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Sep 22, 2009 09:05 PM

Why let a roach spoil a perfectly good meal?

Tonight, I didn't have the heart to tell my wife about the small roach that was crawling on the wall several inches away from her jacket-covered shoulder.

We were at an excellent Thai restaurant for the second time (which shall remain unnamed), really enjoying the food. About 3/4 through the meal, I noticed the little bugger on the wall paneling.

We kept talking, I kept noticing it moving around, wondering if my wife was going to catch on... but she didn't.

Do I tell her about it and freak her out, knowing that she'd never want to return? The last time we saw a roach in a Westchester restaurant -- and it was definitely much bigger than this one -- my wife refused to go back for years.

Or do I say nothing to her and enjoy the final 10 minutes of the meal, knowing that we could return sometime in the near future and enjoy another great meal there.

The waitress came by a couple of times and there' was no way she missed our crawling friend, but she said nothing. She was probably hoping we wouldn't notice too.

I decided I liked this restaurant too much to say anything, so with great willpower, we left without a ripple.

What would you have done in my shoes?

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  1. I would have told her because if there are roaches I assume that the restaurant has some serious problems with cleanliness and I am not sure if I wanted to return to such a restaurant. I would always wondering how dirty their kitchen might be.

    1. Well, I occasionally see a roach in my house. I bet many of you do, too.

      They are emphatically NOT always a sign of problems with cleanliness. If your town has a competent restaurant inspection program, you likely have nothing to worry about.

      Your reaction was correct. A million things could have driven an errant roach into that dining room. And every one of us has actually **eaten** bug parts in grain, legume and nut products within the past week.

      in "How to Play With Your Food," Penn and Teller recount eating in the Japanese restaurant in their NYC office building. I believe it was Teller who bit into a tempura-something, only to find a STILL-LIVING roach struggling out of the batter.

      "We still eat there," the anecdote ends.

      2 Replies
      1. re: dmd_kc

        I found it excerpted!

        It was Penn, and I got the ending a little wrong. Still. Heh.

        1. re: dmd_kc

          eww...that made me gag!

          I saw a roach recently in a great Mexican place and i too kept my mouth shut!
          My companions would have freaked!

      2. I actually told my husband not to tell me if he sees a bug. I don't want to know. Then again, roaches in Phoenix sort of seem to come with the territory. It's a hot desert - they love it here. The only exception for me would be an upscale restaurant. For some reason, I would not be as forgiving as I am with the Chinese dive down the street from us (where I have seen a roach and have since returned many times!).

        1. I've seen half bitten worms after I took bites of my guava or apples. They're pretty harmless.
          The thing is with roaches, they walk around and collect bits of what ever they walk in on their legs which can be then transferred to food. Its different from having roaches in your own house, as you would obviously zap the lil bugger!
          But to say that the waitress noticed, wonder if the chef noticed it walking on a filet steak, are they going to throw the steak out or just shoo it off and cook the steak after?
          In the end, I would not go back to the restaurant, and I would complain!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Soyabean

            You do realize that for every roach you actually see in your house, there are probably tens more in the walls you can't see. Zapping the one isn't going to do anything to get rid of the others. I do agree that I would mention to the restaurant that I saw a roach, but that doesn't necessarily mean I would not return. As many have already mentioned, roaches are not necessarily a sign that a place is dirty. I'm in Florida where roaches are just a given. Many homeowners have regular pest control service that comes around, but roaches and other critters still remain a problem. If a restaurant is in a multi-unit dwelling, it's a bit harder to avoid roaches if you're next to a business that doesn't care to do regular pest control. As vigilant as the restaurant is, the roaches are just going to go into a different part of the building that isn't treated.

          2. A few years ago I was in the same situation dining with a co-worker while traveling for work. We were in a well-known seafood restaurant near the beach, it was a hot day, and roaches just come with the territory. The roach was crawling along the wall behind my co-worker, several feet away. I didn't say anything during the meal b/c I didn't want to cause a disruption for our table or anyone else, but I did tell her when we got to the car. She said it wouldn't keep her from going back, but she was glad I hadn't mentioned it during the meal.