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Customer or Owner knows best-- Speaking up against the man!!

There is a gastropub I frequent call it bar x, that has a really awesome menu. They have a local chef that has made a decent name for himself.... Perfect for being only 5 mi away from me.

However, thier meats ( lamb, steaks(of anykind), etc.. ) are always served on the rare side. When ordering, I asked if they would please cook my lamb, for another 10sec or so. I explained, that it was just my preference... The result ended up as if I insulted the mother and grandmother of thier chef and cooks. It lead to the owner asking me if I would just want another item off the menu. WAS I WRONG , to ask esentially a bar (not high end rest) to cook my meal the way i want it???

I will accept it if I was incorrect, and have had some insight on possibly why... I just want some chowers thoughs

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  1. The owner is an pompous buffoon....It's one thing to have that position if someone wants it cooked Well-Done....but asking for a slight cook-up from Rare to Medium tempertures is reasonable for meats....Seafoods, I would understand his policy though.

    1. You said "gastropub" not just "pub" so that leads me to believe the chef/owner considers their restaurant to be one that serves high quality/innovative food. For some, that means serving dishes the way they think they should be served. If this is a place you like to go to and you think the food is good, then maybe you could have another conversation with the owner--not at the moment you are ordering--and see if you can come to an understanding. If not, I'd just go elsewhere.

      1. Mrs CHM requires her steak to be extra super well done. If they can't accomidate in a friendly manner, we'll find someplace else to eat.

        She askes nicely and usually apologizes when she orders it well done. I don't see a reason to apologize, it's her steak, if she wants it insinerated it's up to her.

        8 Replies
        1. re: chileheadmike

          I order my steaks and burgers extra well to cremated and always ask in a very nice way. Never been told I couldn't have it that way but of course it doesn't always come well done enough.

          1. re: smartie

            How about the restaurants that won't cook it med. rare because it might kill you!! I even offered to sign a paper that I wouldn't sue!! Just won't go back again!

            1. re: Mother of four

              In some areas that is a legal requirement, not a whim of the chef...

              1. re: meatn3

                Have you seen this for meats other than ground meat? I have never seen for a steak. If so where? TIA

                1. re: jfood

                  I have only seen it for ground beef. Unfortunately, I live in one of those strange states - so a medium rare burger is something that must be searched out!

                  Slightly off topic but, I recently heard a restaurant owner relay that his head cook said that only pasteurized eggs could be legally served runny in NC. I can't believe that every other breakfast place is going to the expense of this. I've tried to muddle through the online gov't regs and can't find anything. I hope his cook is mistaken!

            2. re: smartie

              I think most restaurants don't mind the well-done eaters, as it allows them to use up the subpar cuts of beef they have leftover.

              1. re: invinotheresverde

                Of course then you get the jackwagons who will order it normal and then send it back saying it was underdone as a way to avoid this

          2. You have every right to ask them to cook it to another temp and they have every right to refuse. You then have the right to choose another place to eat. A restaurant is a private dining establishment and they set the rules. If this means losing customers and eventually closing, so be it. It's their call.

            1. I used to live in Providence and there was a famous restaurant there that would only cook things the way they felt they should be done. This was annoying to some. But it also gave them a reputation for perfection and people didn't end up complaining about food that they had orchestrated and then not liked. (LIke those folks on epicurious who change the recipe and then complain that it wasn't very good!) Double edged sword. The restaurant thrives.

              1 Reply
              1. re: escondido123

                and people didn't end up complaining about food that they had orchestrated and then not liked. (LIke those folks on epicurious who change the recipe and then complain that it wasn't very good!) Double edged sword. The restaurant thrives.

                One of my first thoughts. Some ppl who love to think that they are 100% correct, like to order something THEIR way, and then complain because they don't like it. When someone orders an expensive cut of meat well done in a restaurant, it's kind of a red flag. It's very true that the person who orders that just really knows what they want, and that's fine. But I'm just telling you, when someone orders a nice cut of meat well done, the chefs will raise an eyebrow.

                Augie6, you were not out of line, but the chef was probably just thinking how chefs do. You'd be VERY surprised at how many ppl take the whole "The customer is always right" thing to the extreme, and believe that a chef is a slave to whatever they want, even tho they order it how they say they'd like it, receive it the way they wanted it, but now think it should be replaced with something else. You'd be very surprised indeed.

              2. You were in no way wrong! You seem to have asked nicely. You acted without a sense of entitlement.
                The reaction you got was over the top. I don't know if I'd take my business elsewhere, but I'd hope to get acquainted with the staff enough to feel comfortable asking for such a simple thing. If it happened twice, I'd vote with my wallet.

                2 Replies
                1. re: monavano

                  Thanks for all of the updates so far.... I totally agree that the chef knows something I will like before I even think of it. Rare lamb was just not one of them. I just didn't expect that much attention from a simple request. Especially , when the price is around $30 for maybe 3-4 pieces. (not that price is an issue, just sayn)

                  I will be back, tonight even, and plan on talking this over little more with chef. Hopefully over a few micros... yum

                  1. re: Augie6

                    At $30 I think you should reconsider your idea that this is "basically a bar." Casual can still mean serious food--and a serious chef.

