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Cocktails placed on plates? Etiquette question

WhatsEatingYou Jan 3, 2012 10:38 AM

At an upscale restaurant this past weekend, our table started with a round of drinks. Each of our cocktails were placed in front of us in the center of large plates that were on our table already. I have eaten at many nice restaurants and never saw this before. Can cocktails be placed on the place setting plates? We each had a bread plate and used the place setting plates for the appetizers then they were cleared as our dinner was served. It made me nervous to have a martini glass directly in front of me (for fear of knocking it over!) and I moved mine from the plate was that acceptable? What were these plates for?

  1. Quine Jan 3, 2012 10:48 AM

    Personally, I have not had this happen to me. I would only be bothered by it, if I was then expected to use the plate later for a food item. Just because I have no clue where the bottom of the glass was before it went on my plate. Along the same lines I *hate* when the server brings my coffee to the table with the small dish of creamer perched onto of the cup. I always send that back for a clean cup.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Quine
      WhatsEatingYou Jan 3, 2012 01:26 PM

      I was also bothered by the cleanliness factor!
      Absolutely hate it when diners bring out breakfasts literally stacked on one another!

    2. l
      LeoLioness Jan 3, 2012 11:52 AM

      I've never seen this, and I tend to favor places with craft cocktail programs. Weird.

      1 Reply
      1. re: LeoLioness
        WhatsEatingYou Jan 3, 2012 01:01 PM

        It's reassuring that others have not seen this!
        Whats so funny is my friends at the table just went along with it, which made me convinced I was the only one not in the know...making me not wanting to ask... haha

      2. e
        escondido123 Jan 3, 2012 01:34 PM

        Can they? Yes. Should they? Depends upon if they're those sloppy cocktail--the ones that are filled to the brim--though I would hope a cocktail napkin was put down first. But have to say it wouldn't bother me.

        1. f
          fourunder Jan 3, 2012 03:46 PM

          The practice of putting drinks on show plates is very common in my area of New York and New Jersey at better restaurants .....and almost always at fine catered affairs. The show plates are removed before first course...or the first course is placed atop the show plate.

          5 Replies
          1. re: fourunder
            g
            Gail Jan 3, 2012 03:55 PM

            fourunder, you've got it just right. These plates are called chargers and they are used exactly as you said.

            1. re: Gail
              f
              fourunder Jan 3, 2012 03:59 PM

              thanks...I get lucky once in a while.

              : 0 )

              1. re: Gail
                WhatsEatingYou Jan 4, 2012 06:16 AM

                Okay so it is acceptable to put the cocktail on the charger (they didn't use a cocktail napkin), but is also okay if I move it. I assume they should have placed another plate on top of the charger when our appetizers arrived...

                1. re: WhatsEatingYou
                  i
                  Isolda Jan 4, 2012 06:27 AM

                  Yes, this is correct. Chargers are not supposed to be used for food. Rather, they go under the plates that contain the food and are themselves removed after the first course. This is how it used to be, anyway. Now, I'm not so sure people agree on the "rules" of etiquette because it seems like anything goes!

                  1. re: Isolda
                    l
                    LeoLioness Jan 4, 2012 07:42 AM

                    I seriously just learned what a charger was, like, last month. I was shopping for a Christmas party and found what appeared to be pretty, cheap, festive-looking plates. I got to the register and realized they said "not for food" and was totally confused.

            2. s
              smartie Jan 3, 2012 03:55 PM

              seems weird to me, the proper place for a drink is right hand side just above the knife. If my drink was placed on my plate I would move it right away, for one thing I would probably knock it over with my hand or the menu.

              1. babette feasts Jan 3, 2012 04:47 PM

                Cocktails placed on the chargers? Only if it's shrimp cocktail!

                1. t
                  thimes Jan 4, 2012 11:13 AM

                  I've certainly been to places with chargers - nice places too - and they were never used for drinks. But what do i know. . . .

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: thimes
                    f
                    fourunder Jan 4, 2012 07:56 PM

                    Most people do not know the proper use for each item on a place setting before them...whether it be a plate, glass or utensil.......I certainly do not and could not care less in the thick of things.

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