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Jun 16, 2009 05:53 AM

Pet Peeve: Salad Fork Not Provided

I am really annoyed with the lack of salad forks in mid-priced restaurants. I am not interested in eated my main course with a fork that is: 1-dinner sized, 2:had salad dressing in it.

When asking the server for a salad fork, I have told either that: we don't have them, or management instructs that they not be set on the table.

A few times, I have dropped the fork on the floor after the salad course in irder to get the server to provide a clean fork for the main course.

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  1. LoL. Thanks for the chuckle. You remind me of my 12 year old niece who throughout dinner sometimes will go through about 3 or 4 forks, knives, spoons, etc. in relation to what they've 'touched'. Nice to know that she'll probably never grow out of it...!!! But I think at a restaurant you should get (within reason) the amount and type of cutlery you're asking for. Maybe you need to re-think the restaurants you dine in? I've never had this problem. (Oh, and you probably don't have to actually 'drop' your fork, you can just tell your server it dropped and you need a new one...they're probably not watching you that close).

    15 Replies
    1. re: Greekfood Koukla

      I'll leave this one for the *Green* police to defend.

      1. re: Greekfood Koukla

        Dropping the fork on the floor was only done after the server refused a request for a clean fork for the entree.

        Also, often I don't have the choice of restaurant for a business meal. In the current economy, companies are trading down to cut expenses. One client who always hosts has switched from Ruth's Chris and Morton's to the Ruby Tuesday's level.

        Unlike the three or four year old who doesn't want a utensil that touched something, a salad fork is not the same size as a dinner fork. Just having a second fork is nioce, but not the same thing.

        A simialr annoyance is being served soup with a teaspoon, not a soupspoon. I've already given up on the hope that most non-elegant restaurants would have both cream soup and tablespoons for soup. Then again, most diners don't know the difference.

        1. re: bagelman01

          "Dropping the fork on the floor was only done after the server refused a request for a clean fork for the entree."

          wow, lol, kind of passive-aggressive? if i were your server, i would not have gone out of my to help you. sorry.

          when your hosts are dialing down from $100 pp dinners to $20 pp dinners, try to put that in perspective for restaurants. lost silverware is a huge expense. budget may be busted for the month and there simply is no money to replace missing salad forks. to set tables consistently or to reduce loss, diners get one fork, one knife. same angle for the soup spoons you so desire. this also means less washing to be done.

          chances are the servers denying you aren't being churlish. they're following management directives. cut them some slack.

          i've never eaten at a ruby tuesdays. but if i did, i would not be expecting asparagus knives and fish forks.

          as to the comment below about guests and silver? lmao.

          i have seen people try to eat steak with a cocktail fork, use a steak knife for buttering bread instead of the butterknife that is on their breadplate, eat mashed potato off a knife and drink wine directly out of the bottle. i've seen them wipe their mouths on the tablecloth instead of the napkin on their laps. i could go on... lol.

          1. re: hotoynoodle

            wow, lol, kind of passive-aggressive? if i were your server, i would not have gone out of my to help you. sorry.

            Then if you were MY server then you would have gotten NO tip. It is the servers job to serve. If a patron asks for another fork it is your job to provide it...without excuses.

            ...and there simply is no money to replace missing salad forks. to set tables consistently or to reduce loss, diners get one fork, one knife. same angle for the soup spoons you so desire. ..

            What a bunch of bunk!!! Who said anything about "lost silverware"? We're talking about a fork that is in inventory and will be returned when the dinner is over. If I were refused a new fork, I would, and have, dropped mine on the floor as well. To not provide an extra fork or spoon when requested is poor service and just plain cheap. Maybe that why the place is "struggling." Try providing better service.

            this also means less washing to be done.

            Oh, PHULEEZE!! If every diner asked for an extra fork it might result in one extra run of the dishwasher. Hardly enough for the place to file Chapter 7 over.

            1. re: al b. darned

              by lost silverware, i meant stuff that winds up carelessly in the trash or wherever. i didn't mean in your pocket. if the place says they don't have salad forks, then they don't have salad forks. you have no idea how stuff like spoons, cocktail forks, butterknives, etc. simply vanish.

              i too was raised with proper table manners and would prefer separate forks for my app and my main. however, if that doesn't happen, i don't get all worked up about it. i figure it's policy of the place, and since my fork has only been used *by me* i'm not all hot and bothered and dropping my flatware on the floor like a baby so i get my way.

              i realize there is no intonation on the internet. but both yhou and the op sound rather hostile. if that's how you treat service staff, than i can understand them not wanting to help you.

              maybe i'm reading you wrong. i hope so.

              1. re: hotoynoodle

                First of all I never said I wanted a "salad fork." If the restaurant doesn't have real salad forks, another diner fork is fine, but I want a fresh fork for the new course. Likewise, I want a new fork for dessert. If my spoon was used for the entrée or whatever, I want a clean one for my coffee. I do it at home and I expect it when I eat out.

                As I said in my post earlier today, this is one of my hard and fast rules, and not an unreasonable one, IMO. Restaurants have lots of forks, spoons, etc, and it takes only a couple of minutes for a dishwasher cycle.

                I'm not hostile when asking for a new utensil nor do I cause a scene, and the majority of the time the request is filled with a smile.

                1. re: hotoynoodle

                  You could not be more wrong. I spent years in the food service industry. I have cooked, waited tables, tended bar and managed. I am friendly towards servers, understand when the kitchen and/or management is too blame as well.
                  BUT, lazy is lazy....
                  It doesn't take much to say, 'I'm sorry we don't have salad forks, but I'd be happy to get you another clean fork.
                  I wouldn't use a fork that was in a garlic salad dressing, to then eat a delicate entree. Just cleaning the fork off, doesn't mask the odor, it needs to be washed in scalding water.
                  I cleanse my palate after such an appetizer course, it is not my job as a paying patron to cleanse the flatware.

