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Sep 13, 2011 04:40 PM

Things You Shouldn't Order at Just Any Restaurant

Previous to tonight I had two items I wouldn't order w/o a recommendation due to repeated poor experiences: pasta and ice cream desserts. On far too many occassions I (like many of us) have gotten overcooked pasta at restaurants. I've also gotten ice flakey ice cream many times. Tonight I realized another: the medium cooked burger. The one I ordered tonight was cold and texturally "weird" in the middle. Had to be a frozen pattie. I've even had ice crystals at the center of some burgers too.
So the newest addition to my list of "Things You Shouldn't Order at Just Any Restaurant" includes (along with pasta and ice cream desserts) medium cooked burgers. Do you have any to add?

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  1. Chicken sashimi.

    I've also given up on bleu steaks in the US.

    1 Reply
    1. re: wattacetti

      1. I agree about pasta, except in places truly dedicated to the finest level; otherwise, I can invariably do better at home. Ditto Caesar salad, for that matter.

      2. Chicken breasts, especially if boneless. Need I say more?

      3. Scrambled eggs.

      4. Clam chowder (unless it's a place that makes it in small batches and doesn't have to keep it over heat so that it doesn't have to use binders like roux or cornstarch; the thicker the chowder, the lazier the chef)

      5. Rice pilaf (unless its a true practitioner of the art).

      6. Generally: all buffet-suitable food that can be held for long periods over heat. Especially Chinese and Indian buffet. Extra oil makes it glisten and look like its holding up better than it actually is.

    2. Caesar salad. That is one of the most consistently awful menu items ever.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Isolda

        YES! Thank you! Always too salty or too bland. I'm fairly convinced no one actually tastes their Caesar salad dressing before serving it.

        1. Crab cakes, unless you have it on unassailable authority that they will be good.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Veggo

            I agree with crab cakes -- too bad, because good ones are so good. Also, fish tacos -- unless you're sure they're not going to come on flour tortillas, or with cheese. (Eww.) Pizza crust can be disappointing, so I usually won't order pizza unless the restaurant specializes in it or has a wood burning oven. I haven't had that much overcooked pasta. Gnocchi is more problematic.

              1. re: Veggo

                Yes! I swear, I have had like, 3 great restaurant crab cakes in my life. The rest range from passable to downright awful. I go through periods of being Pescatarian, so often a crab cake is one of my only options and wow, is that ever a crapshoot.