Author Topic: Prices only on one menu (never heard of this)  (Read 3099 times)

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Yvaine

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Re: Prices only on one menu (never heard of this)
« Reply #15 on: June 06, 2014, 09:34:02 AM »
She was very nervous when she received a ladies' menu - she was trying to make a good impression on the parents and didn't want to look greedy by ordering the most expensive thing!

I think the whole "order from the middle of the menu" tip would still apply in these cases if if she was worried about avoiding anything too expensive.

That's assuming that they have helpfully arranged it in order of cost, rather than, say, by type of entrée.

In my experience, even if it is arranged by entree type, it's also arranged by cost. The baked sole is usually before the Lobster Newburg...

I've seen menus that are the opposite--the expensive luxury items at the top, and the budget items lower down (and in smaller font, ha). Those weren't "ladies' menus" but just regular menus, so I don't know if that holds true for those. At the extremes I think you could guess--the gold-encrusted caviar with diamond sauce (I made that up) is bound to be more expensive than the grilled cheese. But I think toward the middle it would be hard to guess whether one thing is a buck more than another thing or not. And I guess if they're both around the middle, it doesn't really matter etiquette-wise.

lowspark

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Re: Prices only on one menu (never heard of this)
« Reply #16 on: June 06, 2014, 09:45:40 AM »
I've never actually seen this either but have some vague knowledge that they exist(ed). I agree that the entire purpose of them is to communicate that the host wants his/her guests to order whatever they like with no consideration as to cost so to actually disapprove of what your guests are thinking of ordering is at a complete cross purpose.

As far as ordering from the middle of the menu, I find that to be silly if you don't know what the prices are. How can you possibly know what the middle of the menu is? Sometimes the most simple sounding dish can be more expensive than the fancy one. Sure the extremes are obvious, "gold-encrusted caviar with diamond sauce" (I love that!) but for the most part, I wouldn't know which is more expensive, the halibut or the lamb chops. 

ydpubs

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Re: Prices only on one menu (never heard of this)
« Reply #17 on: June 06, 2014, 09:51:02 AM »
Yes, I have seen this. This was in the early 90's. My boyfriend at the time took me to the Four Seasons. We were seated and the waiter was handing out menus. My BF tried to reach for it, but the Maitre d whisked it out of his reach and said: Oh, this is for the lady.

We looked over the menu, talking over different items. He mentioned the price of something (not complaining, he was making some big bucks at the time) and I said: I wouldn't know and showed him my menu. It did not have any prices. We were both surprised and had a good laugh.
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Sophia

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Re: Prices only on one menu (never heard of this)
« Reply #18 on: June 06, 2014, 09:54:35 AM »
I think it is nice that this is an option. 
A part of a former job involved taking other engineers out to lunch when I was visiting.  I think this would have been a nice touch. It would also have clarified ahead of time that I was the one to get the check. 

Twik

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Re: Prices only on one menu (never heard of this)
« Reply #19 on: June 06, 2014, 09:59:39 AM »
--the gold-encrusted caviar with diamond sauce (I made that up)...

But now I cannot rest until I have some.   >:D
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lowspark

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Re: Prices only on one menu (never heard of this)
« Reply #20 on: June 06, 2014, 10:03:06 AM »
--the gold-encrusted caviar with diamond sauce (I made that up)...

But now I cannot rest until I have some.   >:D

Let me know how it tastes... and if it's crunchy.  ;D

lady_disdain

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Re: Prices only on one menu (never heard of this)
« Reply #21 on: June 06, 2014, 10:03:59 AM »
If I am hosting someone, specially at an expensive restaurant or for business, I appreciate this. My guest doesn't need to know the cost, just as I would never give a gift with a price tag attached.

ladyknight1

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Re: Prices only on one menu (never heard of this)
« Reply #22 on: June 06, 2014, 10:05:13 AM »
Goodness what a blast from the past.  It used to be common before WW2', and was called a ladies menu.  Your date impressed you with it (!) so you could order without embarrassing him by ordering the cheapest item wondering if he could afford to pay.

This is how I have heard of it as well. The concept is present in several books I have read.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Prices only on one menu (never heard of this)
« Reply #23 on: June 06, 2014, 10:33:44 AM »
It is an absurd concept.   The only time it's appropriate to not have pricing is for an actual *hosted* meal, e.g. at a reception venue you'd expect the menus not to have pricing.   I guess in some circumstances a smaller group might like to utilize the hosting concept in which case it's a nice thing for the restaurant to be able to offer (for example, a business meeting), but I imagine arrangements could be made for that.   Many restaurants have a set menu option that could be offered. 

