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have u run into this in high end restaurants? (la grenouille in this instance)

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Went to La Grenouille last night. Food was fantastic. Went with the lobster ravioli - decadently rich butter sauce - wonderful chunks of lobster - partner had the mushroom risotto - he loved it. We both got the dover sole with mustard sauce - as delicious as everyone says - and we finished with two souffles - I had the pistachio (divine) my partner the chocolate (he loved it - I preferred mine - which makes for a more enjoyable dinner anyway <g>).

My issue - I eat smaller meals throughout the day and I knew it was a lot of food for me (in one sitting) so I only ate about 1/2 my dove sole - When I asked if I could take the remainder home - knowing I had a souffle coming - the table captain - gave a smile and shook his head "no".

Is it the rule at high end restaurants that taking ones uneaten food home is prohibitive? Would a small discreet container disrupt the floral arrangements (which were gorgeous an added a wonderful fragrance to the entire dining experience). I wish I had respectfully pushed the issue - it's Sat. morning and I would love to be looking forward to some sole for lunch. Instead it ended up in some trash can.

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La Grenouille
3 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

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  1. I have never heard of this.

    1. I think the waiter was just being snotty.
      Of course, there is likely something I don't know about the situation.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Tripeler

        Well, there turned out to be something I didn't know.
        Still, the waiter should have offered some kind of explanation, using some tact.

      2. I would not ask for a doggie bag in a high end place. I think it's not very appropriate. Not to be a snob, though, but that's how I feel.

        16 Replies
        1. re: grouchomarx

          Curious groucho, why do you think it is inappropriate?

          1. re: debbiel

            I guess I feel that way for the same reasons that restaurants of a certain caliber have dress requirements - it's one of those things that can add to or subtract from the ambience of a very nice place. It would be weird to see people eating at say, Daniel, and carrying out leftovers, wouldn't it? But after reading the resolutio of the story, it makes me think, am I being too uptight?? Maybe!

            1. re: grouchomarx

              Yep.

              1. re: grouchomarx

                Okay. Interesting in that the dress thing can really detract for me, but I don't think the doggie bag would. I think I see it as an issue of not wasting food, and that makes me feel good about people.

                1. re: grouchomarx

                  maybe you could sneak around to the service entrance and they could quietly slip it to you in the dark of night.

                  seriously though, a high class restaurant should be able to find a way to elegantly prepare doggy bags. this seems more like a place that is trying to create an intentional snooty reputation 'our food is too good to allow it to be used as leftovers" bah.

                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                    Back in the dark ages, "fancy" places would put the leftovers in a foil pack that they would then shape like a swan :)

                    1. re: c oliver

                      hey, i remember those dark ages!

                      last time i ate at the venerable institution in d.c. -- the prime rib -- they did the foil swan for leftovers.

                      1. re: alkapal

                        They do that at the local Commander's Palace as well.

                      2. re: c oliver

                        Actually had that happen recently, in a diner of all places.

                        1. re: Jasz

                          I love it.

                    2. re: grouchomarx

                      My daughter and I had dinner at Babbo in NYC a couple of months ago, and she asked to take home her unfinished pasta dish. The server cleared the table and came back with a small card that looked like a coat check ticket. When we left the restaurant we stopped at the coat check area and picked up her wrapped up leftovers.

                      1. re: CindyJ

                        What a great solution. Very classy, too.

                        1. re: CindyJ

                          That's brilliant!

                        2. re: grouchomarx

                          I wish I was wealthy enough to throw $100s of dollars worth of food down the garbage shoot.

                          1. re: chazfitzm1

                            It has nothing to do with wealth. Waste is the word.

                      2. re: grouchomarx

                        I had a birthday dinner at Jean-Georges and the waiter noticed that I had not finished my meal and he offered to wrap it up for me.
                        I was hugely impressed that they do not bring the bag to the table, they actually hold it for you and someone hands you the bag litterally just as you are exiting the restaurant!

                        Now that is class!

                      3. Totally unacceptable in my book. I would have complained to the manager.

                        1. I just called La Grenouille - thanks to my fellow chowhounders confirming this was a bit unorthodox. Thank Buddha I did. I talked with a manager and feel 100% better about it. It was explained to me that the restaurant lost an arbitration where a diner took home some fish and then got sick - it was deemed since their license was not a caterer they were liable. And given yesterday was so hot there were uncomfortable with diners taking home fish. I really do feel so much better for asking. It was a very pleasant conversation and more importantly - I really like La Grenouille and now look forward to going back.

