                                                                                1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                  You do have a good point when it's a larger group. But I think it could go either way with the people who aren't obsessed with food. I feel like non-food obsessed people (eat to live as opposed to live to eat) could just not care as much what was on the menu because food is just not important to them.

                                                                                                              2. I've done it, and I don't think it's rude either, if you are nice about it. I usually look at the menu posted outside or ask to see the menu, but no one's perfect. I'm sure I've neglected to look at the menu prior to being seated, only to find that there's nothing I want to eat on the menu, they are out of what I wanted, or that the prices are too high for what I want. There's no obligation to order, eat and pay for a meal you don't want no more than there is to buy a dress you don't like just because a salesperson shows you into a dressing room.

                                                                                                                I agree with other posters - it's harder in bigger groups - you're not usually going to stand around the hostess station with 8 people each looking at the menu. Someone probably thought that "of course they'll have teriyaki chicken" or something and they didn't. Or they were used to sushi prices being X and this was more than that, so they left.

                                                                                                                1. My husband and I walked out of a restaurant once when we first started dating because we were in the wrong restaurant. It was our first Valentine's Day as a couple and he made reservations for a local sushi restaurant. The restaurant was right next door to a Chinese restaurant and the entrances to both places were right next to each other and we went in the wrong door. We went right up to the hostess, gave our name and were immediately seated. We only realized we were at the wrong restaurant when we were given the menu. So we got up apologized and went to the sushi place next door. We were both very embarassed, but didn't want Chinese. Since he has/we have a common last name it wasn't too surprising that there would be another person with the same name. It also wasn't that big of a loss for the restaurant because we found out later on that both restaurants were the same owner.

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                                                                                                                  1. re: MrsT

                                                                                                                    I just don't understand why anyone would be embarassed. I can't think of a single reason.

                                                                                                                  2. Yes, at places new to us. Sometimes it was more a sensory thing. Perhaps ambiance is an applicable word. Then if the wait is too long, for no reason... perhaps they don't care (?) (and thus don't care what kind of food they serve). A pathetic menu? It is usually more than just one thing.

                                                                                                                    I remember the Q place in Austin, where SO did not like the "ambiance". A couple of old black men sat outside. Inside, everything was tobacco brown and seriously reeked of smoked meats and wood odors. It was a dive. No matter the reputation, no matter how good it could have been, no matter how long it took to find it, SO wheeled around and said, I'm not eating here!"

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                                                                                                                    1. re: Scargod

                                                                                                                      Now that you mention the sensory thing, I do remember walking into a mexican restaurant once that was very busy, and very noisy. There were 3, yes . . . count them 3, mariachi groups wandering around, and a screeching woman who was pouring shots of tequila into drunken young mens mouth while their head were nestled between her chest. That time I took a look around and told my DH, I can't eat here, and we left before we were even noticed. Gave me a headache just walking into the place.

                                                                                                                      1. re: danhole

                                                                                                                        Huh. sounds like the mexican place down the road from me - except they pour margaritas into your mouth while standing on a chair. I've been there twice -the food was very good, but WAY too noisy for me!
                                                                                                                        oh, and the margaritas are free and unlimited (at least they were last time I went) because they don't have a liquor license.

                                                                                                                      2. re: Scargod

                                                                                                                        No matter the reputation, no matter how good it could have been, no matter how long it took to find it,
                                                                                                                        Sounds like Sam's.....

                                                                                                                        1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                          Yes! I'm about to cry. Never got to try it..... sob

                                                                                                                          1. re: Scargod


                                                                                                                            Here are some comments on another thread I started on the Austin Board regarding Sam's.....it kind of funny, but your wife was only looking out for you in the end. For me, although I enjoyed the BBQ @ Sam's, my feelings now are....been there, done that.

                                                                                                                            At Chuy's I had the Elvis Memorial, The others had two shrimp taco's and a steak fajita. The starter guacamole was excellent as were the fresh made chips. I also had a nice refresing margherita and a texas martini. Both hit the spot after a long frustrating day on the greens. All the food was excellent as everyone had mentioned, at both Chuy's and Sam's....but at Sam's, while I was inside waiting for the food, the guys were approached not once, but three times by unsurly's for money....and twice by the same person who said she had kds to feed and the first 5 bucks wasn't enough. Needless to say I heard it the whole way back to the resort.