                  It is the stupid answers by wait staff that infuriate me, or worse, when there is no response.

              2. re: hotoynoodle

                Not passive-aggressive at all. In fact it is a perfectly reasonable request.

                Each course has fresh plates and fresh utensils. Ifthe server does not respond to a simple request what should someone do? This should be expected from the low-high restaurants and jfood agrees that it is non-negotiable. BTW - when jfood switches from coke to water he expects a new glass as well.

                And if the server feels so inclined to act as you suggest in para 2, well we all know which way the tippo is going.

                1. re: jfood

                  ok, so clearly i'm crazy to think that purposely dropping flatware on the floor to get one's way is unacceptable behavior for an adult. an action the op admits doing more than once. i stand corrected.

                  making reasonable polite requests is not what i was responding to. i'm obviously the only one bothered by grown-ups acting like entitled a**hats.

                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                    But if the OP made a reasonable request for a fork as he/she said they did and the waiter refused, I really can't blame him/her for responding by finding another way to get one. To me it's the waiter acting like an entitle a$$hat by refusing and expecting a tip.

                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                      You are NOT crazy. It is completely inappropriate. If a server refuses a fresh piece of silverware, then politely speak to whoever is running the show that night, and vote with your dollars next time. But dropping stuff is just childish. If you want traditional fine dining, go pay for it.

                2. re: bagelman01

                  Last Friday night the jfoods were eating dinner on the water and major screw-up in apps. Calimari and salad ordered. Brought jfood's calamari and no salad. Jfood munched slowly on the cali and no sight of the server. Turns out mrs jfood's salad was never entered. It came 10 minutes after jfood was done with the cali. Two bites into her salad, the entrees (pasta and seafood types) arrived...jfood told the server to take it back. Server returned 3/4 through salad with same bowls...nope, jfood told server to tell kitchen to remake the dish not keep under the heat lamps. As soon as salad was over the third try at the pasta arrived. As jfood stared at it he thought of your drop the fork of the floor idea.

                  No he did not, but called server over, explained what happened was not the jfoods' fault and either remake thepastas or game over. Two new pastas were prepared and delivered. And with no broken plates.

                  1. re: jfood

                    About 10 years ago, I had a similar experience at Pasta Plus in Cheshire. The serer brought the main before the soup. My ex wife told the server to take the main away, as she wanted her soup, and to bring a fresh main after the soup.

                    Needless to say, the server brought back the same main which had sat 20 minutes under a heat lamp. My ex refused to accept it and tgold the server that she expected a fresh main. The server informed us that the owner refused to make a fresh main just because my ex insisted on eating the soup she ordered before the main. Quote: "You can't expect me to lose money on your meal, just because we forgot the soup." Instead, he lost a customer who ate their 3 times a month (my ex, not me), and she badmouthed the place all over. Problem was, the rare steak appiziola was now shoe leather after all that time under the heat lamp.
                    We got up and walked, the owner chased us to the car........
                    My ex said that if he refused to serve what was ordered and in the order they should be served he could stick the whole meal.
                    I had tipped the server for her failed efforts.

                    My ex was very pleased when the place folded. Later she worked as the accountant for a restaurant chain. The basta*d who refused the fresh main, came in to interview for a manager's position. My ex made sure he did not get the job.

                    1. re: bagelman01

                      "My ex was very pleased when the place folded. Later she worked as the accountant for a restaurant chain. The basta*d who refused the fresh main, came in to interview for a manager's position. My ex made sure he did not get the job."

                      It's heartwarming stories like this that make my day. :-)

                  2. re: bagelman01

                    So you asked for a fork and the server said "no"? And that was that?

                    And I don't think "non-elegant" restaurants should be expected to have both types of soup spoons. They do have to buy these things, you know? And are you being a little supercilious with the comment "most diners don't know the difference"? Eye brow delicately arched :)

                3. my pet peeve which is similar is the lack of butter knives. I do not want to use a huge dinner knife to butter my roll and then re use it on the main dish plus a regular knife is too big.

                  1. My pet peeve has more to do with bathroom facilities. I don't mean the obvious -cleanliness and well-stocked - I mean number of toilets vs. number of customers.
                    One of our favorite breakfast places in Santa Monica used to be only one room. There was one single-toilet bathroom each for men and women. Then the restaurant opened a patio and, about a year later, takes over the space next door, but could only provide the same two toilets for all these new tables.
                    We never go there during busy times because I know I'll be spending my time in line for the bathroom. (Yes, I've gone ahead and used the men's room, since it has a lock, but I really do hate to have to choose between experiencing the men's room or having an accident).

                    1. My main pet peeve is white napkins that cover my lap with lint. Is it that hard to provide a dark napkin or at least a light napkin that doesn't shed like there is no tomorrow? None of these places seem to offer a lint roller, so you walk out looking pretty disreputable.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: queencru

                        OMG So funny you should bring this up. I was dining with friends and a very nice steak house. You know, the kind where they put the napkin in your lap for you. The places at the table were all set with standard white napkins. As we were seated, the host flicked the napkins with a flourish and draped them in our laps. Then he got to my friend that had on very nice black pants. Without missing a beat, he popped the white napkin from the table, did a little snap and flourish and the napkin he draped in her lap was BLACK!!! We were all impressed.

                        And, PS I have never had a request for a clean fork denied!

                      2. As a server my pet peeve is people who don't use the salad fork. You'd be surprised how many people use their bread plate for their appetizers and ignore the share plates and use the entree fork for the appetizers or salads. Of course, I just replace the unused salad fork with the entree fork for the next course.