                          -----
                          La Grenouille
                          3 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

                          20 Replies
                          1. re: calconscious

                            Good job, this makes perfect sense now that it was fully explained.

                            1. re: bookhound

                              It does, but shouldnt the waiter have attempted some explanation?

                              Though perhaps hearing someone got food poisening from them might not be the best thing to hear after having just eaten there....
                              but still there must be something tactful to say in that instance...

                            2. re: calconscious

                              Are all restaurants in New York that do takeout in addition to dine-in required to have a catering licence? That seems a little unusual, I think they should have got a better lawyer.

                              That said, if you weren't in a position put it in the fridge right away I agree it was probably safer not to take it home.

                              1. re: calconscious

                                so, if you had asked to take home the mushroom risotto it would have been fine? Or not?

                                If they really can't allow any take out because they don't have a catering license, than it is completely irrelevant whether it was fish or not. In that regard, it is highly unlikely that the person complaining could present good evidence that it was the fish that made them sick, or even if it was, that it was the restaurant's fault: person could have left the fish in the trunk of their car. In other words, if their license won't allow take out, the type of food doesn't matter: either you can take something home, or you can't.

                                So, it still sounds a little unusual to me, but then arbitration sounds a little unusual too (as for the not-so-good lawyer, it is quite possible in an arbitration that there wasn't a lawyer). Sorry, but while I am no expert on food law in NY I am a little skeptical of the restaurant's answer. I also think it is not unusual for a restaurant to use liability as a reason when they are up against a wall and don't want to admit someone screwed up.

                                All that said, as I say, I am no expert. Moreover, it does sound like you ordered rather rich (but delicious!) dishes. Had it been me, I would have thanked the manager for the information, and tell him that based on that and the serving size, you will plan to share one entree next time. Would be interesting to see how the server reacted to that as a solution.

                                1. re: susancinsf

                                  Yeah, that explanation sounds totally contrived, if not bogus, to me.

                                  What about all those pizza joints? What if I order food to go?

                                  Not to get too technical or legal on this, but if a diner were to ask for a partially eaten meal to be packaged and eaten later on at home, I would assume the doctrine of assumption of the risk would apply -- e.g., in other words the diner assumes any risk from eating the leftovers. Just as well, the "average reasonable person" would be expected to know how to heat up leftover foods, and to discard spoiled ones. And finally, after taking the food out of the restaurant and home, the chain of causation would be broken.

                                  So, to summarize, there is (1) no duty by the restaurant in this instance; (2) and even if there were any duty, there is no proxiimate cause between the restaurant's preparation in the food and any potential food sickness; and finally even if there were such a duty and causation was somehow established, the affirmative defense of "assumption of the risk" would apply.

                                  Just random musings on a Saturday afternoon ... :-)

                                2. re: calconscious

                                  the server could easily have explained this at the time.

                                  1. re: calconscious

                                    crummy lawyer. dumb arbitrator.

                                    1. re: alkapal

                                      IF that's the true story, you're spot-on, alkapal.
                                      I've thought about this the past few days, and really think it may be a snow job- sounds good but smells bad, like seafood gone bad. :-)

                                      1. re: EWSflash

                                        I'm 100% convinced that it's a bs made-up story.

                                        1. re: buttertart

                                          yep == a spin job!

                                          1. re: alkapal

                                            OK, who will be the first to visit La G. ask for a doggie bag, call them out on their story, then report back? Inquiring minds want to know.....

                                            1. re: PattiCakes

                                              patticakes, we used to have a "team" to take care of problems like this, and it involved beach chick, yaya dave, c oliver, linda whit and myself. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/589079

                                              a certain item of sporting equipment was featured in our repertoire of negotiating techniques. ;-). <no, no, not THIS kind of bat: http://www.clevescene.com/images/blog... >. <..or MAYbe it is...... (since he's already there in new york) http://a.abcnews.com/images/US/ht_bat... >.

                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                Wow, I hadn't thought of that thread in a long time. I DO believe that being "proactice" as they say has at the very least great therapeutic benefits.

                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                  there were some great lines in that thread. i liked "mooch and hooch" as the perpetrators' names. i wonder how it has turned out longer-term for janet from richmond....

                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                    Yeah, I think we need an update.

                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                      I reread basically all of it. I must say I'm a fan of the c oliver as Bruno slash and burn take no prisoners this conversation is over approach.

                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                        If we could change our screen names like we can our avatars, I would definitely include Bruno.