                                                                                                                            Well, Mr. Fourunder, that's the Crenshaw course, all right - easy to hit the greens in regulation, but putting is another story entirely. And, regarding your experience at Sam's, that's somewhat of typical. I'm glad you enjoyed the BBQ, but for me, ambience counts for a lot, and that place has zero in that department.

                                                                                                                            Both taken from:


                                                                                                                            1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                              Somehow I missed that end of it when I was doing my research, but now I have the skinny:
                                                                                                                              "The atmosphere was ok, but definitely over the top grimey. The sauce was good, but there's no way this place passed a health inspection and I don't think I'll be going back. Some places are hole in the walls, but the food makes it worth the unsanitary conditions." and
                                                                                                                              "It's near one of the worst corners in town for drug dealing and prostitution (12th and Chicon) so be aware. I've been solicited more than once walking out of Sam's, but again I come there around 2am which is prime crack-smoking time apparently." and
                                                                                                                              "Be aware that (like any other spot in Austin) you may be approached by a vagrant who wants you to spare $3 to purchase a sausage wrap for him. (Yes, that happened to us.)" and
                                                                                                                              "Don't be a-scared of the Texas-Chainsaw-Massacre-looking exterior. It's just the same inside."
                                                                                                                              And, BTW I am the guy and SO is female. My 25 YO son didn't want to eat there either....

                                                                                                                              1. re: Scargod

                                                                                                                                Scargod......my apologies for the mix-up and I have edited my comments above.

                                                                                                                                and in honor of the great Paul Harvey......and now you have the rest of the story.

                                                                                                                                1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                                  Recent photo, slightly retouched so as not to scare the children. SO is on the left..

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Scargod

                                                                                                                                      I've heard that people often select partners that look like themselves. Do you also have a red lab?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: alwayscooking

                                                                                                                                        alwayscooking, that is too funny!

                                                                                                                                        scargod, i was going to welcome you from middle earth! ;-).

                                                                                                                                        1. re: alwayscooking

                                                                                                                                          No, I also have a yellow Lab! I guess they are not allowing me to upload any more pictures. I've tried and it's not happening.

                                                                                                                          2. I am guessing this walk-out was a side-effect of group dynamics gone sidways.

                                                                                                                            The one time I walked out of restaurant (after, being seated, after ordering some sort of beverage) was in Montreal, a Szechuan restaurant on Rue St. Catherine in 1978. And it was a group situation that was rapidly imploding.

                                                                                                                            We were 4 couples with only a desire to ski cheaply in common, in Montreal overnight on our way to the ski hills. The degree of debate on where to eat in advance verged on an argument before we entered this place.

                                                                                                                            It was one of those "well we might as well go here-at least it is close and we are all starving..." In other words, the kind of grudging compromise you make when everyone and no one wants to be the leader.

                                                                                                                            The atmosphere deteriorated by the time the drink order was in and then somebody wanted to know why there was no poutine on the menu (or something equally unlikely). We all looked at eachother and decided this was not going to work and went our separate eatery ways. I think one couple even gave up on the ski trip entirely. My date who was a bit older and more sophisticated plunked down a $20 (which way back then would have been a generous recompense for the time and the table.)

                                                                                                                            Bottom line: only travel with folks you know really well and have a cast-iron strategic plan for restaurant /bar selection.

                                                                                                                            1. A boss that I used to work for took me out a few times. Not once in any of our dinners, did we stay at the first restaurant. She'd be unhappy with where they sat us, it was too loud, too drafty, too inattentive, and so out she'd walk, with me trailing behind like a puppy making "I'm so sorry" looks at all of the waitstaff. Or she'd sit down and be presented the wine list. No barolos (if that's what she was in the mood for), then out we'd walk again, me nip nip nipping at her heels. What's that, they can't make that particular entree an appetizer portion?! We're done here!
                                                                                                                              It was my first job and it paid too well... My current employer has never once taken me out and I look at her lovingly every day for that.

                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                                                Did you work for Miranda Priestly (or whatever the name of that Meryl Streep-y bi@tch from "The Devil wears Prada"?) Funny story and should've been in the movie. As a former owner, it always baffled me the few times people would just up and leave after being seated. Our menu was posted outside and online, but every once in a blue moon... How could you NOT find something you liked out of: a brined porkchop, a steak, a fresh fish, a burger, a vegetarian dish, a pasta, 2 paninis, a duck liver and bacon salad, etc.?
                                                                                                                                I've only walked out of a place once in 46 years and it's because I was ignored for like 20 minutes. Hell-o-o, do I have to set myself on fire here to get a glass of frickin' water?!!

