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Prix Fixe question: ordering an extra app instead of dessert

free sample addict aka Tracy L Oct 19, 2012 08:42 PM

I usually enjoy a prix fixe meal, but I am not a huge fan of dessert. Is it a faux pas asking for an additional similarly priced app instead of a dessert? Of course I wouldn't want it as a dessert course, the main course would be the last course.

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    Harters RE: free sample addict aka Tracy L Oct 20, 2012 03:11 AM

    Starters and desserts are usually priced fairly similarly on most menus, so there's no financial reason why a restaurant wouldnt want to accommodate you with their set menu. Why not just ask the server.

    1. sunshine842 RE: free sample addict aka Tracy L Oct 20, 2012 03:15 AM

      I would expect this to vary widely from restaurant to restaurant.

      In Europe, you can usually order two courses, with it being your choice of starter+main or main+dessert.

      (we sometimes split it - one orders starter+main, the other orders main+dessert, then we split the starter and dessert)

      1 Reply
      1. re: sunshine842
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        Harters RE: sunshine842 Oct 20, 2012 04:27 AM

        Certainly the case in the UK with many set menus priced for two or three courses - but I've never asked if I could have two starters and a main.

      2. babette feasts RE: free sample addict aka Tracy L Oct 20, 2012 10:58 AM

        I don't think it is wrong to ask nicely if it would be possible.

        1. free sample addict aka Tracy L RE: free sample addict aka Tracy L Oct 20, 2012 11:09 AM

          Thanks, I tend to think in most cases the worst someone can say is no, but I wanted to make sure that I wouldn't be out of line.

          1 Reply
          1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L
            ipsedixit RE: free sample addict aka Tracy L Oct 20, 2012 11:28 AM

            I agree with babette feasts up above.

            It is certainly not a "faux pas" in the way that picking your nose or sipping wine with a straw would be.

            Just inquire, preferably ahead of time, and all should be good to go.

          2. Motosport RE: free sample addict aka Tracy L Oct 20, 2012 11:24 AM

            A little off subject but: We were at an "all inclusive" resort in the Carribean last year (not by choice).
            At the "Fancy French" restaurant I ordered a salad and soup. The server said, "sorry, you can have soup or salad but not both." My head started spinning.
            "What does all inclusive mean?" Blank stare.
            After a long debate with the manager I got my way. WTH???

            3 Replies
            1. re: Motosport
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              cleobeach RE: Motosport Oct 21, 2012 05:38 AM

              We have done all inclusives with my family and, in our experience, the resorts have procedures in place to make sure the guests don't get anything extra. I am not surprised to hear your request was met with resistance, we had similar situations as it related to simple requests.

              1. re: cleobeach
                bagelman01 RE: cleobeach Oct 21, 2012 08:54 AM

                This reminds me of a Dennis the Menace cartoon from the early 60s:

                Dennis is running a lemonade stand with a sign that says: "Lemonade 5 cents, All you can drink" Mr. Wilson buys a glass and asks for a refill, Dennis refuses. Mr. Wilson says "the signs says 'All you can drink"
                Dennis replies: "I say, that's all you can drink!"

                There's no such thing as a free lunch. From experience I've found that 'all inclusives' either get by with inferior food, limit which courseds you can order, OR the more costly items disappear in the first 5 minutes and you're told , sorry it's all gone.
                Making 25 portions of filet when there are 300 for dinner, makes the menu look good but alienates the guests. There's only so many nights of pasta and chicken guests will put up with even with all the cheap wine and beer.

                1. re: bagelman01
                  Motosport RE: bagelman01 Oct 24, 2012 07:33 AM

                  That's been my experience. All inclusive is never my choice but:
                  With corporate gatherings the companies always pick all inclusive places to keep things simple. There are also so many people that love "all you can eat and drink."
                  For so many inexperienced American travelers all inclusive and cruises are "safe". No decisions to make and even when the resort is in a foreign country it's a well guarded compound.
                  Exactly the opposite of what we want when we travel.

            2. olyolyy RE: free sample addict aka Tracy L Oct 20, 2012 02:24 PM

              Unless it says no substitutions it can't hurt to ask...I can see how certain places may not want to accommodate however.

              1. Delucacheesemonger RE: free sample addict aka Tracy L Oct 24, 2012 04:06 AM

                As l almost never get dessert always order an app for dessert, not two apps before main, but app, main, app. Thus l eat my main with everyone else's main. l love tripe or blood sausage for dessert. Even with non prix fixe, will order an app l really like for dessert while others are getting chocolate berries or whatever. Rarely a problem, better the restaurant less the problem.
                When Gary Danko wa at SF Ritz, the meals were based on getting whatever you wanted whenever you wanted. Lobster three times, dessert first, dessert first and last, whatever, loved the place as they encouraged this behavior.

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