                2. The owner knows best, but the customer is always right. They should have been able to honor such a simple request.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: raytamsgv

                    "i do think you are overthinking the word "fancy."

                    I disagree. Like I said earlier, the restaurant is a private establishment and the owner makes the rules. Yes, the owner may lose a lot of customers by imposing those rules, but it is his establishment.

                    By the way..."the customer is always right" is like nails on a chalkboard to anyone who has been on the other side of the counter.

                    1. re: ttoommyy

                      escon123-- Its a tappas bar, that is overpriced. The reason for overprice, first its Good Food, second it weeds out the drunk bums that would flock in. But all in all it is a bar with stools and all, just nice.

                      ttoommyy is correct, customers are mostly morons!! I have friends that will complain about what they get , because they will not read exactly what it is. They have every right to tell me No, but i would expect some type of reasonable explanation.

                      1. re: ttoommyy

                        By the way..."the customer is always right" is like nails on a chalkboard to anyone who has been on the other side of the counter.

                        Trust me, I know the feeling--I've been on that other side of the counter when I worked at my parents' restaurant. We had some crazy customers. Regardless, their orders paid the bills, so even though they asked for some weird stuff, we complied as best as we could.

                        1. re: ttoommyy

                          >"the customer is always right" is like nails on a chalkboard to anyone who has been on the other side of the counter.<

                          I've been on the other side of many different kinds of counters. It was the owner of one of those who said it best: "The customer may not be always right, but he is always THE CUSTOMER." He may be a moron who want's apostrophe's in all the wrong place's, but if he absolutely insists on his banner headline being spelled that way, well, it's his damn ad. It is my responsibility only to tell him he's wrong about it; it is NOT my place to refuse to do it his way, however painful that may be. Same goes for steaks or fish or whatever - if I order it, it's MY steak, period.

                      2. it is unfortunate when it rises to the level of rude or givng the cutomer "that look" or asking if there was something else on the menu the customer wishes to order. I have family members that like well done, i have family members that like rare and many in between. When I cook at home I try to meet these demands and I would expect a professional chef to do likewise. The doneness of the meat is a personal preference and every chef should understand tat basic understanding. Other than certain states that require chopped meat to a certain doneness I prefer mine med-rare and hope the cook can achieve,

                        If a chef has a line drawn in the sand and management agrees then a customer's only choices are to accept, order something else or dine elsewhere.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: jfood

                          indeed, what I usually say is I would like a cremated steak but if the chef can't do it then I will choose something else now before my dinner and my companions dinners are out of synch. It's darned annoying to order a well done steak and find it underdone and it goes back for a refire while everyone else is eating. Also, when a steak goes back it gets dried up.

                        2. You say you were served "3-4 pieces." If these were slices off a roast, I don't know how they could be cooked more without ruining them.

                          2 Replies
                            1. re: Augie6

                              Those can be fairly awful if they're too rare, in my experience. Lamb needs a bit of cooking not to be flabby and tasteless. Those little rib morsels can be tricky to hit the right balance, but on the other hand they're so easy to cook in general just another quick turn on the grill should have done it. I think your request was not at all out of line.

                          1. It is interesting that we feel this way about meat. It is probably because of steak houses. For instance, if I thought my tomato sauce was a little acidic, I would probably not ask the waiter when I ordered if they could add a pinch of sugar to the sauce because I noticed it was a little more acidic than I really liked, etc.

                            Apparently, this is not the kind of thing where they ask you how you want the meat done? If not, then there is really no difference. You could certainly be *right* (and it sounds like maybe you are), but basically you're telling the chef that he's not doing it the way you'd like it.

                            The answer, I think, is just that you like this gastropub, but you don't like the way they do meat. So, like the waiter, suggested, order something else, just like I do when I think the scallops at whatever place aren't really done the way I like them or pasta dishes at whatever other place are a little bland.

                            1. It is a tricky balance between respecting what the chef is trying to accomplish and customer service. That being said, chefs that refuse to accommodate diners wishes is nothing new.
                              You were not wrong in your request. If that particular place is not willing to cook to your liking the solution is simple-go elsewhere or order something else.

                              1. Well, I finally got to speak to chef/owner in a casual situation over some very good Stone IPAs. The answers I GOT where SHOCKING!!!! Now this conversation was NOT souly dedicated to my lamb issue, but food, booze , and eating in general.

                                They believed the lamb is prepared perfectly, and would not advise me to eat it any other way. Although, this was not the reason they chose not to accomadate my request. Cooking an item a certain way gives the establisment a character. They admited that the methods techniques used might not be in best practice or taste. It does however distinguish thier meals over any one in the area( even if compeitition is not present as of today) ... So in summary having a piece a flash grilled lamb, might not suit everyone, but you know when you see the meal if came from bar x..

                                So not a food chooose, rather marketing...