                                                  2. re: alkapal

                                                    Oh, I had forgotten about the M & H thread! That was one my all-time faves, although I was a lurker & not a participant. Seeing Sam's posts, especially the poem, did bring me up a little short, however (in "bless-his-heart-we-do-miss-you" good way).

                                                    Beware of chowzers armed with Slap-chops!

                                        2. re: calconscious

                                          That makes sense, although it's another example of how Lawyer's are ruining the world.

                                          1. re: chazfitzm1

                                            lawyers do not make the laws. nor are they the ones doing the suing.

                                            i want lawyers to do my maw work like i want doctors to do my medical work.

                                            it's what theyre for

                                        3. I've never come across this - but then, in Europe, it's not our custom to ever take away uneaten food.

                                          18 Replies
                                          1. re: Harters

                                            in europe you tend to have more reasonably sized servings

                                            1. re: Harters

                                              Europe is a big place. It's not a custom for all of Europe to take away leftover? That's news to me.

                                              1. re: PeterL

                                                I can, of course, only speak about those countries where I have a reasonable experience of restaurant dining and can be confident in saying that it is not the usual custom. These would be Belgium, Cyprus,France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland & United KIngdom.

                                                I'd be interested to know of other European countries where the usual custom is to follow the North American pattern of regularly taking away leftovers.

                                                1. re: Harters

                                                  I have never had any trouble having left overs bagged to go in "Europe". That's not saying it's different from what you said. I have no idea whether it's a custom or not.

                                                  1. re: PeterL

                                                    Ah. Thanks for the clarification. FWIW, whilst I've often seen leftovers being taken away in America, I've never seen it in the countries I mentioned which is why I assume that it is not the custom there. I don't make the assumption for the UK, which is where I live - it isnt the custom here and asking for food to be bagged would get you some very strange looks. Of course, politeness would mean that a place would probably do it if a foreigner, unused to our way, asked for it.

                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                      I agree with you Harters, it would be a very strange request to take home leftovers in the UK. I am not saying people don't do it but most restaurants would not even have the containers to wrap leftovers in. Whenever I used to ask to take the bone or leftover meat home for my dog it would be wrapped in some foil.
                                                      Brits and other Europeans do not ask for doggie bags. If you don't finish your food you just leave it. Of course portions are not as big as in the USA.

                                                      1. re: smartie

                                                        It's definitely been a while since you've been here in the UK, then. I think portions seem massive-- and it seems to be a relatively widespread phenomenon (like me-- after eating said portions).

                                                        Also interesting is that I was recently at a restaurant where they offered to box up my left overs. I wasn't expecting that, but can't say I was bothered.

                                                        1. re: Lizard

                                                          You seem to have a different UK experience than I do, Lizard.

                                                          1. re: Harters

                                                            Or a different sense of portion size!

                                                            1. re: Lizard

                                                              Ah yes, perhaps that. I don't think I've ever been defeated by a plate - even in America.

                                                              1. re: Harters

                                                                What I don't get is Americans saying portion size in France is small. I generally get far more than I can eat even thought I would very much like to.

                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                  Portions are not so small in France. I've had several meals I couldn't finish. And they put butter on everything (even sandwiches, which is very strange to me).

                                                                  1. re: grouchomarx

                                                                    I never knew anyone who put mayonnaise on sandwiches until I came to the US (from Canada). Butter only. Not that that has anything to do with la Grenouille.

                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                      Mayo on sandwiches is certainly a recentish thing in the UK. Was always butter and still usually is. Although I often follow Spanish sandwich making practice and just drizzle the bread with olive oil.

                                                                    2. re: grouchomarx

                                                                      Mmm...butter on sandwiches. My great grandfather taught me that one. Butter and bologna. Butter and jam. Butter and tomatoes. Butter and roast beef. Butter and egg salad.

                                                                    3. re: buttertart

                                                                      Yep. That's the good ol' butterbrot for ya. My mom absolutely *hates* butter, so she will always ask whether there is butter on the sandwich.

                                                                      Seems like the general trend is moving towards remoulade-type sauces or mayo, tho. I prefer mayo over butter on a sammie, too.

                                                      2. re: Harters

                                                        I worked in a wonderful Thai place in England. The meals were served family style and the portions were huge.
                                                        No one ever asked for the remains - which was great for the staff because we ate like kings all night every night. (we ate off the platters, not individual plates!!!)

                                                        As a matter of fact - whenever Americans came is - some wait staff would inevitably say : "Betcha they ask for a doggy bag!!!" It was a running joke.
                                                        ..And sure enough they always DID!

