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Apr 27, 2009 07:59 AM

Apps and Entrees At The Same Time? NO!

Sorry if this rant has been discussed before, but I have to ask fellow CH'ers what you do when you JUST started to dig in to your appetizer and the entree arrives. Then, the obligatory shuffling of plates on the table happens, and you're stuck picking off of both your app and entree plate.
How hard is it to fire the entree later, rather than at just about the same time as the appetizer? Isn't it obvious that I've just BARELY touched my first plate of food, when another arrives?
Recently, I've placed my app and entree orders at the same time, and twice wound up eating off multiple plates. One time, I ordered a Caesar salad and forked it twice when our pizza came. I wound up eating a bit of pizza, a bit of salad. This weekend, my DH and I split an app of pick n' peel shrimp (large, warm and delicious). Sure enough, not 5 minutes went by when our main dishes arrive. This time, I just pushed the shrimp aside and had them boxed up to take home. In no way is peeling shrimp, then taking a bite of a pulled pork sandwich appealing. For the record, both times we just sucked it up, didn't send anyting back, and didn't ding the server on the tip. But I felt like it!
My question is-How often do you send the entree back when it arrives while you are trying to enjoy an app? Do you (as I sometimes do..well, many times) intentionally tell the server you app order and wait to give your main order later to avoid eating two dishes at the same time?

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  1. I don't think I have ever sent the entree back when it has happened to me. But then, the only times this has happened are at places like chains or lower end places, never at what I consider a good restaurant. So, I figure, I can't expect any better. It is very annoying, not so much with a salad app, because I don't mind having it with the entree, but with hot apps or a shared app platter, I hate it. I feel like I am being rushed out of the restaurant, or the waiter can't wait to get on his break.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Sooeygun

      I agree. That's why I didn't send the entrees back as the restaurants were nice, lower end establishments where it doesn't shock me when it happens. I truly don't expect poor timing in higher end pllces.

      1. re: monavano

        And you are correct, in my book, to expect better pacing at higher-end places.


    2. I don't think I've ever sent anything back. I've really only seen it happen in business lunch places where there is a lunch special. In many cases the appetizers will come out before you even order, but in other cases they come out at the same time. It doesn't really bother me because I don't typically want to spend more than 45 minutes having lunch on a workday.

      1. we order apps first and then keep one menu. after the apps are delivered and the waitperson returns and does the obligatory "how is everything?" we then order our mains.

        this has saved us a few times when based on the apps we either bailed or ordered different mains.

        sometimes we tell our server to hold-fire on the mains until we're ready.

        1. if it's a pet peeve and keeps happening, then it's your responsibility to be pro-active. tell the server not to fire the main until you're either done with your app or you give the go-ahead. tell them you're not in a rush.

          no, i have never sent food back.

          most times they either assume you're in a hurry, or want to turn the table. they could, of course, be less than superstar servers, but hey, at a pizza joint, dial back your expectations, ya know? i've also worked for chefs who fire the food when they WANT to -regardless of when i've done it, or at what pace the guest is actually eating.

          i don't like ordering the main after i've finished the 1st course. it generally creates more of a lag between than i like, and i also don't want the server having to make too many trips over. i'm enjoying my meal and the dining companions. i don't want the server hovering for an order.

          3 Replies
          1. re: hotoynoodle

            "they could, of course, be less than superstar servers, but hey, at a pizza joint, dial back your expectations, ya know?"

            Well, no. I was at a local Toronto tavern which features a small window where you can order Zane Caplansky's fantastic smoked meat. I ordered the meal - borscht, coleslaw, and the sandwich. The waitress quickly brought my borscht and slaw, but let me work on them until nearly done. When she saw I was almost finished my soup, I heard her tell the slicers to start the sandwich. The result: I got to enjoy my soup without being rushed, still had a bit of slaw to enjoy with the sandwich, and thoroughly enjoyed everything. I don't think you have to lower your expectations unless it's a fast food place.

            1. re: KevinB

              i'm not saying it's impossible to get great service in a place with moderate check averages. in fact, i'm often pleasantly surprised, but moreso when i leave my home city of boston. as i mentioned down-thread, most servers here in lower-end places are students and very inexperienced servers. the pool here is far too shallow for the number of restaurants.

              1. re: hotoynoodle

                I feel your pain. When I lived in Richmond, Va, it seemed like most servers were college students and I lowered my standards. The DC area has a better pool for servers, and frankly, a large portion of the population with a sense of entitlement ;-)

          2. My expectations, regardless of the level of the restaurant, is for common sense to prevail and not have an entree set down when clearly, 90% of my app is not eaten yet.. To me, being proactive is my general approach, but I do sense that it is going to be more work for the server to take my order in pieces-so I try to be accomodating and make my mind up and give my full order. I just don't appreciate when that strategy comes back to bite me in the arse.

            2 Replies
            1. re: monavano

              i've been in hospitality forever. i also live in boston and the pool of professional servers is very small. most are college students making spare cash, so i never assume they have experience, common sense or any true sense of timing. this is mostly true in mid-tier or lower end spots. for example, when i am at bertucci's they never know what the heck they are doing, so i'm very clear: please don't fire my pizza til i finish my salad. works every time.

              1. re: hotoynoodle

                My sense is that I should assume the worst and order app and main in a staggered fashion. I feel really bad if I send something back, but it detracts from my dining experience to eat two dishes at once.