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Splitting an entrée: Frugal or cheap?

There was already a recent thread on this subject...this thread is intended to direct you to the link for a story on MSN money.


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  1. This is a non-issue in Westchester, the entrees here aren't large enough to split.

    Plus, they charge so much to split a dish that it is no longer a choice.

    In states that aren't NY, splitting an entree need not be either frugal nor cheap, just a good choice for people who don't eat a lot and don't want to take it home, neither of which I personally understand.

    1 Reply
    1. re: anonymouse1935

      In response to "people who don't eat a lot and don't want to take it home, neither of which I personally understand.":

      Don't want to take it home because 1) not going straight home, 2) will not be home to eat it, 3) doesn't seem like it will be good left over, 4) didn't like it in the first place.

    2. False dichotomy: it has nothing to do with frugality or cheapness. In my case, it's about health. In my 20's, I could put away a 16-oz steak with baked potato and the trimmings no problem; of course, I was playing hockey, squash, softball, touch football, etc. Now I'm in my 50's, diabetic, and out of sports due to foot problems. A filling steak for me now is 5-6 oz, with a small potato and salad. When the smallest steak on the menu is 12 oz, and we have plans for the rest of evening that don't involve carrying around half our dinners, splitting an entree makes perfect sense. We still get to enjoy different appetizers (which we share), and we'll even split the dessert. Makes for a better night out for us, without a feeling that we're wasting food.

      Oh, and it does let us dine out more frequently, which I think would be considered a boost to the restaurant sector.

      4 Replies
          1. re: FrankD

            We do the same Frank but for different reasons.

            We'll quite often order a few apps. that appeal to us and then split the entree. We sometimes will order one app and split two entrees. It's all about variety with us. We like to try as much stuff as we can.


          2. I wish more places would do "petite entrees" where they give you smaller portions that are a few dollars less. It's not a significant cost difference, maybe $2-$3 per entree, but I don't want all that food and often can't take it with me. And, I don't have to worry about finding someone who wants the same thing as I do. I hate food waste.

            1 Reply
            1. re: chowser

              Sometimes restaurants can't win for losing...Shokolaat, a stylish restaurant in our area, offered only apps and small entrees but there were so many complaints from patrons who wanted large entrees that they just recently did just that, with an increase of a few dollars per entree. It's too bad they didn't get more support for their original concept.

            2. As other posters indicated, it has nothing to do with the cost. Sometimes I just can't eat an entire entree myself and no I don't want to take it home. There's so much talk about being less wasteful yet you're forced to used a huge entree, multiple courses and drinks etc. My frustration is when they insist on splitting the dish for you and charging you extra for the sides (yes there's more veggies, fries..........) just give me a plate so I can diffy it up myself. Again, don't give me more than I need.

              1 Reply
              1. re: gourmet wife

                I agree about portion size, but I'm more sympathetic to the restaurant on the subject of a charge for splitting. In a fine dining restaurant, presentation is a significant element of the meal. To take a single well-plated dish (entree with sides) and then just scrape half of it onto another plate is an understandable abomination to a good chef.

                A proper kitchen will divide and properly plate both halves, and yes, as you say, often will top up the amount of side veggies to boot. It's perfectly appropriate to charge for that (usually no more than $5 extra, in my experience).

              2. For me it is about being able to sample more food! Normally if I have a main course I"m done. I am too full for anything else. But if I share an appy, a main, and a dessert I get to try way more dishes!! Makes eating out more fun when you get to sample more of the chefs creations.

                1 Reply
                1. As others have said, cheapness isn't the only, or even main, reason for splitting an entree.

                  For a lot of US restaurants I physically can't eat a full entree. Trying to will make me feel ill for the rest of the evening, and learning to do so would make me weigh 300 lbs. You can't always take it home - I'm not lugging an aromatic package of leftover food to the movie theatre and out to the bar afterwards. And there are some dishes that just don't work as leftovers (like deep fried food).

                  Even for places where I can physically finish a main course, sometimes it's nice to actually partake in an appetizer or a dessert for a change, rather than only having the appetizer.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                    Exactly so. And we always order a bottle of good wine to go with the food. The issue is capacity, not frugality.

                  2. Let's play devil's advocate and say that a couple on a budget wants to try a new restaurant. The portions are large enough for dsplitting, the kitchen and management are willing to do this and therefore the couple on a budget can enjoy the craft of the chef and the atmosphere of the dining experience.

                    That sounds like a wonderful way to spend an evening with a loved one. And the naysayers come out of the all and call them cheap. Jfood calls them creative foodlovers who are living within their means. Go get 'em guys.


                    1. Agree with many others. It is not about money. It is about health. I'm in my 60s and at this age we certainly do not need the portions that most (even high-end) restaurants serve. The problem is that you feel 'guilty' when splitting because it is viewed as being cheap. This misconception is captured in the title -- let's rename it to Splitting an entree: overweight or good health?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: SES

                        You should not feel guilty. You're doing what you feel is in your best interest.

                        Secondly, you proposed "New" title is also misleading. I fall into neither your title or the OP title. What about "Splitting Entrees. Your Feelings."


                      2. My DH and I split entrees all the time..are we frugal or cheap..I call it 'thrifty'..but that's not for the split.
                        I like to order app's with cocktails and then we split a bottle of wine and an entree with a salad..sometimes a dessert split too.