Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Aug 14, 2013 08:51 PM

Would you ever feel comfortable asking for ...

... a salt shaker at a place like Alinea, or the French Laundry, or a sushi/Japanese place like Masa or Urasawa, or a Chinese place like Koi Palace?

What if you just felt the food was under seasoned and just needed that little dash of salt to round out the taste (to your liking)?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. If I am paying French Laundry prices I would have no problem asking for anything.

    5 Replies
    1. re: jpc8015

      I tend to agree, mostly. As much as some chefs love to believe that their food is perfectly seasoned, in the real world we all have different tolerances, especially for salt. What I find perfect my mom finds underseasoned.

      That said, if I was at the French Laundry, I'd probably draw the line at asking for ketchup.

      1. re: JonParker

        I don't think I could keep a straight face if I tried asking for ketchup at French Laundry.

          1. re: Perilagu Khan

            [Quote] I'd ask for Miracle Whip. [/Quote]


        1. re: JonParker

          <<if I was at the French Laundry, I'd probably draw the line at asking for ketchup.>>

          Though I do enjoy ketchup on some things, I do agree with you.


      2. The original comment has been removed
          1. Probably not.

            I assume that, at that level of pricing, the chef knows what's what about her/his dishes and I'd want to eat them as they were intended to be eaten.

            That said, dining has come a long way since the 1980s whenMichelin 3* chef, Nico Ladenis, would order customers out of the restaurant for asking for salt.

            I'm assuming the OP's question about salt is intended to be more generic about condiments rather than just salt and I've answered on that basis. If it was just about salt, then I would never ask for it. I neither cook with salt, not add it to my food at the table.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Harters

              Louis' Lunch in New Haven - ask for salt or ketchup and you're out. At least that's how it was when old man Lassen ran it. It's the oldest hamburger restaurant in America.

              1. re: Veggo

                Hasn't changed and always great.

              2. re: Harters

                I think that's the crux of the matter. If I was on a competition cooking show I'd probably be eliminated early for underseasoning. I'm highly sensitive to salt, and while I like my food seasoned, what I consider fine is what many people consider bland.

                1. re: Harters

                  To me, the chef prepares a dish to their personal tastes. However, as I am the patron, if I feel a need for something more, I do not hesitate to request it. If the chef wishes to do battle, then I am ready.

                  Still, regarding salt, we almost never use it, beyond the prep, and more often wish that less had been used - that is our tastes, and not some other motivation.


                2. I would ask but, not for your standard table salt, rather a finishing salt. I don't feel I'm being critical of the chef or establishment but, maybe a line cook. Then again, it could be my worn out taste buds!