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What do you expect to come with an entree?

I went to a casual seafood restaurant (jeans fine). On the menu, there were appetizers, main entrees on top. At the bottom, sides and desserts. The entrees had descriptions like (leaving out details of where it's from, how prepared, etc.): halibut with oyster mushrooms and creamy grits $27, scallops with cauliflower puree and wild mushrooms $26, sablefish with watercress salad and xxx (I can't remember) $29. Sides were things like mac and cheese, cole slaw, onion rings, braised collard greens, things like that. From the descriptions and price, I assumed an entree would be a meal entree, where the protein was part of a whole meal. I ordered scallops and got four scallops, a little sauce and four mushrooms on a little rectangular plate that looked like an appetizer. They were excellent but I was still hungry afterward. Is it wrong to assume an entree, not a "protein" or "meat, fish, chicken" list (I've seen this before, but then there are lists of "vegetables", "starches" below and it's clear that's all you're getting), should come with more? I'm not complaining as much as wondering if this is becoming a new norm.

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    1. I have found it really varies. If I haven't been to a place and can't get a look at the plates being served, I ask about portions. In some places an appetizer is a lot of food so I might order two of those instead of a main, but if the main is small that means a side. Best to ask IMHO.

      4 Replies
      1. re: escondido123

        I've never been to a place that had such small entrees which is why I'm wondering if t's a new thing. I often order a side of vegetables and will ask if how much vegetable there really is. But, I've never spent that much on an entree (in addition to sharing a dozen oysters on the half shell) and been hungry. Part of being on CH is that people always put the onus on the customer to ask--if I were to ask about everything that CHs say I should, I'd just be one pain of a customer (how much is the special, how large are the oysters, is the xxxx included, how much cauliflower puree do I get, how many scallops do I get and how large are they, how large is the serving of wild mushrooms, can I can my appetizer before my entree--yes I've been told I need to do that, how much is that glass of wine that you substituted for what I ordered, etc.).

        1. re: chowser

          I think if the restaurant does not make it clear in some way what you should expect to receive then they should have to put up with a lot of questions--assuming it is not a diner and you've ordered the $6.99 dinner special...though it is usually very clear what you get in that case--maybe even a picture.

          1. re: chowser

            Actually you could just ask if the entree is meant to be enough for one person's dinner, or if sides are needed. I almost always end up asking something like this at new places, especially if the items look like "small plates" or if they are meant for sharing.

            We just tried a new Lebenese place and had no idea about portion sizes, and the menu was divided into many different sections. We just asked how many dishes from each section a hungry couple might order, and the waitress steered us correctly.

            There's a restaurant that I like that serves a scallop dish just like the one you describe. But, the menu is divided into appetizers, small plates, and large plates, and the scallops are considered a small plate. So, we would order other items as well. If your menu was typical American (so, not small plates or tapas or anything like that) that I too probably would have expected more from an entree.

            1. re: christy319

              Yes, exactly--if this had come off the small plates on the menu, it's what I would have expected. But, this was off the larger plates/entree side. If I'm not sure, I normally ask and I do expect, as with most restaurants, that the protein will be the major component of the dish. With the description, I thought otherwise, but it never occurred to me that the protein would be about the only component of the dish!

        2. I guess it depends on the type of restaurant... and we don't usually frequent that type. When we order an entree for dinner, even at our nicer restaurants around here, we get soup or salad, the entree, along with 2 sides (starches, vegetables). These are usually portions that are what one would find on a family dinner plate. Especially for something that cost over $20. Heck, even on $9 entree's.
          Now I know things are different in big cities, in fancy restaurants, but here, one can get a great steak, with everything else for $20.

          1 Reply
          1. re: wyogal

            This wasn't fancy but it was pricey for us, as a casual place. Generally, when I spend that much on an entree, I don't leave feeling hungry!

          2. I'm pretty sure I know where you are talking about and won't mention the name. I will agree that ordering the "entree" brings not all that much food and you need sides to round it out.
            The best bet at this particular place is to go with the meat and two ;-)

            3 Replies
            1. re: monavano

              The meat and two did catch my eye and i"ll do that next time. I had oysters on the half shell and the scallops--I got my share of protein! This seemed out of the ordinary enough that I would have thought I'd have heard about it somewhere. And, the funny thing is I'm normally the one who complains about getting too much food.

              1. re: chowser

                Me too! I remember specifically being disappointed with the sablefish portion, although it tasted good. I picked at it slowly so I wouldn't finish too quickly.
                Meat and two.. way to go. I like to hit them up on flat iron steak night ;-)

                1. re: monavano

                  I'll keep the flat iron steak in mind--thanks! When I received my entree, I was asked if I wanted another glass of wine and said yes. I ate slowly but 7-8 bites later, I was on my last scallop. I finished off the goldfish w/ my glass of wine.

            2. funnily enough I had the opposite experience the other night...

              we went to a local pub. The menu said fish and chips and went on to describe in detail the fish and the chips (beer-battered, hand cut etc etc).
              I assumed that I would be getting just fish and chips (for a price that's on the low side for here) so ordered a side of coleslaw (which brought the price up to about what I'd expect to pay).

              Well, the fish and chips came with coleslaw and so with the (giant) side I ordered I had a mound of coleslaw to get through. Fortunately my husband's meal wasn't quite so generous with the veg so he ate quite a lot of the coleslaw.

              I was slightly annoyed though that the waiter didn't tell me that I was already getting coleslaw and that I might prefer a different side. But it also seemed odd that there was no mention of it on the menu.

              1 Reply
              1. re: piwakawaka

                Maybe the server thought you'd REALLY like the cole slaw.;-) I've had a server warn me that I probably didn't want as much as I'd ordered and tell me how much food the serving came with. I was very appreciative because I barely made a dent in the dinner.