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"It's Too Big" -- And Other Bizarre Restaurant Complaints

  • j

I was at a restaurant yesterday in Las Vegas and witnessed a very strange exchange between a patron and restaurant manager, so I thought I would post about it.

This happened at Central at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. As with most hotels, food prices are high. The turkey club sandwich on the menu is $18. But at the same time, it is a big sandwich. Actually, it's huge, with a lot of turkey and a pretty thick layer of bacon strips. My friend ordered it in a half-sandwich with soup and we joked about the size. As we were eating, we noticed that the woman at the table next to us had ordered the full sandwich. She and the guy she was with were probably late-20s or early-30s and she was model-thin. We all laughed about the size of the sandwich.

Cut to the end of the meal. We weren't paying attention to them, but suddenly we notice that the guy is arguing with the manager. They have finished and she has half her sandwich left. The guy is complaining that the sandwich is too big. The manager suggests they take it to go, but the guy complains that isn't the problem. The sandwich is too big -- as in the physical size is too large.

(Yes, that did just beg for a witty, yet inappropriate comment, but I was too sleep-deprived and stunned to think of anything.)

In any event, the manager is totally perplexed. He says they sell 200 of the sandwiches a day and nobody has ever complained about the sandwich being too big. The woman says that they do and then points to our table and says we did too. My friend, who has finished his half-sandwich, pronounced it delicious, and picked clean every crumb off his plate -- is dumbfounded. Meanwhile, the manager offers to cut the woman's half-sandwich into two smaller pieces or to repack the original sandwich somehow so it is smaller. But the man and woman are insistent that won't work and it doesn't fix the problem that the sandwich is too big.

My friend and I quickly got our check, told our waiter that we had absolutely no problem with the sandwich, and beat a path to the exit. But we spent the rest of the weekend laughing about the scene. It had to be the strangest complaint I've ever heard anyone make at a restaurant. And it made me wonder about what other bizarre complaints people here have heard.

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  1. There was, may still is, a restaurant in San Diego called something like Hash House a GoGo. I think they had another restaurant in LV too. Anyway, their plates were huge. Not that there's anything wrong with that, unless you don't like a lot of food in front of you. Still remember the first time I went there and they served me a plate that was good for 2-3 people.

    5 Replies
    1. re: hankstramm

      I went to Hash House in Vegas and agree that the portions are huge. It first it was amusing, but then we started to feel badly because it felt like we barely made a dent in our food and with no fridge in the hotel room, it would have gone to waste. Had we known better, we should have split a dish but we still would not have finished. The food was great, butI I didn't like having to see so much food go to waste from the two of us, as well as manty of the people around us.

      I wouldn't ever complain to a restaurant about getting too much food, though. As for all of the people saying people should have seen the size of other people's plates, I usualy don't spend too much time food gazing at other people's tables unless something catches my eye and I want to order it, although I have usually ordered by then!

      1. re: aasg

        We went to Hash House a Go Go when we were in Vegas: OMG!! Enormous portions!! I wish we had a fridge in our hotel room. Actually they made me wish I lived in Vegas!!
        Three meals for the price of one.
        I NEVER would imagine complaining.

        1. re: Motosport

          Out in Henderson, our hotel/casino had a Hash House a Go Go. I had never experienced one before. The first morning, I spent time talking to my server. Still, the portions were overly-large. I ate there two more mornings, and finally got the "equation" correct. On that third morning, I got what I wanted, and in portions that I could actually eat, and not worry about "starving children in Bangladesh."


          1. re: Bill Hunt

            I grew up with "the starving Armenians".

            1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

              For me, growing up, it was "the starving children in China," originally.


    2. sometimes people say those things when they really mean to say, "i don't want to pay for the large portion you serve."

      personally, since i eat a lot, i LOVE big portions so that i don't need to order two entrees to feel full.
      also, if i like the restaurant well enough to go there in the first place, i normally would enjoy having left overs to take home

      9 Replies
      1. re: westsidegal

        The only point in engaging in that kind of argument has to be to try and get something comped. If eating a very large sandwich (and being surprised by the large size) is a reason you are unhappy with your meal and want something else - that's a valid point to bring up such a complaint. But at the end of meal like that it can only be done in the attempt of not having to pay the listed price.

        Most salad offerings in Israeli restaurants are essentially dinner salad size and as a side salad or appetizer, one easily can feed 4 people. While it's definitely a complaint of mine regarding restaurant trends in Israel, I would love to see what would happen in response to carrying on with an argument about how they're just "too big".

        1. re: cresyd

          Good luck on getting comped. They are basicaly complaing about getting more than they expected. OK, so don't eat it all or take it with you.

          1. re: cresyd

            OT, but related to the above post:
            my favorite israeli restaurant in los angeles serves an array of about 15 of all sorts of salads along with any main dish.
            for most of them, the dish is refilled for free during the course of the meal.
            i've been known to go through 4 or 5 refills of their celery salad and at least 2 refills of a couple of their eggplant salads each time i go there.
            they won't, however, refill the cucumber/tomato salad (the one that resembles a shirazi salad in a persian restaurant)

            1. re: westsidegal

              Ah - we are talking about two different types of salad in the Israeli culinary world.

              You have your "salad" which are the small dishes of pickled veggies, fresh salads, hummus, eggplant dishes, etc. mix of Middle Eastern and Eastern European fare. Though 'salads' in Hebrew, in Arabic would more or less be mezze. These options are found at certain kinds of restaurants.

              Then you have your "salad" which would be more or less how salads are perceived in the North American/European sense of the term. Bed of leafy greens, topped with other veggies, and then various mixes of nuts, seeds, cheeses, meats, etc. These salads are mostly found at cafes and other restaurants that do not typically have the salads as mentioned in my first paragraph. These are the "too big" salads of which I'm complaining. (Locally the way they'd be differentiated other than in context is that the first paragraph salads are typically refered to in the plural)

              As it's often in a cafe - and as an American - the idea of a soup and salad (or salad and small something else) is appealing. However, both in size and price this option rarely makes sense (unless you're sharing).

              1. re: cresyd

                <<both in size and price this option rarely makes sense (unless you're sharing).>>

                i can't figure out what you mean here.
                the AYCE aspect of it means that a person will get all the salads whether or not s/he is sharing.
                if the person IS sharing, BOTH people will be charged (i.e. there will be 2 charges) which is normal for AYCE option meals.

                i get all the salads whether or not i have a dining partner.

                1. re: westsidegal

                  I'm sorry you found my post confusing. I was trying to differentiate between the two types of "salad" in an Israeli dining context. The small AYCE many little salads and the huge entre sized single salad option often found at cafes.

                  The AYCE option was not what I was complaining about - but rather the classic "cafe" salad that you find in Israel. These salads are not AYCE and are not many dishes of different salads. Rather one huge salad. In Israel the restaurants that serve the AYCE small options are typically centered around either meat or fish main courses. The restaurants that serve the large entre-sized salads are typically cafes, dairy restaurants, and places that are modeled after European/American style restaurants.

                  So my complaint about "having" to share is based around the inability to order anything other than an entre sized salad that would make the Cheesecake Factory proud. In Israel at a vast majority of places, the meal option of "soup and salad" ordered in a restaurant could easily feed 2-3 and is a bizarrely large and rather expensive order for one. This has nothing to do with AYCE small salads.

                  1. re: cresyd

                    ok, now i understand.
                    thank you.

                    (speaking as someone who orders TWO cheesecake factory full-sized salads for one meal)

                2. re: cresyd

                  <<both in size and price this option rarely makes sense (unless you're sharing).>>

                  i can't figure out what you mean here.
                  the AYCE aspect of it means that if a person will get all the salads whether or not s/he is sharing.
                  if the person IS sharing, BOTH people will be charged (i.e. there will be 2 charges) which is normal for AYCE option meals.

                  1. re: westsidegal

                    That part of cresyd's post is about an entree salad that is too big to order if you also want to have soup, because those two things together would be too much food, and too expensive, for one person to eat in a single meal. cresyd is not talking about AYCE side salads except to note that both types of salads exist.

          2. I once saw Michael Symon tell the story of a customer who praised everything about a meal at one of his restaurants, then said he was never coming back because the portion didn't leave him enough for leftovers to take home.

            1. Did he mean too high, as in hard to get your jaws around? I've had that observation about sandwiches in the past but never to the level of complaining about it (I just squish it down).

              Strangest complaints I've heard have come from people who know they don't like a particular ingredient, order it anyway, then complain that the dish tastes too much like the offensive ingredient. Mushrooms, tomatoes, cilantro, to name a few. Ingredients were clearly listed on the menu.

              14 Replies
              1. re: tcamp

                Seems like these people find something to complain about everything. They aren't satisfied no matter what.

                If my sandwich were $18, I'd expect it to be big. LOL!

                1. re: tcamp

                  This is what I thought also. On occasion, I've had to partially disassemble a sandwich in order to eat it comfortably (and/or without having its contents fall on my shirt!).

                  1. re: tcamp

                    The complaint was rather non-specific, but I suspect that may have been part of the issue -- that it was too large for her to get her jaws around (hence why I should have made an inappropriate remark). Somehow, she did manage to eat half of it though.

                    Also, as I said, the manager did offer to do the remaining half. If the size was too physically tall, they could have easily removed some of the turkey, bacon, and lettuce, plus the middle slice of bread to make the half smaller. With the removed portion they could have made a smaller sandwich. And I'll bet the manager probably would have even given them an extra quarter slice of bread to make an entire new, smaller sandwich.

                    1. re: Jwsel

                      There are some people you just can't make happy.
                      Some people are out to get any dish comped they can for any reason and will even brag about it later. I have no idea what to do about them. I lump them in the category of my friends that are bad tippers and arrange never to eat out with them.

                      1. re: Jwsel

                        Actually, I am clearly in the minority here, but if a sandwich proves difficult to eat due to its size (requiring one unhinge one's jaws, or attempt to rebuild the item to manageable proportions) that is something to take into account.

                        People here say they would throw a strop if faced with too small a sandwich for their $18. But wouldn't the requirement to make a new one just so one can eat also be aggravating at $18?

                        1. re: Lizard

                          "Actually, I am clearly in the minority here, but if a sandwich proves difficult to eat due to its size (requiring one unhinge one's jaws, or attempt to rebuild the item to manageable proportions) that is something to take into account."

                          How about using a knife and fork? That's standard procedure for open faced sandwiches.

