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May 2, 2014 12:13 AM

Limits to special needs in no choice restaurants?

Last night we watched as two nearby tables stretched the bounds of hospitality. At one, an imperious American woman (picture her being played by Maggie Smith) batted her eyes
at the English language challenged waiter and gushed, "All of this sounds just
wonderful and I'm sure that it is, but I don't eat any meat, poultry or fish. Just tell your
chef I know that whatever he decides to cook for me will be excellent." Oooookay. And
not 15 minutes later a woman from a European country sat down, looked at the menu and told the waiter, pointing at the first three courses, "I don't like, I don't like and I don't like. Bring something else."

This restaurant is brand new and tiny. 24 seats and two people in the kitchen, 1 in FOH. Both diners were beautifully accommodated.

DH commented, "Children have to be told to do their homework. Adults shouldn't need to be told. "

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  1. So many visiting hounds worry about whether a given restaurant is child-friendly, when some of the adults are clearly restaurant-hostile.

    1. Hopefully the chef simply opened the bag from Picard....

      1 Reply
      1. re: PhilD

        This is becoming so frequent that I guess they all have the Picard bag stashed in the freezer for whenever that comes up.

      2. I might have understood the first woman a generation ago in Paris, but now there are far more choices without meat, poultry or fish.

        As for the second, she should have eaten somewhere else. No shortage of restaurants in Paris.

        Was this in Paris? You didn't state the town or city.

        1. How would you wise CHs have dealt with these folks if you were the chef/FOH in this particular setting? (the beginning scene from the movie Mostly Martha comes to my urge to be honest...)

          For the "I don't like x3" lady the house took the gracious but simplist way to keep her quiet, but while not easy to do this in a small space I would have challenged her to choose one from the menu and offer to pay for the meal should she declare "I don't like x4" This way as a chef I am still cooking what I want/planned (and letting her know that her such request is not welcomed), and not playing the impossible game of what she wants...

          2 Replies
          1. re: Kurtis

            "How would you wise CHs have dealt with these folks if you were the chef/FOH in this particular setting?"
            The answer is gun control.
            The title says "no choice restaurants".
            Obviously a gun was pointed to diners to force them to eat there.

            1. re: Kurtis

              I'd have handled it the way I handle my kitchen - "this is what I am serving." So basically I would have told the people (nicely)that the choice was up to them. They could stay and have what was on offer or leave. If we have guests coming I always ask if there are any food issues that I should know about and try to accommodate them. Here in the US it is becoming more and more common when you make a reservation for them to ask if you have any food allergies or dislikes. As someone who doesn't eat pork (or most red meat) I try hard to find places that will work for me naturally, not that I will force to work for me.