Be honest...is it 'uncouth' to share an entree in a (nice) restaurant?
My husband and I are tired of the huge portions in restaurants - it's just gotten ridiculous, in my opinion. So, we often share an entree, but we usually only do this in chain, or 'mom and pop' restaurants. What is your opinion on doing so in a nicer restaurant? Will we look like goofs?
This comes up especially when we travel. Often we are sight-seeing after dinner, and don't want to carry leftovers around. Also, we are not at all opposed to paying a small charge for a sharing privilege. And, we're big tippers.
Still, I feel uncomfortable doing this in a nicer restaurant. What are your thoughts?
Nope, I would say it is perfectly "couth," especially if you don't mind a sharing charge. I have also found there are many restaurants (at least in my area) that will accomodate requests for 1/2 portions (which tend to cost 60-70% of the full portion).
I used to have the same reluctance to share as well. But then we had visitors from Europe who shared their apps & entrees in every restaurant we went (they were a bit mystified by the portion size in US restaurants). Hurdle cleared & now we do it often.
You are fine... Build some rapport with your server and tip well.
1. Let them know that you won't be hanging out all night sipping iced tea and they won't resent you.
2. Let them know you don't want to overeat, what do they recommend. May be 1 or 2 entrees or whatever. Let them know you aren't interested in left-overs, which unless you are going to an expensive steakhouse, you won't have anyway.
3. Ask about half portions. I love pasta, but don't like to get 4 ravioli for a meal, they normally have no problem making me a half portion for an appetizer... sometimes I'll do 2 half portions for dinner... a few appetizers for my wife and I to split, etc.
4. Go for lunch, especially on vacation so that you can have a glass or 2 of wine. Lots of the best restaurants in the country do amazing lunches at unbelievable prices. The waiters aren't trying to pay their rent, they know they won't make a ton at lunch, so less pressure.
Have fun and go for it!
I don't think it's uncouth, but if it makes you feel at all uncomfortable, try ordering only salads and apps. I sometimes think that's a better way to experience a lot of different things the restaurant makes anyway, instead of 2 big entrees. You could each get 1-4 apps and share them without it looking "weird" since apps are to be shared, and try more of what's available, without a lot of extra/doggy bag, or incurring a split plate charge.
I've done it in a ** Michelin restaurant, after the first time I ate there, and I realized that I would have no room left for the AMAZING desserts if I didn't split plates.
I see no problem with it. Others also feel uncomfortable ordering only from the appetizer menu. But it is your money and appetite right?
Be prepared to pay for plate and set up (or whatever they want to call it) and please, tip well only if it is deserved. If your server balks or puts on an attitude, why tip that?
One small final thing: If you know you will be enjoying just a couple appetizers and a wine and the restaurant is busy, consider opting for the bar. Then you are comfortable and the restaurant can have the table for customers ordering dinner.