                                                        1. re: NellyNel

                                                          It is the American way.

                                                  2. It would never occur to me to try to take home uneaten fish, regardless of venue, just because it can spoil so quickly, it's just not worth the bother.

                                                    17 Replies
                                                    1. re: Karl S

                                                      Is cooked fish is any more perishable than another cooked meat? I have never thought so but would be interested in the opinion of someone with seafood restaurant expertise. I would have insisted on taking the leftovers home and assured the place that I would not be returning. Loudly, if necessary. What if I had just started my meal and received an emergency phone call from the babysitter or an invalid relative? Would they expect me to pay for the meal I was leaving behind? If so, they had better pack it up for me, and pronto.

                                                      Re the baggie post below - I do keep one in my purse, just like mom did. But I am more discreet about employing it than she was. There is an Asian buffet near me which sometimes has miniature curry puffs that I like a lot. Most diners there make a trip to the buffet for appetizers, then go back for mains and sides. I make only one trip so I don't feel I am cheating the place by putting extra puffs on my plate and slipping them into my bag after making sure I am not observed.

                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                        Not to make a big flap about it, but isn't that defined as stealing?

                                                        1. re: greygarious

                                                          Tacky on both counts: carrying a bag and slipping leftovers in it at the table (!) and STEALING (yes!) curry puffs for later. Buffets are not to be carried off the premises no matter how you rationalize it.

                                                          1. re: chow_gal

                                                            This is a tad harsh if the person doing it as noted has only one single plate from the buffet and others are scarfing up multiple plates, isn't it? It's not as if greygarious was going up five times and doing this on top of it. I don't consider it stealing. But I don't see the world as black and white either.

                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                              I guess you're right. It wasn't the stealing as much as the overt tackiness the post described. Some things in life should remain a bit gracious, though I do acknowledge I am very fortunate to not be on a fixed income or strict budget as some are. (not saying grey is)

                                                              1. re: chow_gal

                                                                Not tacky if done discreetly. I am sure graygarious operates at the same gracious level as his/her posts.

                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                  Thanks, buttertart. As already mentioned, I am careful not to be overt about putting the puffs into the sandwich-sized baggie in my purse. The amount is less than many diners leave uneaten on their buffet plates. If this place had curry puffs on their regular menu I would order them. They don't offer them except, on occasion, at their buffet. And there's always a baggie in my purse. They come in handy for any unfinished drive-thru or other snacks on the fly, like the unused half of the individual cream cheese containers they give you at bagel shops. One person's tacky is another's frugal.

                                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                                    Have you ever inquired about the cost or availability of a to go order of the puffs?

                                                                    1. re: Sisyphus

                                                                      +1 I think you should consider asking about that...you may think it's okay to take a little extra since you aren't eating as much as other people you see, but that's kind of how buffets work. Some people eat more than they probably paid, others less. If you don't have a huge appetite, that still doesn't mean it is okay to pay an all you can eat (on the premises, right?) price and then take a bag for a couple extra items to eat later. Yeah, it isn't a huge deal or a large amount of money we're talking about here, but i still don't think it is right.

                                                                2. re: chow_gal

                                                                  Okay, now this second post is annoying. Who said money or the lack thereof had anything to do with it? She likes the curry puffs, is barely there in terms of what she takes and takes a few with her. Better than lots of the people I see passing buffets (rarely eat at them).

                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                    Hey - it's tacky. My opinion. TACKY. Sometimes one just goes without.

                                                                3. re: buttertart

                                                                  I certainly wouldnt regard this as stealing - although possibly the place would be less than thrilled. Buffets in my part of the world tend to have signs saying food is for consumption *on" the premises. Have to say that, personally, I have no need of the signs to tell that's right.

                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                    "I'm 100% convinced that it's a bs made-up story."

                                                                    Sounds pretty black and white. ;)

                                                                    1. re: haggisdragon

                                                                      A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                        ...Adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.

                                                                        1. re: haggisdragon

                                                                          A useful out in situations like these. Thanks, RWE!

                                                              2. re: Karl S

                                                                i've taken home grilled salmon without a problem, then made a nice flaky fish salad the next day.

                                                                i'd probably say cooked fish is more perishable than, say, a piece of prime rib. i figure that it is more perishable before it is cooked, and therefore after it is cooked. that is assuming equal and relatively prompt refrigeration.

