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Author Topic: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?  (Read 37862 times)

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Thipu1

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #150 on: January 15, 2014, 10:27:42 AM »
We saw a situation like that a year or so ago. 

A new French bistro opened in the neighborhood and it was wonderful.  One night we were there and there was a fairly large party at a neighboring table so we could't avoid hearing what was going on.  The owner was taking their order and it was amazing.

Every single diner had a list of substitutions as long as your arm.  As a result, the dishes served would have been completely different from those on the menu. 

The owner was polite but firm.  Perhaps, if nothing on the menu was to their liking, they would be happier dining someplace else.  They left.

Most places will make some substitutions.  For example, if the dish you would like comes with peas and another dish comes with carrots, it's usually no problem to ask for carrots instead of peas.  Sauce on the side or the substitution of two vegetables instead of one vegetable and a starch are usually also fine. 

menley

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #151 on: January 15, 2014, 10:35:25 AM »
In general, in Europe substitutions are not done like they are in the U.S. In particular, the country that I live in is a former Soviet-occupied state and in many ways still has the customer service mindset that it had during communism. The prevailing attitude is very much "You will take what we offer and like it or you'll leave." I can't tell you how many times friends and family, while here on a visit, have tried to rattle off a list of substitutions and changes and have either been told that it can't be done, or received their dish a little bit later exactly as described on the menu without the requested changes.

jedikaiti

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #152 on: January 15, 2014, 01:05:32 PM »
In general, in Europe substitutions are not done like they are in the U.S. In particular, the country that I live in is a former Soviet-occupied state and in many ways still has the customer service mindset that it had during communism. The prevailing attitude is very much "You will take what we offer and like it or you'll leave." I can't tell you how many times friends and family, while here on a visit, have tried to rattle off a list of substitutions and changes and have either been told that it can't be done, or received their dish a little bit later exactly as described on the menu without the requested changes.

In a touristy town near me, it's pretty common to see lots of students from abroad working in restaurants as seasonal workers. Once, I was in one restaurant with my parents, and we had 2 waitresses, both apparently from a former Soviet Bloc country, and both apparently quite new. They definitely had no experience with American-style service, and may or may not have waited tables previously, and it was rather amusing in a blind-leading-the-blind kind of way.

We ordered, and I asked for a baked potato instead of fries. They looked at each other confused, and I got a short, curt "NO!" Oooookay. They put in our order and a moment later another (American) server came by and said that yes, I could have the baked potato if I still wanted it.
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DavidH

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #153 on: January 15, 2014, 01:29:26 PM »
It definitely depends on the restaurant, but every place I've lived has had some restaurants that charge a corkage and some that do not.  I've even see them waive it for a particularly unusual wine, but not for a common one.  I haven't heard the term cakeage, but I've heard of the concept.  I think the best plan is to ask before you bring any outside food or beverage to a restaurant if you intend to consume it there.  That would then be the time for the restaurant to inform you of any fees at which point you can decide to go there or to another restaurant. 

In my experience, other than one burger place, asking for minor changes is reasonable, with the understanding that they may not be able to accommodate some of them.  I expect to be asked to what temperature I want most individually portioned meat served, steaks, burgers, lamb chops, some types of fish like a tuna steak.  Sauce on the side or omitted seems a common and reasonable request, as does salad dressing on the side or omitting a particular salad ingredient or sandwich topping.  Depending on the type of restaurant, it might even be okay to ask for a dinner portion of an appetizer or an appetizer portion of a pasta.  Asking for a soup or stew with an ingredient omitted is problematic since it is likely pre-made, but I suppose you can ask if you'll accept that it probably cannot be done.  Asking for a wholesale revamp of the dish seems over the top unless you know the restaurant is open to that. 

I hadn't realized that in other parts of the world asking for minor variations was so unwelcome. 

Katana_Geldar

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #154 on: January 15, 2014, 03:12:31 PM »
I see it this way: the restaurant staff have careful prepares the menu in terms of taste, cost and reasonable time to serve. Any major deviation from that is going to mess with that system, particularly if something is prepared several serves at a time. Your substitutions or omissions might delay orders for the entire kitchen.

I also see restaurants as the chance to try things differently, not just different foods but different methods of preparation. Particularly at high end restaurants. Like duck and abalone ravioli consommé.

Since my pregnancy, though, I have been a lot more careful about what I eat and I will ask for substitutions if it's not too big a deal, such as replacing their fresh mayonaise with sour cream. There are some places we aren't even going to go until after the baby is born, like a seafood restaurant we like or this Brazilian barbecue DH raves about.

But it might be the mentality I was brought up in, my parents had a very "clean your plate even if it's bad" attitude that we don't want to pass on .

Twik

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #155 on: January 15, 2014, 03:17:33 PM »
David Chang is apparently famous for his philosophy: If you don't like the way we make it here, go someplace else. So yeah, there are some places where you can't ask for anything special. Period. Take it or leave it.

He may as well put out a sign that says "People with allergies shouldn't enter," I'd say.
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lowspark

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #156 on: January 15, 2014, 03:34:20 PM »
David Chang is apparently famous for his philosophy: If you don't like the way we make it here, go someplace else. So yeah, there are some places where you can't ask for anything special. Period. Take it or leave it.

He may as well put out a sign that says "People with allergies shouldn't enter," I'd say.

Yeah. Or Vegetarians. Or lots of other people with dietary restrictions, whether voluntary or not. But hey, it seems to work for him I guess.
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Katana_Geldar

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #157 on: January 15, 2014, 04:13:17 PM »
What do you people think of this?

http://www.foodforthoughtonline.net/No_Substitutions_Please.html

It does give he other point of view from the kitchen, and how an "innocent" substitution can affect things.

