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Chefs choice

Months ago I was watching a show in PBS that I can't remember the name of, but the host went into the restaurant and told the waiter he would let the chef decide on his meal. I'm wondering has anyone ever done this, make the meal chefs choice?

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  1. Yes. Everytime I go for sushi and tell the chef "Omakase", that is exactly what I'm doing. I've also asked the server to ask the chef to create a menu of his choice. And they worked out well.

    1. Works best at Japanese restaurants, with Tojo's in Vancouver being a particularly good example.

      It doesn't necessarily work out though - I know the chef at a local place and once asked him to just make me whatever he felt like off his regular menu. He was so flustered by the request that my meal was not only late (close to an hour behind everyone else's), it was rather "off" because of his panic.

      1 Reply
      1. re: wattacetti

        we have now decided that a "failure" like yours is a good thing. if you never fail, you aren't pushing the envelope far enough and will never hit that homerun.

      2. I've done this at a number of places - it's called "ordering the tasting menu"

        1. Enjoyed a meal with nine other Philadelphia 'hounds at Han Dynasty this winter. We put ourselves in the chef's hands and had a feast of varied Chinese Szechuan dishes that just kept coming. We even asked for some repeats, like the Dan Dan noodles. The bill before tax and tip was just $150.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Seeker19104

            Yes, I think a group of Philly Hounds did this at Blackfish as well--after reading what they were served, I was very sorry I hadn't signed up. In that case, though, they gave the restaurant advance notice.

          2. Yes. A few times and I have never been disappointed. One particularly memorable dinner wound up be fourteen courses. Other times, I've simply had the chef "choose" my entree.

            1. I have done it several times and always with great success.

              1. Years ago, I used to have lunch at a Chinese place pretty often. It was small, with the husband the chef and the wife waiting tables. Fairly often, I think usually when they weren't too busy, she'd ask me, "Chicken, beef, pork, or shrimp?" I'd name a protein and she'd go off to the kitchen to put in the order and get my soup. Then later I'd get a plate of something, usually not on the menu, and often the sort of thing they'd cook at home. It was always fun to see what they would come up with, and I was never disappointed.

                1. A chef friend of ours has recently opened his own restaurant and every time we go in there he tells us what we are going to be eating. He knows our tastes and has never failed.

                  1. Excluding explicit options such as Japanese places where true omakase is an option or tasting menus, I often do this in places where I trust the kitchen's judgement. Sometimes I'll add specifications such as the number of courses, or budget, or to have them cook around a bottle of wine. It can be rewarding as one might get a dish that's off the menu, or better tuned to the wine one is drinking. I remember getting an off-menu lamb that was made to match a bottle of Cote Rotie, a classical pairing. As the various posts above indicate, it's not limited to specific cuisines or types of places, so long as the chef is competent.

                    1. Of course.

                      Omakase and tasting menus, by definition, as others have pointed out. Ditto the scenario at Chinese restaurants that others mention.

                      Also places where the chef chooses what he wants to cook that day and sets out a menu for the day, of say 4 courses, take it or leave it. If you go, you and everyone else sit down and eat those 4 courses put in front of you that night.

                      1. Yes and so enjoyed the best seared boat scallops EVER!