                                                              3. I agree that the explanation sounds contrived. I've never heard of a restaurant disallowing doggie bags, and I bring food home on a very regular basis (except if I'm traveling with no means of refrigeration and/or heating). I hate to see food go to waste, and I just don't eat very much in a given sitting.

                                                                As an attorney myself, it doesn't strike me as terribly improbable to find an idiotic judge/arbitrator, nor does it seem impossible that there are weird license laws in various jurisdictions. However, as was mentioned before, I would think it's an all-or-nothing thing: Either you can take it home, or you can't, not that you an bring it home unless it's fish on a hot day.

                                                                Frankly, I'd be upset if half of a meal I ordered and paid for was wasted. Dover sole ain't cheap, and times are tough. At the very least, I would expect advance notice that all food must be consumed on the premises. Moreover, it seems as if a repeat of their claimed problem could be avoided with a roll of pre-printed "warning" label like they have at many grocery stores.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: Mestralle

                                                                  "Warning: The Surgeon General has determined that our food, when removed from the premises, may be hazardous to your health."

                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                    Ha!

                                                                2. The same thing happened to us the one and only time we ate there (in the early '90s, on a cold night, and it was meat, 3/4 of my main course) so the arbitration trumped-up or not must date back a long way...
                                                                  I wrote to the restaurant (no one much had email at the time) to inquire why and they wrote back to say (snottily) that they didn't do it because of liability issues and that basically by asking for it I had shown myself not to be the sort of patron they were interested in serving.
                                                                  Will not go back, there are too many restaurants in the city with less attitude. Have never had a request to pack anything up refused elsewhere, not that I make a habit of this in high-end places.

                                                                  14 Replies
                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                    Or you can be like me sainted mother who was not above putting leftovers in a plasic baggie secreted in her purse. God rest he soul.

                                                                    1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                      Had I known the biggest part of a pricy veal chop was otherwise going in the trash I surely would have.

                                                                    2. re: buttertart

                                                                      """they wrote back to say (snottily) that they didn't do it because of liability issues and that basically by asking for it I had shown myself not to be the sort of patron they were interested in serving. """

                                                                      aaah, the truth comes out -- they don't like the IDEA of a doggy bag! the truth wasn't the phony "story" about some "arbitration."

                                                                      frogs they are, indeed! <i take that back. it is an insult to frogs.>

                                                                      from their site:
                                                                      """The restaurant opened its doors on December 19th, 1962 on a quiet night in the midst of a snowstorm.
                                                                      From the first day there were flowers, just a few roses here and there, but few as they were, this was to be the birth of a tradition.
                                                                      La Grenouille serves classic French cuisine and spontaneous creations in a glowing setting that many consider home."""
                                                                      ~~~~
                                                                      "...and NOT classic French cuisine and spontaneous creations that you may actually TAKE home after paying some serious money."

                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                        It, like many other restaurants in the city (and other cities of course), is a de facto canteen for the rich. I'm sure if the owners are reading this exchange they think: "and well rid of her, too".
                                                                        The phenomenon of the "canteen" was addressed by Sam Sifton, the much reviled but interesting present restaurant critic of the NYT, in a review of a restaurant where indifferent food commands premium prices and which is essentially a clubhouse for the well-heeled. Am not implying that the food at la G isn't good by any manner of means, but let's just say that the welcome to unknowns there is considerably frostier than it need be. (We walked into Taillevent in Paris around the same time and were welcomed warmly and without a trace of snobbishness, and cossetted throughout the meal.)
                                                                        At la G we withnessed waiters obviously favoring some tables over others, rushing to the table beside ours (previously occupied by some other "riffraff", two young Wall Street types) and grabbing the check wallet to make sure they had been tipped, etc etc. Mentioned this in the letter to the owner and was told back flat out such things NEVER happen in the restaurant. Oh yeah?
                                                                        PS those swans were le comble de l'élégance at the time, weren't they?

                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                          I still see the swans on occasion. Most often it's a chinese take-out style white paper container or a plastic one. A high-end Chinese restaurant that is one of my favorites puts the paper containers into a small brown bag with a raffia handle. No reason why a shmantzy place couldn't have a glossy, logo-bedecked bag in this style. That would look no different from the gift bags that are often seen atop tables when they are occupied by diners who are there to celebrate birthdays or other special occasions.

                                                                          1. re: greygarious

                                                                            Chanterelle (now defunct, was a very nice place) did, I still have one. Looks like a Bulgari jewelry bag. Hell, even Per Se has them. Jackets required or no, you bought the damn food, you should be able to take it with you in a decorous manner should you so desire.