                          1. re: Bob Martinez

                            A knife and fork is perfectly fine. I tend to use a set for most things (which was won me derision from 'hounds on other threads). However, this may not be ideal or desirable.

                            But I'm not sure why you all are so upset over the possibility that a too large sandwich, which yields difficulty in consumption, is such a horrible thing to mention or complain about. I don't support demands for compensation of any kind, nor do I support the apparently rude behaviour of the duo. But I'm not about to scoff at the complaint as if it were the most ridiculous thing I've heard.

                            1. re: Lizard

                              I think the main problem is that she had already ate half of it prior to complaining. It couldn't have been inedible or too difficult to eat, since she actually ate half of it.

                              If it was truly too difficult to eat, she could have notified the server prior to eating half of the dish. The kitchen could have then replated it more towards her suiting. Or, she could do what the vast majority of the population would do and figure out a way to make it more manageable to eat (i.e. take off the top half of the sandwich if it is a triple decker, eat with fork, remove some of the meat, etc).

                            2. re: Bob Martinez

                              or, even better, use that knife and fork to remove some of the filling.
                              this is not at all complicated.

                              i second Bob Marinez' take on the matter

                            3. re: Lizard

                              First of all I wouldn't throw a strop (not sure what that is but I wouldn't throw it) either way, especially if it was clear I was certainly able to gobble half of it down, and I didn't complain until after I ingested it. Second, I've had to take a fork and knife to several burgers in my past that were just too damn big/messy to eat. It didn't scar me for life.

                              1. re: Firegoat

                                I've done the same thing - used a knife and fork for burgers that got too sloppy to pick up.

                                At a local restaurant I've recently been ordering a ham and swiss club at lunch. The sandwich is normal sized but it *is* tall. Tall enough to make picking it up and biting into it awkward. Again, Mr. Knife and Mr. Fork were there to rescue me.

                                1. re: Firegoat

                                  "First of all I wouldn't throw a strop (not sure what that is but I wouldn't throw it) either way..."

                                  Never heard of it either until now. Learned something new!

                                  strop 2 |strɒp|
                                  noun [ usu. in sing. ] Brit. informal
                                  a bad mood; a temper: Nathalie gets in a strop and makes to leave.

                                  1. re: ttoommyy

                                    Learn something new everyday! I thought I was going to have to sharpen some straight edge razors or something and then throw it!

                                    1. re: ttoommyy

                                      I'd heard (read?) "stroppy" meaning ticked off, cranky, etc. Probably in some Anglo murder mystery...And I think the person so described was a woman, as in this dictionary def.

                                      Wonder if there's any implied link, as there is with b:tchy.

                            4. I seem to recall some article or news story over the weekend about this subject, but for the life of me cannot remember where I saw or heard it. One of the points brought up was a customer complaining the service was too good at a particular restaurant which meant he had to tip more than he wanted to.

                              Some people are never satisfied with anything in this precious life we are given.

                              1. I can understand the woman's complaint. We rarely go out any more portions are just too big. We were in Kansas City a few weeks ago. We went to a restaurant with my uncle (mid 80's) and my husband and I (mid 60's). We all ordered schnitzel. The portions were so big that we all just ate about a quarter of the food. The 3 of us were intimidated by the portion size. The server commented on how little we ate and that did we want to take the rest with us and we might have but we were traveling.

                                It would be nice to be able to order a half portion and less wasteful too.

                                10 Replies
                                1. re: Candy

                                  "It would be nice to be able to order a half portion and less wasteful too."

                                  Many restaurants allow sharing a plate without a service charge these days. And in your case, even a service charge would be less cost (and waste) than ordering and paying for a dish you do not want. Just an idea you may want to try.

                                  1. re: Candy

                                    The OP said that his/her friend ordered a half-sandwich, so looks like that was clearly an option ... which the complainer chose not to take.

                                    1. re: almond tree

                                      Just to clarify, the half-sandwich was part of a fixed lunch that was gazpacho (a great version made with yellow tomatoes), a half-sandwich, and dessert for $30. I don't think they had a regular half-sandwich option.

                                      1. re: Jwsel

                                        Also she didn't complain until after she was served and had eaten half the sandwich.
                                        That the companion was arguing with the manager, once again, after half the meal was consumed, is crazy. I don't know what they hoped to accomplish by doing this (as someone above said, maybe that the meal get comped, despite the fact that they ate half of it).
                                        Geez...some people.

                                    2. re: Candy

                                      "We rarely go out any more as portions are just too big."

                                      Our thoughts exactly. Too many restaurants from fast food (think Five guys & Hardies) to fine dining want to increase their average check size by offering portions only suitable for the obese. When traveling, take-home is rarely practical and even near home, are leftovers really desirable / enjoyable?

                                      Some (primarily seniors from what I can tell), do want / expect leftovers so they don't have to cook, but for us, such leftovers are never as good / enjoyable the second time around.

                                      Then there are the 16-20+ oz soft drinks selling for $2 and up - who really wants / needs that much corn syrup in one sitting? Don't even get me started on buffets - does anyone really feel good after pigging out at a typical buffet?

                                      End result is we eat out less and less each year, although we do have a core of a few places (typically local / family owned) that we do enjoy which happen to offer "normal" sized, quality meals. There are many places to which we will never return and/or will never try simply because the portions are way too large. Is anyone really surprised why places such as the recently closed Stage Door Deli in NYC are having problems attracting customers (especially repeat customers).

                                      Overall, however, we are evidently in the minority as most places with huge portions do tend to be packed (along with their typical patrons).

                                      1. re: Clams047

                                        "who really wants / needs that much corn syrup in one sitting? "
                                        love it!

                                      2. re: Candy

                                        when you entered the restaurant and walked to your table you didn't look at what the people at the other tables were eating?

                                        1. re: westsidegal

                                          Occasionally. Often it is dim so it is kind of difficult to see, we are in a restaurant we don't know (traveling). etc. The trip we were on last week we asked to have an extra plate so we could share the main course. I really don't like being intimidated by the amount of food in front of me.

                                          1. re: Candy

                                            <<I really don't like being intimidated by the amount of food in front of me.>>

                                            well i really don't like going out to eat and being served such small portions that i'm hungry two hours later.

                                            there's no point to going out to eat if i will need to prepare more food when i get home.

                                            since i eat out at least 5 times a week, and i order well and i tip well, i'm the kind of customer that restaurants like to have as a regular. maybe other regular restaurant patrons like large sizes too.

                                            restaurants cater to the type of customer that they want as a regular (i.e. a customer that can be counted on to regularly contribute to the bottom line.)

                                            1. re: westsidegal

                                              <<well i really don't like going out to eat and being served such small portions that i'm hungry two hours later.>>

                                              I hear about such, and dine out maybe 250x per year, usually at high-end restaurants, and often with Chef's Tasting Menus, with tiny portions.

                                              I really do not know what you are talking about. I cannot remember a time, when I was hungry, after dining.

                                              Over the last 15 years, I have complained about portions being too large (and often discuss that with the GM), far more than portions being too small. It is like 200:0 for me. Maybe we just dine at different restaurants?


                                      3. I had a guest at my table order an entree with extra capers. Then he complained it was too salty. So I returned it to the kitchen and had it remade without the extra capers. Then he complained that there weren't enough capers. So I brought him a side of them and watched him dump them all over his plate. Guess what? It was too salty. SMH

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. For the most part I don't have a problem with large portions. I just eat what I want and take the rest away. Most leftovers reheat nicely. In the case of a sandwich, there's usually no need to reheat at all.

                                          The only complication is if you're traveling and you've got nowhere to store leftovers. That said, you'd think the sandwiches' $18 price tag might have caused those people to ask about the size.

                                          There are some people who think they're making a moral point by complaining about large portions. Somehow the fact that they get an extra large portion comes at the expense of hungry people in the third world. Of course it doesn't really work that way, especially if you take food away and get a second meal out of it. There's no waste at all.

                                          If people routinely throw away the leftover food I'd have an issue with that.

                                          11 Replies
                                          1. re: Bob Martinez

                                            Why? It still doesn't feed children-starving-in-Europe. Cooks and/or resto managers shall not dictate how much I will eat. And I hate leftovers.

                                            1. re: mwhitmore

                                              "Cooks and/or resto managers shall not dictate how much I will eat. "

                                              But they do. If they give you a small portion you may be hungry. If they give you a big portion you have a choice. Eat it all or take some away.

                                              Hate leftovers? Best to avoid Big Portion places like Cheesecake Factory. Not sure if the portion will be too big? Ask the server. Problem solved.

                                              None of this is particularly hard to do.

                                              1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                No, I have another choice. Eat as much as I want and leave the rest.

                                              2. re: mwhitmore

                                                "Cooks and/or resto managers shall not dictate how much I will eat. And I hate leftovers.

                                                Then do not go to a restaurant.

                                                1. re: mwhitmore

                                                  Well, I love leftovers. That said, I don't like restaurants that serve huge portions for a huge price. I'd rather pay less and get a size I can finish, but if it's good enough I have no problem taking some home for another yummy meal.

                                                  1. re: EWSflash

                                                    in my experience, most of the time, the restaurants that serve huge portions are LOWER priced than the ones that serve small portions.
                                                    both of my two favorite "huge portion" restaurants charge less than comparable "small portion" restaurants.

                                                    1. re: westsidegal

                                                      That has been our experience.
                                                      There is a diner (I think it is the Island Grill) on Long Island (Suffolk County) that has a children's menu.
                                                      Sometimes the same items are on the regular menu. We'd go there with our son. I would order the same pasta dish as my son and both came out the same portion size.
                                                      Lots of great leftovers from that place.

                                                      1. re: westsidegal

                                                        If you are pleased with the quality of those "large portion restaurants," and have a way to preserve the extras, or can enjoy them, at the seating, then there is nothing wrong with that.

                                                        I often hear people complain about smaller portions, when they planned on taking home enough food, to feed a family of 6, for a week. Some folk dine out for different reasons, than others.


                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                          when did the expectation of left-overs from a restaurant meal become the norm though? i recall taking home those little white boxes from chinese or left-over pizza on nights out when i was a kid, but nothing else. maybe that was my mom not wanting them? dunno.

                                                          i feel like portions starting super-sizing in the 80s?

                                                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                            I cannot answer that question.

                                                            Now, we are atypical, in that we are often traveling, and seldom have a full kitchen, back in the room. While "leftovers" are not an issue at home, they can be, on the "road." Somehow, cold risotto and cold pork loin, just do not overwhelm me for breakfast.