                                                                                                                                1. re: adamshoe

                                                                                                                                  Funny actually, everyone called me when that movie came out because they though it sounded exactly like the stories I had been telling them about my office. I saw it. The movie boss was too nice...

                                                                                                                              2. One weekend morning, I was seated at a local breakfast place known for its pancakes. At the next table, two women were discussing the menu with the server and were incredulous that they did not serve waffles. The waiter apologized and said they did not have waffles on the menu although they may have at some time previous to that.

                                                                                                                                One of the women sat back in her chair, crossed her arms in front of her and loudly stated "Well, I am not interested in anything on this menu." After a few seconds of conferring the women got up and stalked out.

                                                                                                                                This place was not a greasy spoon but was a fairly nice restaurant that also served breakfast. Their food was all very good and not outrageously priced. I can understand jonesin for waflfes, but I found it odd that was the only menu item that could possibly be acceptable.

                                                                                                                                I will say that when I was in recovery for an eating disorder, I had a lot of anxiety around food. There were times when I would walk in and then walk out, but not after being seated and looking at the menu. As a recovered perosn, I don't think i would do that. Like other people, I might leave due to service issues, but not menu items.

                                                                                                                                1. I've gotten up and walked out only once. My favorite middle eastern restaurant changed ownership recently and we went to eat. There were new menus and the first four things we ordered, which were listed on the menu, were not available.

                                                                                                                                  I paid for the drinks and went elsewhere. Maybe they bit off more than they could chew. I would think that if your kitchen could only put out limited items, it would be better not to have printed menus.

                                                                                                                                  The upside is it forced us to try a smaller mom and pop place in the neighborhood which turned out to have excellent food.

                                                                                                                                  1. Occasionally, I have found myself in a place that just wasn't what I wanted, in which case I apologized to the server, left a small tip to compensate for the trouble of seating us, bringing water, and resetting the table, and went to another restaurant. I think, if the customer made the mistake in choosing the restaurant, it would be extremely rude, borderline stealing, not to compensate the staff with a small tip.
                                                                                                                                    On the other hand, if the restaurant seriously misrepresented the options, such as advertising vegetarian meals when they do not actually offer them, the blame falls on the restauranteur and I would leave without guilt.

                                                                                                                                    1. Yes, once at the Mall of America in Minnesota. Saw the menu outside but wasn't really into it while my friend was. Eventually I caved into her, we sat down and the place was dead empty. It was one of these lame upscale American restaurants with like 5 entrees---two fish ,one steak, one chicken, one veg all overpriced. Then when we got in there despite being empty the waitstaff was basically nowhere to be seen. I had planned on ordering a salad but by this time I just got more and more fed up with the idea of eating in this place with no atmosphere, no service and no menu and I just told her I couldn't find anything I wanted the salad seemed less and less appealing in this beige wonderland at the mall. So I told my friend we were leaving and since there was no greeter or waitstaff around, or other diners for that matter...we just walked out.

                                                                                                                                      1. We seem to have moved away from the OP's reason - Menu Options.

                                                                                                                                        So I will continue to go astray. In Miami the more expensive the restaurant the colder they have (maybe that should be 'had' ) the air-conditioning. You would walk in off the street in shorts and a tea-shirt and it's 65. I would always explain to the server that it was far too cold and I was leaving. I didn't do this in brusque fashion, just told them why I was leaving.

                                                                                                                                        We have walked into a couple of restaurants in Toronto and felt all the men staring at my SO. Turn round and leave - just not our place.

                                                                                                                                        Have left on numerous occasion because of a friend's intolerances. (That's food intolerances) They could not guarantee.

                                                                                                                                        And if a resto is borderline acceptable my SO will disappear to the bathroom and then return with the definitive stay or go.

                                                                                                                                        As someone else earlier said...staying somewhere you don't want to be is a lose-lose situation.

                                                                                                                                        1. We have walked out of a Japanese restaurant we'd enjoyed many times before to the point where we didn't really look at the menu because it had been the same since it opened and we knew exactly what we wanted. It was Saturday lunch, we put in our drink orders, and when the waiter comes back to take our orders, we discover that they no longer serve the lunch menu on weekends. You now have to order off the dinner menu for lunch on Saturdays and Sundays.