                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                              Plus the bags are advertising for the restaurant...maybe that's why, they'd attract the wrong element!

                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                Some restaurants apparently have customers the way Cleveland Amory memorably recounted Boston Brahmin matrons replying "We have our hats.” in reply to a question asking where they got their hats. (in other words: "We don't *get* no stinkin' hats, because we already have them, from our mothers and grandmothers," et cet.)

                                                                                1. re: Karl S

                                                                                  Very very true.

                                                                                  1. re: Karl S

                                                                                    As an acquaintance of mine once said "I feel sorry for so-and-so; she had to BUY her silver" because of course one should inherit it :)

                                                                                2. re: buttertart

                                                                                  Reminds me of a now-defunct restaurant near Boston called Eat. Their doggie bags said Ate.

                                                                                3. re: greygarious

                                                                                  I overstuffed myself at Eleven Madison Park and asked for my macarons to be packed up and they came in the prettiest box - if I had known their carryout boxes were so nice I would have asked for an extra one lol. Not sure what their packaging looks like for anything more substantial, but I've read lots of stories of people getting leftovers packed up from there.

                                                                                4. re: buttertart

                                                                                  That bugs me. I wrote about a somewhat similar experience a couple of months ago, whereby people were not only favoring, but ignoring the hideous behavior of a table, who they appeared to know.

                                                                                  Maybe it's just me, but I think a restaurant should most definitely remember it's regular patrons, but should treat everyone that comes through their doors as a favored diner. You should never be treated as though they can't wait to get you out of there (unless, of course, you're being an idiot)

                                                                                  I wonder what they do if a particularly high-end client wanted a "to-go" meal ? (not leftovers)

                                                                                  1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                    Ive had high end restaurants make me a meal for take out in the past. It was weird asking if they could do it but they seemed perfectly happy and , as you should I gave a full tip to the waitress.

                                                                            2. My story on this subject: I was in a critically acclaimed restaurant, (you know, the kind where the chef doesn't trust the customers with salt and pepper shakers). Any way the foursome seated next to us, who had just dropped a few hundred on their meal, had to leave in a hurry due to a babysitting problem. The flustered Mom asked if they could get their pre-ordered desserts "to go".
                                                                              The response, and this is a direct quote: " We can't do that-Chef thinks that the desserts will SUFFER". I don't know if that means the pie would experience physical pain, or Chef's sterling reputation might somehow be damaged, but I giggle every time I think of it.

                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Fahzz

                                                                                Pretension knows no bounds.

                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                  Yes, and we all know what the conversion rate on pretension is...

                                                                                  1. re: aggiecat

                                                                                    what, is this a "netflix" ad? if so, the answer is "baba ghannouj."

                                                                                2. re: Fahzz

                                                                                  that is a really funny story! how could anybody say that with a straight face??!!

                                                                                  1. re: Fahzz

                                                                                    It does sound silly, but in truth some things just don't travel well. You really don't want creme brulee scooped out of the ramekin and slopped into a to-go box, delicate mousses tend to melt at room temperature, etc. Things do suffer in presentation no matter how nicely you try to box it. On the other hand, they should have been able to send that party home with SOMETHING, even just a few petit fours.

                                                                                  2. Most restaurants in NYC participate in City Harvest, where leftover food is collected and delivered to homeless shelters and soup kitchens.... so maybe your Dover sole didn't end up in the trash - if that makes you feel any better!

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: appleannie

                                                                                      City Harvest does not take food that has been partially consumed by another person. They have very high standards to what they will and will not take and left-overs are a definite no-no.

                                                                                      http://www.cityharvest.org/donate-foo...

                                                                                      1. re: bookhound

                                                                                        seriously ! -- "hey homeless guy, here's some leftover fish. ya want it?"

                                                                                    2. Perhaps the waiter was feeling peckish.

                                                                                      1. This is pretty stupid experience.

                                                                                        1. Ahhhh, geez. I absolutely hate, HATE wasting food. Honestly, it's a ridiculous idea to trash edibles. I'm very skilled in RFHR (Restaurant Food Home Resuscitation).

                                                                                          I'm not impressed by the idea that anyone's cuisine is so incredible and ephemeral that it must be consumed within 13 minutes of production or else be discarded. The expectations for purchased food shouldn't be any different for high-end restaurants.

                                                                                          Oh, and, p.s. for babette -- sloppy broken creme brulee is actually still terrific shared from a plastic takeaway container in front of TV (best with Law and Order). :)

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                                                            love the screen name. how is the duke?