                                                            While I HAVE had some cold leftovers, that surprised me, they are a rarity, and not a norm.

                                                            Even back in my youth, when dining at local, family-style restaurants, my family almost never did "doggie bags." It was just not expected, or done.

                                                            Still, many feel that the entire neighborhood should not have to cook for a week. Oh well.


                                                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                              It is the norm in areas with lots of retirees. Early bird specials and entrees at chains like Carrabas, Cheesecake Factory etc. where the portions are enough for two meals.

                                                  2. In the Miss Manners column that ran in my local newspaper yesterday, a waiter wrote in about a couple he had served. The woman berated him for calling her "young lady" and said it was disrespectful of her age. Then the man berated him for calling him "sir" and said it made him feel old.


                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: AmyH

                                                      You didn't mention that the server was young enough to be the customer's child. I agree that "young lady" is condescending in this case, meaning young lady is reserved for the young, ie < 12, and that's pushing it.

                                                      The sir complaint was ridiculous, as Miss Manners said.

                                                    2. That is odd but then again my lovely wife also complains about portions being too big. It happens so often that I stopped suggesting she only eat as much as she wants and take home the rest is also an option!!
                                                      Her pet peeve is the size of bagel at Ess-A-Bagel. They are huge. I eat half and save half for later. I love their bagels.
                                                      She also complains when I make a 2 egg omelette so I started making her 1 egg omelettes. Still complains!!
                                                      Go figure?

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: Motosport

                                                        Next time, just crack half an egg.

                                                          1. re: carlee134

                                                            Problem solved, at least for the next 3 weeks. We are sitting for our grand dog!! His nickname is "Hoover."

                                                        1. re: Motosport

                                                          She's like my MIL. She always complains that she's given too much food.
                                                          I told her maybe she should move out of Texas.

                                                          1. re: Michelly

                                                            That's a hoot!!! Lovely wife is from Dallas!!

                                                        2. I remember an occasion where a person at the table next to us ordered an ice cream sundae. When it arrived, the customer said it was much too small -- so the waitress took it away and brought a gargantuan one, which was accepted and happily consumed. No problems apparently. But then when the bill arrived the customer wanted to pay only the price of the small sundae and argued vehemently about it.

                                                          7 Replies
                                                          1. re: drongo

                                                            Ridiculous. I hope the restaurant didn't cave in.

                                                            1. re: Kontxesi

                                                              sometimes it's easier to just let people like that go away.

                                                              1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                The customer is always right attitude is why we have so many customers with a skewed sense of entitlement.

                                                                  1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                    The reality is that while the customer SHOULD always come first, the customer is NOT always right.

                                                                    After all, people as a whole, are generally stupid. :)

                                                                    1. re: Midknight

                                                                      And, if they are planning on feeding the entire neighborhood for a week, from two regular meal orders, they are "doubly stupid!"


                                                              2. re: drongo

                                                                They should have charged the customer for both sundaes!

                                                              3. I can understand the customer being unhappy, but not necessarily raising a fuss about it. I also get annoyed/frustrated when the only options on a menu are large portions for large prices. It seems to me that some restaurants give extremely large portions in order to justify inflated prices. ("Yes, it's a lot of $$ for a salad/sandwich/burger, but look how much food you get!") Meanwhile, since I don't need that much food, I'd much prefer a restaurant "right size" the portion and then price it accordingly.

                                                                I wouldn't complain about it though. I realize I am probably in the minority. I just try not to go to restaurants that do this. Sometimes it's out of my control though, in which case I just shrug and hope for better next time.

                                                                9 Replies
                                                                1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                  the fixed costs of the restaurant are the same for every serving, no matter what the size.

                                                                  because of this, normally the restaurant can offer a better VALUE for the customer by serving a larger portion at a higher price.

                                                                  if you prefer a lower absolute price, a smaller portion, and a WORSE VALUE, i'm sure there are plenty of restaurants around that will oblige.

                                                                  personally, i have the opposite point of view. i prefer a better value to a lower absolute price.

                                                                  1. re: westsidegal

                                                                    I am not going to argue with you. I'm just going to reiterate that frequently I would prefer a smaller portion for a lower price. If this represents less "value" (as you define it) so be it. To me there is "value" in not having food in front me of that I should not/do not want to eat and not paying additional money for said food.

                                                                    1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                      "I'm just going to reiterate that frequently I would prefer a smaller portion for a lower price."

                                                                      Which is understandable and you have a right to want restaurants to do this.

                                                                      I think what is really at the heart of the OP's post is the way the man and woman argued with the manager. There is a point when a customer must drop the point they are trying to make if it is unreasonable. There is absolutely nothing other than what the manager offered to do in this situation that could be done. This was Vegas; a corporation owns the restaurants at Caesar's. They will set the prices and portions as they see fit. For these two customers to sit there and complain on and on while the manager is bending over backwards to be accomodating, and AFTER the fact I may add, is what many of us find ludicrous about this situation.

                                                                      1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                        I definitely agree with ttoommyy's point that the argument came "after the fact." It the portion size was that offensive, the time to complain was when it arrived since the size would be readily available to discern.

                                                                        1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                          100% agree arguing about it is dumb. I wouldn't have said anything to the restaurant at all. As I stated in my original reply,

                                                                          "I wouldn't complain about it though. I realize I am probably in the minority. I just try not to go to restaurants that do this. Sometimes it's out of my control though, in which case I just shrug and hope for better next time."

                                                                          1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                            If I don't want large portions, I tend to order an appetizer and maybe a cup of soup or side salad.

                                                                            If you think the portions are going to be too big. Ask the server about a half portion or smaller size portion. Sometimes those are available but not listed.

                                                                            Sometimes a little creative ordering can solve the problem.

                                                                            1. re: ML PAVACT

                                                                              Good suggestions for folks who frequently encounter this problem!

                                                                        2. re: charmedgirl

                                                                          although i don't share your feelings about restaurant portions. I DO share those feelings about many grocery items.
                                                                          i'd love it if my favorite cookies came in a smaller package.
                                                                          i'd be fine with paying more per cookie.

                                                                          bread, same story, different reason (to me, it doesn't taste the same after freezing nor after it sits on the counter for a couple of days) would rather be able to buy much smaller loaves of bread.

                                                                          i'd also be happy paying more per ounce for a 1 cup package of my favorite ice cream.

                                                                          i get it.
                                                                          on the other hand, i DON'T go to Costco and complain to the manager that the bulk size of most of their items is << just stupid and offensive and wasteful.>> as JudiAu stated.

                                                                          1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                            Hear hear! I completely agree with you, charmedgirl. Smaller portions with a lower price is what I want to see too. I want HEALTHY portion sizes, and often I don't want to take food home. People can pay for their fatting-of-America portions if they want, but I want a healthy portion option with a matching lower price.

                                                                      2. At my office, we order lunch about 3x a week from a sandwich/salad place across the street. One of my bosses (in his mid-80s), constantly complains that the sandwiches are too large. I would understand if this were a Carnegie Deli type place, where they charge you $25 for a sandwich with four lbs of meat on it, but these are actually perfectly normal sandwiches, for a reasonable price. I understand that his appetite is probably smaller than the average adult, given his age, but really - is it such a problem to just eat half the sandwich? Or to take out some of the filling?

                                                                        1. The lovely lady is third generation Japanese American. First date was at the Alhambra in Grenada, Spain. Next date was in Athens Greece a week later. Third date is in one of my favorite resort towns, Berchtesgaden, Bavaria. Three days of fine alpine dining. In September, so we are not fighting the tourists. Local cheeses, Austrian wine, wild trout, and all things piggy.

                                                                          For our final meal together, we went to the Post Hotel. I had a jagerschnitzel and she has blue trout. Light as a cloud potato dumplings. She looks me straight in the eyes, smiles, and says "You know what would make this perfect? A little mound of rice."

                                                                          Fourth date was in Ebisu, Tokyo. 2 years later.

                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                          1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                            I can relate. Many meals can be made perfect with just a little bit of rice, IMHO. Or a lot.

                                                                            1. re: ricepad

                                                                              Interestingly, it was a Thai student that we rented the MIL suite to that introduced us to the many flavors and types of rice. Almost bought a rice cooker. But my pots with lids do fine. And I keep at least 3 types on the boat. Jasmine, long grain, and sushi.

                                                                            2. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                              I have known Asians who get 'rice hunger'. No matter how much food and how good it is, it isn't a real meal without rice. My Dad felt this way about potatoes.

                                                                              1. re: mwhitmore

                                                                                My Italian BIL feels this way about pasta - although he will
                                                                                be happy with risotto as well.

                                                                                1. re: mwhitmore

                                                                                  I have never heard of this. Learn something new every day.

                                                                                  1. re: mwhitmore

                                                                                    I get cranky if I don't have rice every couple of days. Fortunately, since I do most of the cooking, I get to decide what kind of starch we have.

                                                                                2. My mother-in-law, of blessed memory, always ordered coffee as soon as we got to a restaurant. She would then let it sit, try it, call the waiter over to say it was cold and ask for it "hotted up". And then it would be too hot . . . And so the cycle would repeat.

                                                                                  1. I don't she made a bizarre complaint. Food CAN be too big, i.e. too thick to eat properly or the proportions are off or the portion is so large that it cannot be enjoyed at the correct temp and that it won't hold well as leftover or that such abundance is just stupid and offensive and wasteful.

                                                                                    30 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: JudiAU

                                                                                      It was turkey club sandwich, for gosh sake!!!

                                                                                      1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                        For an $18 turkey club sandwich I'd be kind of offended if it was tiny.

                                                                                        1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                          This is Vegas. $18 for a glass of orange juice is acceptable at some places! lol

                                                                                            1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                              That is definitely true. Central is a casual, 24-hour restaurant, but it's at Caesar's, has a prime spot right at the front of the hotel, and the menu is by Michel Richard. So $18 for a sandwich doesn't strike me as shocking. Hotel dining is not cheap in Vegas anymore. The days of the $2.99 steak are mostly gone, unless you go off the Strip.

                                                                                              For comparison sakes, I looked at the menu for Grand Lux, the upscale Cheesecake Factory, at Venetian and Palazzo, sells their club sandwich for $13. A burger at the Gordon Ramsay Pub in Caesar's is $19 ($21 with bacon). Heck, at the Mirage's California Pizza Kitchen, a full-size Cobb salad is $16 and a BBQ chicken pizza is $16.25.

