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Mar 3, 2010 02:56 PM

Would you like some fresh ground pepper?

Hope that this is the right board for this thread.

How often have you been asked this when served a salad at a restaurant? It seems to be fairly common at nicer restaurants; I guess they don't want to put salt and pepper shakers on the table but still want to offer their diners pepper, and it seems classier to grind it for them on the spot.

I suppose when it is a "normal" salad, you might know the answer to the question. But the other day I was served a chicken salad appetizer at a nice restaurant for Denver Restaurant Week, and was asked this question. My response at the time was "no", but it occurred to me that I didn't really know the answer yet. I hadn't had a chance to taste the salad.

How do you answer this question? Tell the server "I don't know yet, come back in 2 minutes"?

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  1. "Would you like some fresh ground pepper?"
    My answer is always "I have no idea if I want pepper until I've tasted my food". Sometimes the server departs (and I may have to flag him/her later) and other times the server waits until I give an answer after my first bite.

    I think this is an idiotic question and I treat it as such.

    I'm in Phoenix and two of my favorite places (T.Cooks and noca) do not do this. A well-trained waitstaff knows better than to ask this silly question so use it as a guide.

    FYI: pepper mills on the table have a tendency to "walk" out the door so there aren't a lot of these around. It's a shame but this is a fact of life.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Sherri

      But isn't that weird to be forced to take your first bite with the waiter standing there watching? I'd feel awkward.

      1. re: tatamagouche

        Is it any different than tasting the wine?

        1. re: c oliver

          Somehow, yeah. For me it is. It occurs to me I always wait until the waiter has left the table to take my first bite. I guess I've never been conscious of that before.

      2. re: Sherri

        My restaurant keeps grinders on the tables. I find they're less likely to walk now, since you can get one at your local supermarket for $1.89.

      3. im asked almost everytime i dine at an italian restaurant.

        1. Ah the great cracked pepper debate. This was explored by The Chaser in Australia :)

          You are not the only one with the cracked pepper problems...

          1. I am tempted to say I want it on the side, but usually just play along and say yes or no based on my best prediction of whether it might be needed.

            Actually when I do want the pepper, occasionally I tell the server I would like it thickly ground. I don't think I ever got that fulfilled even once.

            1. My answer: "Why, did the chef forget?"