                                                                                          2. That did happen to me once, at an inexpensive Indian place in NYC. The waiter, who had just finished cursing out another table, (about God knows what), said "we don't do that, and I replied, then I don't tip. It was probably only the second or third time I've stiiffed a waiter in my life. I would recommend sitting there until your hungry again, even if it takes until the next morning.

                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: chazfitzm1

                                                                                              Agree. It is important to make a point. If they won't let you take the food home, then you don't leave the table.

                                                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                I have a strong feeling that you might be escorted out on the arm of the NYPD were you to try that at La G.

                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                  Maybe it will make it to local news maybe. On the other hand, what ground do they have to escort a customer our when the customer has not finished the food. Stay until the restaurant is closed. Since the customer is not allowed to take his food out, can he stay there to finish the food he ordered? Maybe it will take him two hours, maybe four hours.

                                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                    Who would you be punishing by sitting in a restaurant after you've finished dining watching the sauce on your food coagulate, the restaurant or yourself?

                                                                                                    1. re: bookhound

                                                                                                      Depends how busy the restaurant is.

                                                                                                      1. re: bookhound

                                                                                                        If you are thinking about "punishment" then you are thinking in the wrong direction. You need to think long term and global. It is for the good for humanity. It is a movement. It is a statement. Why do students handcuff themselves to buildings? Why do people participate food eating contest? Would the student actually able to stop anything by handcuffing themselves? Almost always no. Do people need to eat until they throw up? Definitely no.

                                                                                                        Nevertheless, they are about expression of mind and soul.

                                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                          I go to restaurants to have a good time and enjoy the food. If they have policies I don't agree with I don't go to that restaurant. Staying at a restaurant until they closed because they won't wrap up my food is something a petulant child would do. It wouldn't futher "good for humanity" one iota.

                                                                                                  2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                    I would get up and go to the corner store buy a plastic bag and put my food in it before I handcuffed myself to the table........

                                                                                                    PS the only time a restaurant should refuse a doggy bag is if its a buffet.

                                                                                                    1. re: kpaxonite

                                                                                                      Some people reallyy do that when I were in my graduate school. I should know. I went to UC Berkeley. :)

                                                                                                      On the other hand, if you have already put the food in a plastic bag, why not just run out the restaurant with it?

                                                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                        The plastic bags or the handcuffs? lol

                                                                                                2. some restaurants are set up to provide for take-out and some aren't. it's pretty clear which way the establishment skews at the outset, so your request was out of line. sorry. the people in the kitchen are already knocking themselves out for far less money than you'd think.

                                                                                                  1. It depends how high end it is.

                                                                                                    I think its similar to asking for the cork of a half finished bottle of wine so you can take it home.

                                                                                                    If its super high end you they should make it possible but would probably be a bit taken aback.##

                                                                                                    22 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: kpaxonite

                                                                                                      It's legal to take the wine home in NY if it's corked and placed in a transparent plastic bag by the restaurant, I've heard.

                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                        Its legal in quebec too (but maybe not to have in your car if you drive home....); I was just pointing out that although people do it, many would probably leave a couple glasses of wine behind because they feel awkward about asking to take it home.

                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                          Are you sure about the "transparent plastic bag"? I would think it should be "opaque"

                                                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                            I think I read transparent - and it struck me as very odd too.

                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                              Random fact: since the liquor commission of quebec (the only place to buy wine and liquor) stopped giving out free bags last year, the gov passed a law allowing people to carry bottles anywhere without a bag.

                                                                                                              1. re: kpaxonite

                                                                                                                Wow, that's a change. I grew up with the LCBO and their stringent rules (brown paper bags etc).

                                                                                                              2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                Then, this will be very strange.

                                                                                                                Let's say the restaurant requires you to take the wine out with a "transparent/see through" plastic bags, while the city law or state law requires you to use opaque and brown paper bags. What do you do? Change bags right at the restaurant exit? Like superman changes his costume?

                                                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                  http://www.winedoggybag.com/statelaws...
                                                                                                                  Transparent it is, in NYS. I've seen one or two people on the street with them.

                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                    Thanks. I wonder why. I will read up on the reasons for transparent bag.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                      Just by the by, can anyone explain the reasoning why, in north America, there is often this legal requirement to carry alcohol in a bag? It seems very strange to this Briton.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                        I'm actually not aware of any such law. In practical terms, a bag makes toting wine (or anything else) a bit more convenient. But I've never heard that it's a law.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                          Hartes,

                                                                                                                          It is to help the paper bag industry. No, just kidding.