                                                                                              1. re: Jwsel

                                                                                                I paid $16 for 3 chicken tenders with fries at Dick's Last Resort at Excalibur last fall (no we were not staying there and no, I did NOT pick that restaurant). So, $18 for a good club sandwich doesn't sound crazy to me either.

                                                                                                However, I think the food prices are shocking to people who don't know much about Vegas and haven't done their research. ... because if they did they would know what to expect in terms of food prices.

                                                                                                1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                  On that point, I should add that the guy mentioned that they were Seven Stars members. That's the highest-level you can reach under the Caesar's and related casinos' loyalty program, so I don't think they were newcomers to Vegas. And the prices were posted on the menu very clearly -- both on the menu you got at the table and on the one posted right outside the door.

                                                                                                  Actually, now that I think about it, if they were Seven Stars level, the guy should have just gone to the casino host and asked for the entire meal to be comped rather than raise a stink about it at the table.

                                                                                                  1. re: Jwsel

                                                                                                    Oye, at that point they were definitely just angling for the meal to be comped. But yeah, the casino manager should have been the person to complain to. My boss frequently travels to Vegas, and everything is comped when he goes, but it's always pre-arranged through the appropriate people... he doesn't walk in and just expect it.

                                                                                                    1. re: Jwsel

                                                                                                      On that point, I should add that the guy mentioned that they were Seven Stars members.


                                                                                                      gah, ok, icing on the cake. this was NOT their first time at the rodeo. however, now i'm thinking this may have been hers? maybe their first date at the casino, kinda thing? and she's the complaining type who insisted he "DO SOMETHING!" so she could get attention.

                                                                                            1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                              ...and I must respectfully disagree with you, westsidegal. To some of us, a plate of food so large it can serve an army is, not only overwhelming, it may be unappetizing and even, disgusting. Yes, to those of us who hate to see food wasted, and are either unable or not wanting to take leftovers home, it's disturbing to be served unreasonably huge portions.

                                                                                              Nevertheless, I think it's ridiculous to argue with a server over this.

                                                                                              1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                Yes, but they were paying $18 for a sandwich. For that price, it should be big, whether you can, or want to, eat it all or not.

                                                                                                They should've questioned the server as to the size of the sandwich, if they were going to be so picky.

                                                                                                1. re: Michelly

                                                                                                  $18.00 for a sandwich in Vegas at that location would be normal. So should then the sandwich size.

                                                                                                  1. re: HoosierFoodie

                                                                                                    Then what the hell were they bitching about!

                                                                                                  2. re: josephnl

                                                                                                    Sorry, I disagree with you. In some places, you may have a point re: food wasting, but in Vegas? Get it wrapped up, walk outside and give it to one of the many homeless people begging for anything. No waste is necessary.

                                                                                                    1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                      There is a local hog farmer that is taking all the scrap food from the local casinos and using it in is operation. It's not going to waste. Saw that one on an Andrew Zimmern episode.

                                                                                                      1. re: mike0989

                                                                                                        I think that was a "Dirty Jobs" episode, actually. Quite the eye-opener, too.

                                                                                                      2. re: josephnl

                                                                                                        Okay, josephnl, but then complain when they serve you the food. You can see immediately if it's "too large, overwhelming, unappetizing or disgusting." Waiting to complain until after you've consumed half of it is inappropriate, don't you agree?

                                                                                                        1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                                          I never, ever complain about portions being too large. It's ridiculous to complain about this because obviously customers who frequent these restaurants either have enormous appetites, like taking food home, or otherwise favor these spots. I just don't return to restaurants that serve individual portions large enough to feed a family.

                                                                                                      3. re: JudiAU

                                                                                                        Aside from dressed salads (which tend to wilt) and ice cream (which melts) I can't think of anything that wouldn't work as leftovers.

                                                                                                        Could you provide a few examples?

                                                                                                        1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                          And I sure as hell wouldn't complain that a serving of ice cream was too big!

                                                                                                          1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                            i'm with you. ricepad.
                                                                                                            not only would i never complain about a serving of ice cream being too big, i'd never complain that a salad was too big.
                                                                                                            as a matter of fact, i am on a quest to find the largest and best salads served in my area.

                                                                                                              1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                Been there, done that. Along with spaghetti eis.

                                                                                                            1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                              When we order a lot in a Chinese restaurant, we take a look at what we ordered: whatever does not reheat well (think fried items), we eat ALL OF. Things that reheat well, we leave for the take-home container. :o)

                                                                                                            2. re: JudiAU

                                                                                                              I agree. Personally, I pick restaurants that have options with smaller portions of things I like. (But having picked something, I won't complain that it's too big... or too small for that matter.)

                                                                                                              1. Does sound like they were hoping for some sort of comp. Craziness. My best "too large" story was my BF eating at the local family-owned Italian place. They offer full, half and 1/4 orders, and the menu clearly says how many each order could be expected to feed. (and again the price should be a clue.) He orders a beautiful veal scaloppini dish... full sized. The waitress even pointed out that it serves 4 people family sized and was he sure. He was convinced it couldn't really be that big. Well guess what... it was. But he had no one to blame but himself. He ate veal that night, the next day for lunch, and supper....... Luckily he said it was awesome food so he had no complaints.

                                                                                                                1. Not a restaurant complaint but one we found amusing at the
                                                                                                                  cooking school I managed. We offered a class entitled
                                                                                                                  "Classic Hors D'Oeuvres". IIRC, the description listed the
                                                                                                                  recipes including things like mini quiche. After class, we
                                                                                                                  solicited student comments. One complaint - "Nothing

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. Once, I overheard a lady at the next table order a virgin margarita for her under age daughter. She then complained that it lacked triple sec. Uh, what the heck did she think triple sec is.

                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: mike0989

                                                                                                                        What would a virgin margarita be other than lime juice?

                                                                                                                        1. re: Bkeats

                                                                                                                          Probably she wanted it to have some orange flavor -- e.g. orange juice in place of Cointreau.

                                                                                                                        2. re: mike0989

                                                                                                                          And when I was a teenager, I wish my parents had complained about the lack of booze in the virgin drinks they ordered for me...

                                                                                                                          1. re: deet13

                                                                                                                            When i was a youngster, about 5-7, we'd go out with my parents and grandparents and sit in the bar before out table was ready and the grownups would all have drinks. My grand dad would order me a Roy rogers, and tell the waiter, "easy on the gin". He had me believing for a while that there was really a small amount of gin in it.

                                                                                                                        3. We had heard raves about a new chain in town, the Claim Jumper (based on CA mining restaurants). Lots and lots and lots of very mediocre food. On the 1st trip (we gave it 2 tries before giving up), we saw 6 half-eaten plates that had whole apples that went straight to the trash. While I'm not likely to eat mediocre food just 'cause it's there, such waste is really sad. Even sadder, the lines are often out the door.

                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                            I've been dragged to one a couple times. My observation was over sized portions and over sized patrons.

                                                                                                                            1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                              Claim Jumper is famous for their oversize portions. I don't know anybody who goes to one for the quality of the food, but just about everybody raves about the QUANTITY.

                                                                                                                              1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                That and http://www.bucadibeppo.com/-extremely large dishes meant to be shared. Order appropriately and go with a group.

                                                                                                                              2. While working brunch (ughhh) at a winebar I got a super bizzare complaint. We had a fairly popular bagel dish (toasted and chopped up bagel chunks served with ramekins of different flavored cream cheeses, meant for sharing... we always disclosed that it was a "sharable" sized dish with our customers.) and it had been ordered by a pair of typically terrible/rude young female brunchers.

                                                                                                                                When I brought the plate out the lady complained in a snooty "Clueless" voice "THATS TOO MANY BAGELS."
                                                                                                                                I said, huh? (as in thinking the ratio of cream cheese to bagels was off..) "Do you want more cream cheese, it'd be no problem?"
                                                                                                                                (cue scared, confused look from bruncher) "UHHH.... uhhh.... ITS JUST TOO MANY BAGELS!"
                                                                                                                                Me: So... um..
                                                                                                                                Her: TOO MANY BAGELS!
                                                                                                                                me: So... should I take some of the bagels off the plate and throw them away?
                                                                                                                                Her: (confused worried look) Yes.

                                                                                                                                I went inside and took some of the bagel bites off, we ate them in the kitchen. She ended up eating only the equivalent of a fourth of a bagel.... it was really, really weird. Mostly just the look of horror and confusion.

                                                                                                                                Edited to add that the shouting of "TOO MANY BAGELS" along with a confused look became the meme of the week at the bar.

                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: carlee134

                                                                                                                                  At the risk of starting an off-topic tangent, I'm guessing said brunchers left you a very small tip, too.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: carlee134

                                                                                                                                    if she's so terribly carb-phobic, why was she ordering bagels at all?


                                                                                                                                  2. While working in my parents' Chinese restaurant, a customer ordered a meal and promptly poured 6 ounces of soy sauce over his plate before tasting it. Then he complained that the dish was too salty. That was probably about 9,000 mg of sodium from the soy sauce alone.

                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: raytamsgv

                                                                                                                                      Piece on NPR recently involving soy sauce and sodium toxcicity: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/...

                                                                                                                                      1. re: ElsieDee

                                                                                                                                        "Facts" on NPR are just this side of Wikipedia.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                                                                                          ok, i'll bite. So, where would you put the "fair and balanced" facts of Fox news?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                              Yes, if you mean the Cartoon News Network.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                                                                                            Given that Wikipedia had the same or better accuracy rate than Encyclopedia Britannica, then I'll take NPR's accuracy if that's your comparison.

                                                                                                                                      2. On a business trip a colleague insisted we try this great place that had just opened up. She had heard good things and hadn't been yet. It was a place I had never heard of as they hadn't hit Massachusetts yet. The cheese cake factory.

                                                                                                                                        I was absolutely horrified when my meal came. I ordered a steak salad and it was big enough of to serve 4 people. There was easily over a pound of meat. My colleague ordered some kind of avocado egg roll thing for her appetizer and then pasta. The egg roll alone could have fed us both for dinner. Her pasta was obscene. I did complain but not to be comped. I just thought they should give people the heads up. The waiter just shrugged, said "everyone complains" and told us to take it home like everyone else. Road trip, hotel with no fridge, not an option.

                                                                                                                                        They opened one near me a few years ago and while I haven't been I hear their portions are still huge. Wonder if they offer half portions now?