                                                                                                                                          Since the dinner menu was 50% more for a similar entree and far more food than we wanted for lunch (and it's not like tempure works well as a leftover for me) and they wouldn't serve us the lunch sizes even though we'd been going there for years, we offered to pay for the soft drinks (waiter said we didn't have to since we hadn't actually drunk from them) and walked out.

                                                                                                                                          Haven't been back there since.

                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                          1. re: beachmouse

                                                                                                                                            I don't know about the group the OP was referring to but I have a) had tables walk out on me b) walked out myself.
                                                                                                                                            If i'm in a particular mood for something - eg lamb or salmon - then I must have it, and if the restaurant in question doesn't have that particular dish that night (as expected bc when i'm in these ferocious food moods, i'll check the menu or call ahead) then I'll walk out. And yes, sometimes I'll go to a place and after sitting down realize nothing particularly strikes my fancy, then yes, i've walked out.
                                                                                                                                            Currently, I work in an upscale Vietnamese restaurant (we have menus posted outside and our prices are reasonable-cheap) but I find that we get walkouts from those who can't read the menu and were expecting pictures - we're in the touristy part of town and it happens more than one would expect.

                                                                                                                                          2. In our many years, we've probably done that twice, but always before any order. Maybe there would have been more times, but we tend to read the menu outside, prior to entering, if available. Also, we normally have reservations, and I have researched the restaurant here, or elsewhere, so there are few surprises.


                                                                                                                                            1. Recently, I wish I had! I chose the place because we had to be at the airport in a couple of hours, and I just wanted something quick & near the hotel for a casual farewell dinner with family. This was in San Francisco's Chinatown, was staying at the Hilton. The place in question had new signage advertising Thai and Viet food. I don't usually go for Pan-Asian places, but something for everyone, I figured. Well, 6 of us trooped in and sat down, without a lot of time to change our minds on this one. And they had the shortest menu ever. I am used to endless Vietnamese menus, with several categories (pho, bun etc) and then many variations on each theme... the non-alcoholic drinks menu alone should be at least one page, right? Nope, they had maybe 15 items. One (1) version of Pho. And nothing Thai about it, except for Thai iced tea.
                                                                                                                                              Second warning, no license. But someone had beer at their table (and they were sitting in the window, hmmm). Would we be allowed to go pick up some beer at the convenience store? Nope.
                                                                                                                                              Well, we made the best of it and ordered. The worst Vietnamese food I have ever had, no one was happy with their selection. And, although it was only 7pm, the 5 rice dishes we ordered (remember, not a lot of options), cleaned them out. Of rice, the mainstay of their menu. The next diners to arrive were shocked to hear it, but ordered anyway. Should have warned them their meal would only go downhill from there.

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: julesrules

                                                                                                                                                personal restaurant pet-peeve of mine: even when you look at a menu online or outside, and see maybe one or two things you might like to order (or in my case, as a non-meat eater, CAN order), and then you get inside, seated, and are told upon ordering "oh we don't have that" or "we ran out", and i've had it happen far too many times in similar situations, when it's something that's a mainstay, like pasta, salad greens or what not.

                                                                                                                                              2. They might have seen a bug, or dirty silverware, or maybe something floating in the drinks. I have one gone to a restaurant, and ordered a water, sat down, opened my silverware and noticed my fork was encrusted with old food. My water arrived with lipstick on the glass. It was then I decided that I was not going to eat in a restaurant with such poor sanitation. I left a buck for the server and walked out.

                                                                                                                                                1. No, but I wish we had recently! We were in Birmingham AL, at a new-ish resto called Sweet Bones Alabama (bbq tryin to be upscale). There were 11 in our party, one of whom recently had knee surgery so she can't really stand around waiting for a seat. She called ahead to tell them we were coming, so they could have a table ready for us. They don't take reservations. Anyway, we waited for 45 minutes, thank goodness our friend found a chair. We reviewed the menu while waiting and discovered that the didn't have a sampler platter where you could order 2-3 meats, which is what my husband really prefers at a new-to-us bbq place. We stayed, for the company, but the food was only so-so. My pulled chicken was dried out and had no bbq flavor whatsoever. The ribs were nicely trimmed but there didn't seem to be any rub applied before cooking, and very little sauce served with them. Wish we'd ditched and gone down the road to one of the less fancy bbq places where the food is legit!