Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
Jan 14, 2014 07:52 AM

Fresh silverware with new courses

Inspired by the chopsticks thread, I have to bring up an annoyance of mine.

You go to a restaurant and order starters. They bring salad, app or whatever I've ordered.. I use the fork and knife to eat it. I finish and leave the dirty fork and knife on the plate. The server comes by and whisks the plate off the table taking the knife and fork.

Now the main courses come to the table. No new silverware is brought. So what am I supposed to do? Pick things up and eat it with my hands? So I spend 2-3 minutes trying to flag someone down to bring me a knife and fork.

Small thing I ask of servers/resto management, if you don't plan on normally giving new silverware to your patrons with a new course, can you tell me to take the knife and fork off the plate and keep them before you take it away?

Even better, can you train your staff to replace any silverware you remove when you clear plates?

Best of all, plan to change the silverware with the courses for the entire table as a rule so you don't have this problem. That way you can give the proper utensils to go with the meal to each diner - e.g. steak knife to go with the steak.

I've noticed that my local neighborhood places that follow the last policy have much more professional and polished FOH staff that just makes for a better experience.

Its a small thing but that's why its so annoying. I don't want to have to ask for a fork to eat my pasta.

I'll leave the timing of pours by the server from the bottle of wine I bought which is being kept somewhere else to another time.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I think I like it even less when the server tells me to keep my fork from a plate they are clearing. If I've left it on the plate, just take it and - of course per your point - bring me another one.

    5 Replies
    1. re: thimes

      I am reminded of a long-time restaurant critic here in town who used to refer to "one-fork restaurants".

      1. re: lemons

        Did he establish an appropriate price range for them? I'm always annoyed when it happens at restaurants that I find on the pricier side. I can understand/accept at Applebee's level, but anything above that, I think I'm paying for more than one fork.

        As I recall the European restaurants of my youth (aka - ven I vas a little girl in Germany....), a place setting consisted of every fork, knife, and spoon that one could possibly use in the course of a meal. With a big soup spoon at the top of the plate.

        1. re: 512window

          Not so much the price level but the sort of restaurant - mostly used as a sort of "this is a humble place" or "Chez Whatsissnozzle is too upscale to be a one-fork restaurant".

        2. re: lemons

          <<"one-fork restaurants".>>

          I think that the description works on several levels.


        3. re: thimes

          I dislike it if I have to put my dirty utensils on the table.
          If I can put them on a bread plate it doesn't bother me as much.

        4. One Chef I worked with, a few years back, would be incensed if a server hadn't set out the appropriate cutlery before delivering a plate.
          My vote is for the server to replace all cutlery which was removed from the table, AND to add whatever is appropriate for the next course. Before the plate is dropped on the table :P

          1. Well, they are wrong, of course, but how about asking for the utensils when the food comes sans utensils?

            2 Replies
            1. re: RosePearl

              But that's the point of my rant. I don't want to have to ask. The server should know enough to bring the damn fork without being asked.

              1. re: Bkeats

                At a fine-dining restaurant, one should NEVER have to ask.

                Some dishes might require a fish knife, a spoon, and a fork. Whether all are used, is dependent on the diner. All should be replaced.


            2. Where I am in the world, new cutlery for each course is a given.

              Table would usually be set for a new diner for two savoury courses, plus dessert. Occasionally, it isnt. In which case, new cutlery is brought before the next course arrives. Even rarer, is when the new cutlery is forgotten and you have to ask the server for it when the next dish arrives - takes seconds to sort things out.

              As Bkeats' last sentence, I can probably do a full 30 minute rant on the subject of timing of pours, etc. But in summary - just leave the bottle of wine and the water on the table - I have the strength to lift them and pour myself.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Harters


                I will likely depend on the restaurant, and their level of service.

                Even approaching a 1* restaurant, I expect used, and un-used flatware to be replaced, dish to dish, but maybe I expect too much?


              2. At the type of restaurant our budget can afford, I assume that all silverware I'm going to receive is on the table at the beginning of the meal. Some places give you a butter knife and a salad fork etc, some places don't. I just rest my used silverware on the bread plate so it's not lying flat on the table and if I have to use it again it's not a big deal.