                                                                                                                                        32 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                          There are places like Cheesecake Factory, Carrabas, etc.. that have huge portions and many patrons rely on the leftovers for 1 or 2 more meals.
                                                                                                                                          My senior citizen parents in Florida love those places for that reason.
                                                                                                                                          It would be good to have a way for first timers to have a warning so they can share if they prefer.
                                                                                                                                          Personally, I hate wasting food.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                            i tried to get into my local cheesecake factory for dinner last night, but it was so jammed that not only was there a 45 minute wait for a table, but EVERY seat in the bar area was full (some of them with people EATING DINNER).

                                                                                                                                            my guess, based on my local location, is that the cheesecake factory is not going to miss the business of the people who want small portions.

                                                                                                                                            as for "a warning," all anyone needs to do is to pay attention when the hostess is weaving through the crowded mass of tables and glance at what is being served at all the tables you pass.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                            The Cheesecake Factory portions are horrific. Once I ordered a half size salad, and when it arrived, I was sure they made a mistake and gave me the full size. Nope.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: pley

                                                                                                                                              at cheesecake factory i eat two of the FULL size caesar salads at a sitting.
                                                                                                                                              we are opposites.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                Wow...I'm impressed with your appetite westsidegal! I just looked at the Cheesecake Factory website and their regular lunch caesar salad has 860 cals. and their dinner caesar salad has 1,280 cals. I've not seen them, but with their calorie content they sound pretty big to me. I'm not a small man (6', 178#), and I can't imagine eating two of these salads at one sitting.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                  1280 calories... wow. I read a Consumer Reports article recently that discussed the worst salads in the world (from nutrition perspective, only considering chains) and the highest-calorie salad they came up with was 1400 calories (a chicken salad at Chili's). 1280 is pretty close!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: drongo

                                                                                                                                                    Oh..the calorie count I was quoting is for the dinner caesar salad without chicken! The Cheesecake Factory dinner salad with chicken is 1,510 calories and has 1,450 gm. of sodium!! I doubt that I could eat one of these salads, and can't imagine anyone eating two!

                                                                                                                                                    If you think that's gross, consider that the Morning Quesadilla (whatever that is) has 2,020 calories and, would you believe, 4,350 gm. of sodium!!! Even for a family of 4 this is a lot of calories and sodium for breakfast!

                                                                                                                                                    Please don't anyone tell me that portion size like this is healthy and doesn't contribute to our national epidemic of obesity!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                      To be fair, calorie counts don't always suggest amount of food (not saying it's healthy to have high calorie meals); if the salad is soaked in dressing it could easily reach high calorie counts, despite being a moderate sized salad. Not saying that The Cheesecake Factory is a healthy option, but a salad there without dressing (or maybe minimal?) might be significantly lower in calories; I've had plenty of low calorie (and sodium) meals that have filled or even stuffed me, but I've also had many high calorie/sodium meals that have either just filled me or left me hungry. (Also, sadly, most chicken at chain restaurants tend to be made with already cooked chicken/other meat, that are loaded with sodium to help preserve them, which only helps inflate the sodium content of the meal.)

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Cinnamonster

                                                                                                                                                        Cinnamonster...your point is well taken. Interestingly, the Cheesecake Factory lists separately the calories in their caesar dressing. Could it be that the calories listed for their Caesar salads don't include dressing...gulp??

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                          I hope not, because if it does, I can't imagine a salad having that many calories without any dressing (what would it include?).

                                                                                                                                                          I suspect that the listing might include the dressing, since most of the time it seems that a Caesar salad isn't really "unique" without the dressing, and they might just be including it separately, but my assumption(s) can always be incorrect.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Cinnamonster

                                                                                                                                                            A big contributor could be the cheese. A single oz of parm. has 122 calories and 422mg of sodium. I could imagine that CCF would have multiple oz's of cheese

                                                                                                                                                            Another would be the croutons- they could have anywhere from 50 -300 calories

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                                              That's actually a very good point, I kind of forgot how some chains go crazy on the cheese and croutons (croutons which may have been doused in extra oil). Still feeling the salads' nutrition facts might include dressing, but I wouldn't that surprised if I was very wrong.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Cinnamonster

                                                                                                                                                                never eat croutons.
                                                                                                                                                                to me they are just dried out white bread toast--completely uninteresting.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Cinnamonster


                                                                                                                                                              it would include:
                                                                                                                                                              romaine lettuce
                                                                                                                                                              parmesan cheese
                                                                                                                                                              a very moderate amount of their very garlicky caesar dressing ( i always get it on the side)
                                                                                                                                                              a lot of lemon juice squeezed over it all

                                                                                                                                                            3. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                              josephni: whatever the calories may be, since i'm thin, i'm not too concerned.
                                                                                                                                                              since i stopped eating meat and poultry, my weight has stabilized at a much lower level.
                                                                                                                                                              i'm MUCH thinner now than i was 15 years ago when i was an omnivore.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                                westsidegal...I'm much relieved! I sure you don't touch the Morning Quesadilla. I'm sure if I ate one, I'd probably want to curl up and go back to bed!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                  you're absolutely correct--i woun't go near the morning quesadilla.
                                                                                                                                                                  that said, most folks find the huge amounts of lettuce, green vegetables, cabbage, kale, legumes, and cruciferous vegetables, that i eat to be shocking.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                                    Great way to eat healthy and stay thin. I should probably eat more greens!

                                                                                                                                                            4. re: Cinnamonster

                                                                                                                                                              re sodium in the cooked chicken:
                                                                                                                                                              you'd be surprised about how much of the RAW poultry that is sold in the refrigerated section of your market is already spiked with chemicals.

                                                                                                                                                              once, i was cooking a meal for a person who had kidney disease. i was planning to make turkey. my guest's MD said that plain turkey without added sodium or other additives would be fine.

                                                                                                                                                              i called the Jenny O turkey company to ask which of their fresh turkey products did not contain sodium or other additive and they told me NONE.
                                                                                                                                                              every single one of their fresh, raw, turkey products contained additives. on the label it just said "seasoning."

                                                                                                                                                            5. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                              My goodness! If you eat enough of those sodium bombs you won't need to be embalmed when you die from your heart attack!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                my BP is 100/60.
                                                                                                                                                                not too worried about the sodium.
                                                                                                                                                                most of it i avoid by using the lemon juice to substitute for most of their dressing.

                                                                                                                                                                if i was going to die young from a heart attack, i would have died years ago. that risk is long gone.

                                                                                                                                                                it IS possible, though, that i could die OLD from a heart attack, but in the end, when you get old, you will die from SOMETHING, right? i'm more worried about the chemicals i use to "hide the grey" than i am about salt.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                                  westsidegal: My statement about heart attacks and embalming was not directed toward you or your salad consumption. It was directed toward josephnl's mention of a Morning Quesadilla with 4350 gm (probably mg, but still) of sodium.

                                                                                                                                                                  However, your statement about eating two FULL size ceasar salads in a sitting was quite misleading before you amended it to say you are really just eating two plates of lettuce with a bit of cheese, lots of lemon juice and just a touch of dressing.

                                                                                                                                                                  And I, for one, have chosen not to "hide the grey" because I was worried about the chemicals. So I guess we all make our own choices and worry about their consequences.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                    Oops...of course I meant mg. Grams would equal something more than 10 lbs. of salt!!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                      oh, i didn't realize you were talking about the quesadilla.

                                                                                                                                                                      my point was that in order to get enough lettuce and cheese to satisfy me, i need to order TWO orders of that salad.
                                                                                                                                                                      i LIKE it when a restaurant serves portions that are big enough for my appetite.

                                                                                                                                                                      in other restaurants, i'd have to order FOUR entree salads to feel satiated.

                                                                                                                                                                      i will GRAVITATE to restaurants with huge portions. i will support them with my dollars.

                                                                                                                                                                      whether i eat every morsel/drop of stuff that they would normally serve as part of the dish (i.e. croutons, etc) is completely irrelevant. one of the prerogatives of being an adult is that i DON'T have to finish everything on my plate nor do i have to tolerate having the restaurant decide how much dressing is appropriate for my salad.

                                                                                                                                                                      to me, it is BIZARRE to complain about large portions.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                                        I think we're pretty much on the same page. Although I don't like seeing enormous amounts of food on a plate, I never complain about it...but generally don't go back to places that serve mountains of what is frequently high calorie unhealthy food. It sounds like for a salad person with common sense, like you, this is fine.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                          i also have no expectation that there will be many menu items that can be easily tweeked to be huge and healthful at the same time.
                                                                                                                                                                          sort of like "where in the world is waldo?

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                        in order to get enough lettuce and cheese and dressing and lemon juice to satisfy me i have to order two full cheesecake factory salads. there is nothing misleading about that.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                                          I am curious how often you eat there? While their portions are way too large for me I can't imagine ever returning to a place where I had to order (and pay for) two entrees to satisfy me.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                                                            i go there a couple of times a month.
                                                                                                                                                                            because i don't normally consume a lot of fat nor carbs, it's not usual for me to need to order two entrees if the entree isn't protein heavy.
                                                                                                                                                                            i eat out at least 5 times a week.
                                                                                                                                                                            what can i say? i LOVE restaurants.
                                                                                                                                                                            to me, even toast tastes better in a restaurant.
                                                                                                                                                                            there is a wide variation about how people spend their discretionary income.
                                                                                                                                                                            i spend mine in restaurants.
                                                                                                                                                                            last monday was the beginning of restaurant week in my city.
                                                                                                                                                                            i've had 5 meals out since monday and i have tomorrow's meal already planned.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                    since i haven't eaten poultry in years, the salads i order do not contain chicken.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                      Oops...I obviously meant 4,350 mg. of Na. 4,350 gr. would be 9 pounds...not even would the CCF do that!

                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                    i get the dressing on the side and i have them bring me lots of lemon wedges.

                                                                                                                                                                    by squeezing the lemon juice over the salad, i can forgo most of the dressing. also, i don't eat their bread. (the white is, well, white bread--nothing special, and the dark bread tastes like it contains a lot of sugar and although i love sugar, NOT in my bread)

                                                                                                                                                            6. A customer once complained that her steak had "too much flavor". That became the name of the company softball team that year. Another customer complained that the manager didn't make them "feel special enough" what ever that entailed.