                                                                                                                          Well, in many parts in US, an opened alcohol bottle displayed in the public is illegal. Consequently, people would put their open alcoholic bottle in a brown bag and many even drink out of the brown bags. It isn't so much there is a law requiring you to carry an alcohol in a brown paper bag. It is that you cannot carry an opened alcohol bottles in open display and the brown bag is just one of the many many ways to get around it.

                                                                                                                          http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattle911/...

                                                                                                                          http://farm1.static.flickr.com/15/195...
                                                                                                                          http://image12.webshots.com/13/6/76/6...

                                                                                                                          I don't know about the transparent bag law, but it is real and I cannot comment much about it.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                            Because nobody would EVER know what it is you're carrying in that brown paper bag. Not >gasp< any alcohol! No way.

                                                                                                                            I continue to be torn between amusement and anger at the "open container laws" in the US. Every bloody street fest in Germany allows for people to sell and drink beer, caipirinhas, or whatever booze is in fashion that year in the street, and somehow, society hasn't imploded. Go figure.

                                                                                                                            1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                              it isnt to hide the alcohol. if it's in a bag you can say you are not consuming it, but transporting it.

                                                                                                                              1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                well, either way, it's ridiculous.

                                                                                                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                  And you're I believe now in a state that has really crazy strict liquor laws, you must really be chuffed about it!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                    i just do all my drinking at home '-D

                                                                                                                                  2. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                    the bag isnt ridiculous. the open container laws are.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                      spoken like a true, urban manhattanite.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                        or perhaps an american who believes that victimless crimes ought not be crimes

                                                                                                                                      2. re: thew

                                                                                                                                        dude. both of them are. i think we agree.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                          yay.

                                                                                                                2. i'm a bit surprised this hasn't been mentioned yet... unless i've missed it somewhere, but i've never been refused take-out/leftovers at any high end restaurant i've been to and the servers were very cordial about it. for reference, my experience with take-out/leftovers have been mostly in the US and Canada. the ones where i'm getting many tiny fiddly little courses i nearly never have anything left on the plate... there's already so little to taste that i can't help but finish it all. no matter, at the highest end of the high, i'm always gifted with something if not a small collection of things to take away for the next day. cookies, cakes, mignardises, etc in customized paper totes and boxes. i can't imagine walking away with a slightly larger tote and a slightly larger box for the leftovers would be offensive to them. if i'm having an a la carte meal at at one of these restaurants, they have no issue with me taking dessert to go to enjoy later. same beautiful bags produced.

                                                                                                                  at one mid/high-range restaurant, i was surprised to see that they actually kept the bag in question on a sideboard near the kitchen. as the night progressed and the leftovers increased, they just filled up the bag without my notice and it never touched my table until i was ready to get up and leave. the containers were actually quite large so it is obviously a request they expect and un-begrudgingly provide for.

                                                                                                                  your situation is a shame... i personally love leftovers straight out of the fridge late into the night. it gives me happy thoughts of the meal that just passed.

                                                                                                                  1. My daughter recently had dinner at a pretty high-end place in NYC called Mr. Chow http://www.mrchow.com/main.html. There were a lot of leftovers from the many dishes ordered, which she and her dining companions asked to take home. Their plates were cleared and the wrapped leftover goodies were handed to them as they exited the restaurant.

                                                                                                                    1. Scene: the Modern.
                                                                                                                      Time: last night.
                                                                                                                      Players: us.
                                                                                                                      Situation: one of the players completely stuffed after all but the last course of a brilliant tasting menu.
                                                                                                                      Dialogue: "may I take this home?" "Certainly".
                                                                                                                      Action: coat check delivered to the table for pickup of same on departure.
                                                                                                                      Props: very attractive takeaway bags - one largish, with the food, one small, with a chocolate confection in a transparent étui.
                                                                                                                      Dénouement: two diners leaving happy, sated, in a haze of pleasure after a wonderful dinner.
                                                                                                                      Win/win for restaurant and diners.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                        I think most of the posts here, including CindyJ's and yours are basically indirectly stating that La Grenouille came off as unreasonable -- no matter of its true intention. The restaurant should have explained its reasoning.

                                                                                                                      2. I have never encountered this, but it is probably because I have never asked to have a "doggie bag." I want my restaurant food there, hot and fresh. If I want "take out," I order that, from such a restaurant.

                                                                                                                        Maybe that's just me.

                                                                                                                        Hunt