Another story I can think of, I recently went to a pasta bar and explained to the server that I couldn't have a sauce that had raw egg in it and asked for his suggestion. He suggested a particularly sauce but it also had ham in it, which I said I couldn't have either. He then offered to make it without ham and I tipped him.

rose red

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #158 on: January 15, 2014, 05:00:12 PM »
David Chang is apparently famous for his philosophy: If you don't like the way we make it here, go someplace else. So yeah, there are some places where you can't ask for anything special. Period. Take it or leave it.

He may as well put out a sign that says "People with allergies shouldn't enter," I'd say.

Nothing wrong with that.  I think Five Guys burger joints have signs. 

If I own a restaurant, I wouldn't want to accommodate allergies (the deadly ones anyway).  Too scary since it can easily go so wrong.  I don't want to hold someones life in my hands all because there's a drop of peanut oil or green pepper on the counter.

Tea Drinker

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #159 on: January 15, 2014, 06:40:20 PM »
David Chang is apparently famous for his philosophy: If you don't like the way we make it here, go someplace else. So yeah, there are some places where you can't ask for anything special. Period. Take it or leave it.

He may as well put out a sign that says "People with allergies shouldn't enter," I'd say.

That depends on whether he's putting the same few allergens in everything. My husband can't eat mushrooms, so when we eat out he tells the server that he's allergic "so please tell me if I ask for something with mushrooms in it." Another friend has to avoid peppers--which means reading menus carefully, asking about ingredients, and if something normally comes with peppers, she doesn't take the chance, she orders a different dish. She won't set foot in a Mexican restaurant, for fairly obvious reasons--but Mexican food is fine for my husband and his mushroom allergy.
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eee

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #160 on: January 15, 2014, 07:05:28 PM »

Another story I can think of, I recently went to a pasta bar and explained to the server that I couldn't have a sauce that had raw egg in it and asked for his suggestion. He suggested a particularly sauce but it also had ham in it, which I said I couldn't have either. He then offered to make it without ham and I tipped him.

So substitions are acceptable for you, but not for vegans or Americans?

katycoo

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #161 on: January 15, 2014, 07:51:39 PM »

Another story I can think of, I recently went to a pasta bar and explained to the server that I couldn't have a sauce that had raw egg in it and asked for his suggestion. He suggested a particularly sauce but it also had ham in it, which I said I couldn't have either. He then offered to make it without ham and I tipped him.

So substitions are acceptable for you, but not for vegans or Americans?

That's not fair - Katana didn't ASK for any substitutions.  She asked what would be suitable from their menu as is.  A change was OFFERED.

VorFemme

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #162 on: January 15, 2014, 08:19:43 PM »
Some substitutions are more easily made than others....

If the only frying oil in the restaurant is peanut oil or mixed unknown oils - using an oil KNOWN to be completely free of peanut oil is not going to be possible.  The consequences of possible contamination are just too severe (and the clean up before changing oil types is going to take too long).

If the feta cheese is added to the salad after it is tossed - it is easily left off.  If it is in the "mixed salad" bag already - it is not going to be easy, as the bits of cheese (in my experience) keep breaking into smaller & smaller bits of "stuff that I find distasteful but does not provoke an allergic response".

There is a yogurt, dill, and cucumber sauce/dip in Greek food that does make my mouth itch - yogurt by itself doesn't do that - I've been telling people that I don't LIKE dill pickles for decades...I guess at three or four (first time I told someone that, apparently) I didn't know the word "itch" yet....but I managed to mostly avoid dill & cucumber for decades...pickles are easily left off sandwiches, as long as the cook isn't on "auto pilot".

And I've watched a batch of hamburgers being assembled where the cook WAS on auto pilot and had to go back and remove "stuff" - or grab a fresh bun....
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Library Dragon

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #163 on: January 15, 2014, 08:36:56 PM »
There are substitutions and then ther are substitutions.

DH and I like to go to pairing dinners: wine pairings, cocktails, etc.  There are two couples we dine out with regularly but won't go to pairing dinners with them. 

In the first couple one partner has food sensitivities. They refuse to call the restaurant ahead of time and give the chef a heads up. They wait until they are at the table. At this time most of the food is prepped and it creates a major headache for the kitchen.

One partner in the second couple has allergies and also doesn't call ahead.  The other partner is really unwilling to try anything new. He once had a melt down because the steak had an espresso rub. Forget seafood or sauces.  He also only drinks cocktail A. It doesn't matter what the pairing is he doesn't drink the beverage.

Our meal service is always delayed.

Both couples will say, "Restaurant B is having a wine dinner." We suggest going on a different night and just having dinner when substitutions are as problematic.

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Allyson

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #164 on: January 15, 2014, 11:19:11 PM »

Another story I can think of, I recently went to a pasta bar and explained to the server that I couldn't have a sauce that had raw egg in it and asked for his suggestion. He suggested a particularly sauce but it also had ham in it, which I said I couldn't have either. He then offered to make it without ham and I tipped him.

So substitions are acceptable for you, but not for vegans or Americans?

Wait, when she say Americans couldn't ask for substitutions? I know there was some discussion of how American service tends to be more 'accomodate the customer' than some other countries, but that's just a cultural difference...

I wonder if other countries will start to move more towards the American way or not. With tourism so huge, it's an interesting thought.... I do think there is, or should be, room for restaurants that are "make it to order" and those that are "we do it like it is on the menu, deal with it" but it would be nice if there was some way to indicate this, too.

I mean, isn't the point of "create your own" type places that most places aren't so customizable? Or is that just out of date? :D


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