                                                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: binkychow

                                                                                                                                                                Our unofficial business motto is: "Whatever it takes to make them feel special." There are those times where we fail.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: binkychow

                                                                                                                                                                      I will say, while I didn't complain to the staff about it, I had a steak with too much flavor. It was due to the sauce they put on it... a very aggressive mustard, maple, and who knows what else concoction. Ruined a good steak :)

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                        when i ate steak, i felt that anything other than some salt ruined a good steak.
                                                                                                                                                                        would not have been able to choke down anything that had been covered in a << a very aggressive mustard, maple, and who knows what else concoction>>

                                                                                                                                                                    2. I have a twisted sense of humor. I would have told her, "why don't you just take it home, stick your finger down your throat, and throw it in the toilet. That's what you're going to do with the half you ate."

                                                                                                                                                                      1. Every now and then, the bathroom won't have soap. Defeats the purpose, no? The (to be fair) infrequent but memorable remark once I ask staffers for soap- "what's the point?" So it behooves me (and other patrons) to carry my own hand cleanser. Considering where I've eaten, that makes sense.


                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: BuildingMyBento

                                                                                                                                                                          Ha! You should have responded : "I don't know, maybe ask the health department." That is a big violation on health inspections.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: salsailsa

                                                                                                                                                                            If these places had health inspections, there would be no places to eat out!

                                                                                                                                                                            At the same time, maybe Transparency International should be accompanying the inspectors in NY and LA on their visits...

                                                                                                                                                                        2. I waited tables through college and bar/grill type places. Once a customer complained that the clam chowder was fishy tasting.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. Took my dad to a Belgian restaurant when I turned 30. He ordered a steak (steak frites). During the course of the meal he called over the waiter to complain about the amount of fries on his plate. Honestly I think he was just uncomfortable being there and w/ me picking up the tab. Just wanted something to say I guess.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. I had an older lady customer who ordered the grilled salmon, then called me over to give it back to the kitchen to cook it more "because it's pink".

                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                              1. It's so cheap, it can't be good.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. The way those two behaved was boorish. However, I find that nearly every restaurant I visit serves portions that could feed me for several meals. What's up with that? Do they think their patrons are all obese giants? I wish that there were two portion sizes, so I could choose the smaller one. Of course, I will take home leftover steak, but some things do not reheat well the next day.

                                                                                                                                                                                  46 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: RosePearl

                                                                                                                                                                                    Agree totally. I rarely will complain about price if the quality is terrific. If a restaurant's bottom line requires that they charge $18 for a sandwich, then make it the best (not the biggest!) sandwich that $18 can buy! More and more restaurants are offering 2 portion sizes, something I like. Also, it seems that more small plate/tapas style restaurants are opening...another positive trend for those of us who do not like being served a mountain of often mediocre food.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                      on the other hand, when i order three small plates from gjelina for lunch, by 4pm i am ravenous.
                                                                                                                                                                                      they are, by far, delectable small plates.
                                                                                                                                                                                      their braised fennel with fennel pollen was possibly the most delicious dish i've ever had.
                                                                                                                                                                                      but sometimes you want to be able to make it to dinner without needing to have another meal in between

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: RosePearl

                                                                                                                                                                                      I agree with you about how common huge portions have become.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I have to watch what I eat because otherwise my weight balloons. And I have poor self-discipline with regard to food -- if someone puts a huge plate of delicious food in front of me, I'm likely to eat too much. So, when possible, I will look at reviews and I'll favor places with comments such as "food is great but portions small" and avoid those with "food is ok but portions are huge." But sometimes I have to go along with my family or friends.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't often take leftovers home. I'm an overly keen homecook, and my fridge always has too many leftovers... because every day I want to cook something new rather than finish something left over!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: drongo

                                                                                                                                                                                        there is a certain type of american eater that unless he/she gets "enough" for left-overs they feel cheated. dunno when it became common to think a restaurant meal was supposed to actually be two meals, lol.

                                                                                                                                                                                        if i'm someplace new i often ask how big the portions are, because most often an entree is simply too much and i'm usually going elsewhere after dinner so not taking left-overs.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: drongo

                                                                                                                                                                                          Unfortunately, this huge portion trend is not helping our national epidemic of obesity. I hate it when I'm served a portion that easily could (and should!) feed a family of 4

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                            If the food is bad then it would be a bad value at any price. If the food is good then that means they'll be an extra portion to enjoy later in the week. Yes, there has been a trend to larger portions but if we all learn how to stop eating when we're full and take the rest home then America can still be saved.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                              "Unfortunately, this huge portion trend is not helping our national epidemic of obesity. I hate it when I'm served a portion that easily could (and should!) feed a family of 4"

                                                                                                                                                                                              Then people need to use self control. I was an obese child and teenager. I lost weight when I went to college. I have pretty much kept if off all these years but every day is a struggle. I take personal control of the situation. If I am served a large portion, I eat half and take the rest home. I do not blame the restaurant for overfeeding me.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Also, restaurants serving huge portions is nothing new. I am 52 years old and can remember my family going to certain restaurants because of the huge portions back when I was a teenager.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                                                There are some interesting viewpoints on this thread. I come down with you on the side of self control. I dropped about 25 pounds 4 years ago and have been successful in keeping it off. I found that my appetite has shrunk along with my waistline. When I'm confronted with an extra large portion it's easy for me to take half of it away - I just can't eat the whole thing in one sitting. When I was bigger I had no problem - that wasn't a good thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I do understand that for some people the temptation to eat too much when served a large portion might be really hard to resist. Part of that is the nature of restaurants themselves. If you're dieting the average restaurant is a Garden of Temptation. You probably shouldn't order 3/4 of the things on the menu.

                                                                                                                                                                                                What to do? When I was dropping weight I stayed out of restaurants as much as possible. That seemed to do the trick. Of course if you're on the road for business or on vacation then you're going to have to work really hard to maintain diet discipline. Ordering carefully in one strategy. Asking servers about portion size in another.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                I think some of the people on this thread are either really really really small eaters or way over exaggerating. What on earth are you ordering that would leave that much in the way of leftovers?

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: miss_belle

                                                                                                                                                                                                  @miss_belle, I just reread the post you are referring to and if the following is not an overstatement, then @josephnl must be a very small eater:

                                                                                                                                                                                                  " I hate it when I'm served a portion that easily could (and should!) feed a family of 4.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I just cannot picture an entree that would feed a family of 4!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Just out of curiosity I checked the nutritional information at Cheesecake factory that has been mentioned here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    There are several entree's that fit the following criteria.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Small salad 400 calories
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Entree split four ways 550 c
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Piece of bread? 200 c
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Piece of cheese cake split four ways 250 c

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Total 1,400 calories.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kengk

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Fine. That's on paper. Just because an entree has 2200 calories does not mean it is going to sate 4 people's appetites; especially if two of those people are growing boys. I have dieted all my adult life and do not count calories. I use common sense, moderate portions and my own judgment. If I were to go by a height/weight chart, at 6ft. and with a large frame, I should ideally be 164-188 pounds. I am 205 pounds and most people I know refer to me as "trim" or "slender." Calorie counts and the like are just generic statements. Just because something is 2200 calories does automatically mean it will feed 4 people.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm sure some folks would order two 2200 calorie entrees and an appetizer or two.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        My point was that it wasn't "crazy talk" to say that some entrees could feed four people.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kengk

                                                                                                                                                                                                          OK. That's your opinion. I still think it's "crazy talk." :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                                                            OK...I'll admit it. When I said that said that some restaurants serve portions large enough to serve a family of 4, perhaps it was a bit of hyperbole...maybe saying a family of 3 would have been more accurate. Nevertheless, I maintain that overly large portions have unfortunately become the norm at many (especially some chain) restaurants. Of course, we would all like to think we have the willpower to stop eating when we are full. Reality is that most of us (myself included) tend to overeat when presented with overly large portions, and it seems pretty obvious to me that this is not good, especially for those of use who struggle to keep their weight reasonable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                                                          "Just because an entree has 2200 calories does not mean it is going to sate 4 people's appetites; especially if two of those people are growing boys."

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Indeed. According to Wed MD two couples in their 30s would need to consume a total of 8,800 calories a day. Splitting an entree that was 2,200 calories would supply only 25% of their needs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          There is a difference between "this is too big for me to eat in one sitting" and "this could feed 4 people!"


                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Plus, at Cheesecake factory, the 2200 calories could be mostly made up of cheese and sauce, with very little protein under there somewhere. I really do not think CF is a good example to site in this kind of argument.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                                                                                                                              8800 divided by four is 2200. 2200 minus the 1400 in my hypothetical menu above leaves 800 for breakfast, lunch and snacks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kengk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                The "family of 4" mentioned up thread has become 2 couples in their 30s. This family is getting interesting....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: drongo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  How about this. A husband and wife in their mid 30s. 9 year old daughter, 12 year old son. All moderately active.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  From WebMD's list of daily requirements -

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Husband - 2,600 calories
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Wife - 2,000
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Daughter - 2,000
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Son - 2,200

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Total daily requirements - 8,800 calories.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And they're going to split a single 2,200 entree for dinner?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Maybe you were thinking of a family of elves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm not sure what part of my post you don't understand. Frequently when people go to a restaurant for dinner they eat a salad, some bread and dessert in addition to their entree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I presented such a menu above that comes out to 1,400 calories per person. Order two desserts for four people and add a glass of wine or a cocktail each and it comes to a lot more than that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kengk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This was the post that kicked off the family of 4 discussion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "I hate it when I'm served a portion that easily could (and should!) feed a family of 4."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Portion. Not meal.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think kengk's interpretation is more reasonable. Though perhaps josephnl will come by and clarify his intended meaning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm a woman in my early 30s and 550 calories (2200/4) for a meal is in the range for me to maintain my weight. I eat a 250 calorie breakfast, 500-650 calorie lunches and dinners, and snacks totalling about 250-350 calories.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      So, a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 children) splitting 2200 calories doesn't seem that crazy to me. Might be a bit on the small side for the 12 year old and the dad, but it's not too far off, especially once combined with appetizers and desserts (which I personally don't get too often, but I see plenty of people at restaurants doing so). Not to mention the calories in beverages.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't like taking home leftovers. Why? Because for me, eating out is a splurge, a treat. Meaning, I have enough calorie room in my week for ONE high calorie meal... I can't repeat it the next day when I eat the leftovers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: kengk

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Cheesecake Factory's Bistro Shrimp Pasta is reported to be 3,120 calories (http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/01/17/c... ). A Big Mac is 550 calories. So the Bistro Shrimp has the calories of nearly 6 Big Macs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: drongo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                i think the cheesecake factory is a perfect example to mention here. the portion sizes are outrageous and am guessing millions of people eat there each day. after you go a few times you must get inured to the insanity of a salad the size of a baby. it also skews your sense of reality when you eat anyplace that serves a normal human portion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                most americans DO overeat, to the tune of closer to 4000 cals per day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                one steakhouse i worked at, we toted up some menu items that could make a 10,000 calorie meal. and yeah, i saw way more than one business guy eat exactly that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But we are discussing where we Chowhounds eat. I doubt many of us eat at CF regularly. Maybe that is the disconnect. So many people here are saying they are served large portions, but at what restaurants? If it is CF, i may agree. But restaurants that a lot of Chowhounds frequent? I find it hard to believe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Well, a lot of people in this thread have said they think portions served them are too large. We have to assume that they are chowhounds since they are in fact posting here and that they did in fact take their chowhound self's to such a low brow place that serves portions larger than they prefer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That or they are lying to stir the pot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                                                              And RosePearl said:
                                                                                                                                                                                                              "However, I find that nearly every restaurant I visit serves portions that could feed me for several meals".
                                                                                                                                                                                                              So she's included too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Have you been to the cheesecake factory? Their avocado egg roll *appetizer* could easily feed 2 as a meal/ 4 as an appetizer and come in at 960 calories. Their factory appetizer has over 3200 calories!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Their main courses could easily feed four. The majority of their pasta dishes are in 1800 calorie range. I can't find the salad I had but if the caesar chicken salad has over 1500 calories I can only imagine how many my steak salad had!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I am a 50 year old woman who is moderately active. In order to maintain my weight I can comfortably eat 2200-2500 calories a day. If I shared that avocado app (500 calories) and SPLIT the pasta (1000) and ate nothing else and drank water that is still more than half my daily requirement and I will have consumed well over my daily allotment of saturated fats and sodium. Add some bread and a glass or two of wine? That's it for the day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                If you don't believe me check out their own link and recommended servings. Something they don't tell you when you order.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Of course you are right foodiex2. I've eaten at the Cheesecake Factory once, and at Claim Jumper one...never to return. IMHO their portions are so large as to be very unappealing, wasteful (not everyone likes to or is able to take food home) and encourage unhealthy eating. (I looked at the charts for both of these restaurants and was astounded not only by the calories, but even moreso by the unbelievably high sodium content of much of the food.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "Have you been to the cheesecake factory?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    To be honest, no.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It seems like most of the people in this thread who find portions sizes "too big" are women who count calories. I am not being chauvinistic, only stating what I am observing. As a male who watches my weight but does not count calories, I just look at what is served, eat what I am happy with eating and take home the rest if there is anything left over. Living where I do, there is always a homeless person more than willing to accept my leftovers personally from me if I decide I do not want to take them home. Either way, they never go to waste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm a 6', 178# man. Although I'm not really overweight, I'm certainly not at all skinny (I could easily drop 5#). If you've read this thread, you'll know that I very much dislike the very large portions discussed here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I said "most." Not all. And I will even take back the word "most" and use "many" instead. I should have said that to begin with.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                so i take it you don't go to many steak houses?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                a reasonable portion of beef is supposed to be 4 or 5 ounces.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                most steaks at 3 to 6 times that

                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: drongo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                You just took the words out of my mouth, Drongo. I have no self-control and I only realize I'm full when I'm too full. It's very tough for me to avoid overeating when portions are massive. I've seen others overcome that issue by asking for a container and offloading at least 50% of what's on their plates to put away for a later meal (or three). Though it is the practical thing to do, it's really odd to me that any restaurant would overserve so much that a person has to take far more of the meal home than he or she ate, despite enjoying it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                As a Canadian, when I was a teenager, I started noticing this practice while vacationing in the U.S. At that time, it wasn't common to be served vast heaps of food in Canadian restaurants. My family members would wonder aloud why someone bothered to order something so large in the first place, when he or she never intended to even make a dent in the plate's contents.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Fast forward a number of years and many places in Canada now do the same thing, especially chains that are American in origin. Sure, people take home part of the excess, but more and more I'm seeing the general population balloon in size. Even those taking some home may be eating far more than they used to, just because it is hot and available right under their noses. To me, the whole concept is wrong. I understand that many restaurants would go under if they charge what they need to to make a profit, but serve proper portions (based on the caloric needs of a healthy person of average weight). But, serving 100-150% more in order to appear to offer better value for a high price doesn't solve the problem, except perhaps for the most disciplined eater who doesn't mind eating the same leftovers for a couple more meals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              4. re: RosePearl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I live in Canada, and frequently have trouble with our portion sizes. Whenever I eat out I usually get the main only, otherwise get uncomfortably full. But American portions kill me. My aunt took me out when I visited and the salad I got with my steak was enough to feed four people. It hurt when I was done.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: RosePearl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Am I the only one who isn't constantly seeing over-sized portions? I use salad plates for my food at home and sauce cups for ice cream, so I don't think I'm just accustomed to huge meals.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I've definitely seen huge portions, but not at places I frequent. Seems to me if I go to places with fresh ingredients and seasonal menus, the portions are generally reasonable. I've been in diners and places like Katz's that are famous for their crazy portion sizes, but I don't see this in my day to day restaurant-ing.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Just me?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    it's very common in chain restaurants, which we don't frequent either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    that being said, even farm-to-table places will serve a 6-8 oz protein which is too much for me with sides. i am usually full after a starter!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      No, it's not just you. I was wondering the same thing myself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: RosePearl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      IMO nothing reheats well the next day. See my thread "I. Hate. Leftovers!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mwhitmore

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        i can think of only two exceptions so that proves your rule.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        may i add:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        most food that is prepared and then frozen tastes nothing like it did when it was first prepared--not only does it have the degradation that results from the freezing and thawing process, it ALSO has the degradation that results from the REHEATING process.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (even though i LOVE your lasagna when you first make it, PLEASE don't serve me you lasagna after you have frozen and reheated it.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        i've never understood the people that shop and cook in bulk unless they have large families.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        i didn't even do that when i was a private chef for 9 people and could probably have gotten away with it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Lasagna especially. Or anything with melted cheese, which turns into gut-wrenching cement when reheated. Lasagna was the dish that made me realize I hated leftovers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mwhitmore

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sounds like you have not had WELL MADE lasagna.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. "The food is terrible in this restaurant ... and such big portions."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Alfred G

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        What did Yogi say: "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Which really makes sense, sort of! Gotta love Yogi.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I understand Yogi. That is frightening.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. We are often times guilty of ordering too much simply because we feel like we should/have to. I've done so knowing that I will be left with food to take home simply because I don't want to be the one ordering just an entree when everyone else is doing appetizer/entree/dessert.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The same goes for drinks. I'm not a big wine drinker, but will almost always order a glass of house wine simply because I feel like that's the right thing to do and that's where the restaurants make their money.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It really is silly as I feel like I'm cheating out of the waiter's tips because I ordered too little.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I should really order less and tip more to take away my guilt. But until then, it's money down the drain and a lot of leftovers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ragged25

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          " I've done so knowing that I will be left with food to take home simply because I don't want to be the one ordering just an entree when everyone else is doing appetizer/entree/dessert."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Why not? I have a friend who never orders an appetizer when the rest of us do. No one ever bats an eye about it. Why would you feel peer pressure?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ragged25

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If you enjoy the leftovers, that's fine- but don't order wine you're not going to drink! If you feel THAT concerned, take that $9 you would have spent on the wine and just add it to waitress' tip!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Haha...that's what my wife tells me because she never drinks and gives me grieve whenever I do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I do switch it up to a beer or other cocktails. But wine at more fine dining restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              But I agree, it has to stop because it really is a waste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: ragged25

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "It really is silly as I feel like I'm cheating out of the waiter's tips because I ordered too little."


                                                                                                                                                                                                                              having worked for tips for decades that is krazee talk. ordering stuff you don't really want because you feel guilty about your server?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              it all averages out. order and eat only what you want. be nice. tip accordingly. the end.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              if a restaurant can't stay in business because "you" don't order wine it has much bigger problems, lol.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Haha...good to hear from your perspective.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm totally guilty of my sillyness and I know it doesn't make much sense. Haha!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ragged25

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  None of us "make much sense" @ragged25. That's why we're all here on these boards! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: ragged25

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                the tip only covers the server.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                the restaurant owners/investors are, i'm sure, grateful that you grasp that they have a certain fixed investment in having you just sit at a table at prime time.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                if you ordered less food, they'd also be having an opportunity cost.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                i think your practices are truly fair to the people who's livelihoods are their skin in the game.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                think of it. they have to pay rent and utilities and capital costs 24/7, yet have to generate revenue to cover all this during a few hours a week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                you are a prince for figuring this out and behaving accordingly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I hope you are joking or being sarcastic. People can order what they want when they go out for dinner and absolutely no one should feel they have to order wine they won't drink or food they wont eat because of a restaurants opportunity cost. The service a restaurant is supposed to provide is a positive one, not a guilt trip!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kpaxonite

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sure you are technically right, but there is sort of a middle ground that I think applies. It really is not fair to the waitstaff (or ownership) of a restaurant to occupy a table during peak hours when the restaurant has people waiting for tables, and ordering perhaps just a few starters to share. During off hours, perhaps it's fine, but if you occupy a table at 7pm on Saturday night, the expectation is that you'll order a reasonable amount of food...not that anyone should order anything they don't want.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I disagree. The closest thing I think I would somewhat agree with is that it is wrong to only order drinks and app and spend the amount of time other people would spend for an whole dinner. If you have having a quick bite and drink then there isnt an issue with taking up the space at peak hours because when you finish someone will likely be waiting for your table. It doesnt hurt the waitstaff or restaurant whatsoever. Then again, should slow eaters have to pay more?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kpaxonite

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't really disagree. As long as it's a "quick bite", I think it's reasonable. But to order, say 2 drinks and an appetizer to split, and to sit for an hour or more chatting, during peak hours is IMHO inappropriate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: kpaxonite

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      <<The service a restaurant is supposed to provide is a positive one, not a guilt trip!>>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      the service the restaurant is supposed to provide is to generate a return on investment for the owner and the investors.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      kissing up to customers that lose money for the restaurant is bad business.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      coddling good customers that generate profit for the restaurant is GOOD business.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. We had international business colleagues visiting often, and they all commented, no matter where they were from, that they couldn't believe how huge the portions were for their meals served in our restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Terrie H.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've been to a few European countries and while their portions are smaller, at a lot of the places we frequented I observed many people eating 3 courses, at lunch and dinner (which I never do here in the US). So it probably equals out in a way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      i doubt most europeans eat out as many times per week as many americans do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Not sure about that. The Italians sure do like eating a nice lunch out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          hopefully you're not extrapolating casual vacation observations as fact?


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "A recent survey by Ipsos-Insight, Vancouver, British Columbia, found that just 54% of Americans sit down for a meal at home with their families “most days,” far fewer than the 88% of Italians who do so."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        when i was last in london and ordered a salad, i was given a plate with 5 butter lettuce leaves and a couple of slices of tomato.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        made me yearn for california until i located the indian and pakistani places.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. People like that are looking to be comped or are angry about something else and taking it out on the restaurant staff. Both are shameless, horrible traits in a person if you ask me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I'll share a funny story: We met a British couple at a Jazz club in Florence Italy. I know, T.M.I. !
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        They had been to NYC and gone to Katz's for their famous pastrami sammich. The Brit says: "When the bl**dy sandwich came out it was huge. I thought Alan Funt was going to pop out and film me."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I guess Candid Camera is popular in England.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          what was the exchange rate then?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          if it favored them, i can see their point.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          if it favored us, i could see them thinking, "for this much money, they BETTER serve a lot of food!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It was all about the mile high sammich. Nothing like that to be had across the pond.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              About 20 years ago my aunts came over for their first visit to the states, and we stopped for lunch at a pub/restaurant where they both ordered turkey club sandwiches. The looks on their faces were priceless when they were served their sandwiches. The “giant” sandwiches still comes up in conversations occasionally, all these years later.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: EM23

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I guess the Brits are used to the tiny triangle tea time sandwiches.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And putting next to nothing in the middle so as not to show up the Chorleywood bread with the "crusts" cut off. Now that's genteel!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. "I'm getting too much food value for my money," I thought would be said by no one ever.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I travel but not where there is a Claim Jumper or Cheesecake Factory.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            What I would hope for at these places is good grub. What is the food like in this type? Is it screwed up? Good quality ingredients treated with respect? By this I mean is it amenable of being criticized as "too" - too much oil or fat, too much cooking, too much salt, too clumsy in preparation, too much industrial ingredients, too much goop, too long sitting in any of its stages, too little intelligence in the recipe, too much mutated in resurrection?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Too big is scarcely the worst thing, the Michelin guys ain't cummin. Burp.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              cheesecake factory offers a ton of menu choices.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i'm sure many are horrible and many are wonderful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i am focused on their caesar salad. the lettuce is always perfect. the cheese is good quality. the dressing is flavorful and garlicky enough so that i don't need to use much of it to get that flavor. the serving size is generous. the service is always pleasant and they never complain or comment to me about how much lemon i use or how much food is going into my mouth.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              obviously, their version of caesar salad is NOT the classic version made with eggs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I had a really nice lunch at CF yesterday... I got a turkey/bacon/avocado sandwich of their "skinnylicious" menu - it was the perfect size, and came with a very (for me) nice sized portion of french fries. Now the piece of cake OTOH, was HUGE. I brought half home to DH. that's my second meal there and other than the cake, I have not seen this ridiculously huge portion everyone talks about. guess I'm not ordering the right stuff. :-D

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. In this AMs paper the Dear Abby column had a letter asking about whether or not she and her husband could order just 1 appetizer, 1 salad, 1 entree etc. She said that they dine out nearly every evening and restaurant portions are too big and that they need to watch their weight.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              As we get older we eat less. As I said when I first responded to this post. Huge portions are wasteful. I wish restaurants would be more lenient about sharing, possibly tacking on a surcharge to cover costs of providing two plates etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Candy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Why not eat from the same plate? Sit on the sides of one corner rather than across from each other. The Ms. and I did that for years until shortly after we got married.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Candy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  there is such a surcharge in many restaurants.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  it's sometimes called a "splitting charge"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Candy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Candy, I don't understand what you mean about restaurants being more lenient about sharing food. We often split food in restaurants. Many restaurants will split food in the kitchen (often with a surcharge) and others will simple bring out an extra plate and ask the patrons to split the food themselves (usually without a surcharge). We've never had a restaurant say that we could not split something, or refuse to bring out an extra plate. Has this happened to you?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Ah, portions that are too large.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That is a more common complaint of mine vs portions that are too small.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Going back a few years, we were at a resort near Nashville, TN. We dined there two nights (first time there), and were astounded by the portion sizes. On our second night, the GM approached the table, to talk with us. I shared my observations, and he allowed that he was trying to cut things back a bit. One example was the 10 oz Filet, which was the smallest offering. He was about to reintroduce a 6 oz, as most patrons could only finish about half of the 10 oz entree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Same for the various "sides," which were sized to be shared by a hungry party of four, at the best.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The third night, at a hosted dinner, my wife and I knew the portion sizes, and ordered appropriately, splitting many things. Even with warnings, the host ordered a half-dozen sides, and most of the food went back to the trash, or to wherever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I only see such giant portions in the US, and not even in Italy, a society known to want to feed everyone to being stuffed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The overly-large portions are a big concern for me, especially if they are at a resort. Most diners do not have the capabilities to store leftovers, in their rooms. While I have no problems with leftovers, if I have to see a lot of food going to waste, I feel bad. Dining should make one feel good, at least IMHO.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Agree completely...but if you read this entire thread you'll see that many disagree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I realize that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        When doing MY restaurant reviews, I more often cite a restaurant for offering portions that are just too large.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I cannot recall the last time that either of us complained about portions being too small, though that IS popular with a segment of society.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Heck, my wife cringes when I go for the 14-course Tasting Menu, even after I assure her that the portions will be about the size of an amuse boche!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Some folk seem to think that if they go "out to eat," for US $20 per person, they will bring home enough food to feed the entire neighborhood for a week. We are just not of that mind set.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        If we wish to feed the neighborhood, then we'll host a "neighborhood pot-luck dinner."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Maybe I just travel too much?


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Keep it up Bill...you're funny! And I agree...I can't remember the last time I was served something and thought the portion was too small.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yeah. There HAD to be a restaurant, where the portions were too small, but in 60 years of dining out, I just cannot recall when that was...


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Portions that are too large and attendants in the men's room!! Is there no end to this outrage??

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              But at least it sounds like Hunt gets service "above and beyond" in the men's room!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                You are correct - no end!


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                PS - Especially if there is NOT an attendant in the men's room...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Restaurant portions are too big for women which is part of the reason women struggle more with weight. I have long thought that restaurants should offer a full portion and 1/2 or 2/3 portion for every entree. Full portions effectively discriminate against women because they force us to pay for food than we cannot eat or worse, they condition us to eat more food than is healthy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: MiaSeths

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The cost of the extra food is trivial.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Women have free will.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            the restaurant is giving its customers what they want.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Jackie Mason joke.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MiaSeths

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              So you think restaurants should offer woman a smaller size since giving woman the same size as men is discrimination?Ridiculous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kpaxonite

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Wow, I agree. Order what you want, eat what you want, take the rest home or eat lightly the next day. Sometimes I want a snack, sometimes I'm really hungry and want to stuff myself. What I eat is up to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sure, it would be nice to offer half portions for people of either sex with light appetites, on a diet, want to try more dishes, etc. but I don't see it as a sex discrimination issue at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: babette feasts

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Some restaurants around here will offer (unadvertised) 1/2 portions, including the local Pancake House. I'll get a 1/2 order of pancakes, or even a "1/2 omelette" (made with 2 eggs instead of their usual 4). Didn't even know that option was available until a dining companion told me about it--it's worth asking about. Another option: advantage of being older, we now can order from the senior section, which offers smaller plates at smaller prices.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Many restaurant servings ARE too damn big. America, this is why you're fat... That said, I wonder why the skinny girl didn't order a half sandwich. Unless she was completely oblivious to her surroundings, she should have noticed the portion sizes at other tables.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I recommend ordering the half,. or at other places, one of the appetizers, which are more than enough for one or two light eaters. Or, when you can, take it home for the next day. I mean, just what were they wanting the manager to do about it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: RosePearl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                where do you go that allows you to order 1/2 a sandwich?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I believe the OP mentions that a half sandwich order was available at the restaurant describing the incident that starts this thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Uncle Yabai

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Agreed Uncle. Also, where I am a lot of local places offer 1/2 sandwich + soup or 1/2 sandwich + salad as lunch specials. My coworkers and I favor one local pizza place for lunch because they offer 1/2 cheesesteak or 1/2 hoagie.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      And Subway, and Quizno's, and Amato's, and.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: carlee134

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I couldn't have said it better.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Note the caption- "bizarre restaurant

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. There should honestly be more complaints about portion sizes at restaurants.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Restaurants serve way too much food to people and that is why America is so damn fat.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    People who remember portion sizes being smaller overall will understand this point a lot better, or at least if you accept that as true... I'll continue...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Kids grow up eating these large portions of food, so it's "normal" for them to think that the portion size it proper. They will continue throughout life overeating because that's how they grew up and what they're used to. Fast forward twenty years and we have some SERIOUSLY overweight people.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The plain facts are that we live in a culture where big plates and "big food" are accepted, and contribute to people being overweight and obese.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Of course someone is going to bring up... well that's not true someone can learn dietary habits and find out that they have been overeating their whole lives. Well, yes that does happen, but not the majority. Not even close to it... That's why we have a ridiculous rate of obesity.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Go back fifty years, what was the obesity rate then?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    -- People have literally become pigs and don't have a clue that in order to survive you don't need to stuff your face, eat every last crumb on your plate, eat ice cream every night, junk all the time, etc etc etc-- to be healthy and live.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    F---K the restaurant business with respect to gorging its customers, and f---k fat Americans for creating that par "expected" standard that restaurants now have to keep up with because people are overeating and have expanded their stomachs, so it takes more to fill them up when they're hungry.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm sick of these comments, oh I just can't lose weight no matter how much I try. BS, you just haven't invested enough time into eating healthy and exercising and don't have the willpower to obtain results you want. You ate yourself into that situation over years, and it will take time for you to shed all that fat, through discipline and effort.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    --And the "glandular" or other medical condition argument. Yes, these are contributing factors, and sometimes conditions like PCOS do make it very hard or close to impossible to lose weight... BUT these are not valid arguments... they apply to a tiny tiny tiny percentage of the population. Just look at how obesity rates have risen over the decades and it's pretty D clear what's going on.