But having this "standard" seems rude, and if they asked me who was paying I would tell them to mind their own business.  Honestly I'd wonder if they were questioning our ability to pay the bill!   It seems like an offensive thing to enquire about upfront IMHO.

If you'll notice in the OP, the question was asked at the time the reservation was booked. So if you wanted your guests to see prices then that is when you'd want to request priced menus for everyone. Or if no one was hosting then you state that and the restaurant knows to provide priced menus.

I can see howyou'd find the practice absurd if you walked in off the street with no knowledge and the man/menwere automatically given a priced menu and the woman/s receive un priced like in the olden days. But I don't think you can say that clarifying how to handle the check when making reservations is offensive. It can actually reduce awkwardness.

Lynn2000

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Re: Prices only on one menu (never heard of this)
« Reply #24 on: June 06, 2014, 10:36:39 AM »
How interesting! I'd never heard of it before. I can see the idea behind it being that the guests don't have to worry about what the food costs and should just order what they want, but I think everyone has to be sincere about that! If the host is giving signals that something is too expensive, they shouldn't have chosen this type of restaurant and offered to pay. Previous threads suggest enough people have trouble with the concept of ordering considerately even when there are prices listed, and not everyone is aware of all the price distinctions between food--which type of fish would be more expensive, for example, or which cut of beef.

Personally I like having prices, partially because of what they tell me about the dish. Sometimes you can get an idea of the size or complexity of the dish by how much it costs, for example.
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TootsNYC

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Re: Prices only on one menu (never heard of this)
« Reply #25 on: June 06, 2014, 10:45:09 AM »
This is old, old etiquette. From the early days of restaurant entertaining, when people were genuine hosts (especially when ladies didn't handle money).
   It's also useful today when people are genuinely hosting; though sometimes what's arranged is a custom menu, where the expensive things the host doesn't want to pay for are not included on the menu, but prices are left off.

And I think Dad was the source of the problem.

Quote
only to be given a stern look from her dad and thus divining it was too expensive and she would have to pick something else

Because if he can't afford to pay for the entrees at that restaurant, he should have picked a different restaurant. Or ordered something less expensive himself to make up for it.
  And "stern look"? C'mon, Dad, nobody needs to be scolded here!! Just say, "Oh, you know, that one's $20, all the others are $15, so don't order that." Stern look? Insert multiple eyerolls here!!!  (did Dad know that her menu didn't have any prices?)

Or, he should have shown her the menu with prices, or said, "don't pick the steak, the lobster, or the veal, because it's too expensive."

I think she should have gotten up, gone over to the maitre'd, and asked for a menu with prices.

Yvaine

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Re: Prices only on one menu (never heard of this)
« Reply #26 on: June 06, 2014, 10:48:00 AM »
and not everyone is aware of all the price distinctions between food--which type of fish would be more expensive, for example, or which cut of beef.

It even varies regionally, which I know is a cliche but it's true in this case. I live where beef is cheap and seafood is expensive, but if I travel somewhere by the sea, I might find it the other way around.

Shalamar

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Re: Prices only on one menu (never heard of this)
« Reply #27 on: June 06, 2014, 10:49:41 AM »
That reminds me of a column I used to read.  The writer was a woman, and this particular column was about her visiting a restaurant with her husband and two young children.  Invariably, her son would order the most expensive thing on the menu, leading to this discussion:

Son:  I'll have Blah.
Husband:  No, you won't.
Son:  Why not?
Husband:  You know perfectly well why not.  Order something else.
Son:  But that's what I want to eat.
Husband:  Too bad.  *to the waitress*  He'll have the kids' hamburger meal.

(I should point out that the son was old enough to read the menu and know what the prices were.)  Still, I always felt sorry for the kid.  If the parents couldn't afford the most expensive item, they shouldn't have taken their kids to that kind of restaurant! 

rose red

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Re: Prices only on one menu (never heard of this)
« Reply #28 on: June 06, 2014, 10:51:43 AM »
The first time I heard of this was in an episode of Three's Company.

Yvaine

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Re: Prices only on one menu (never heard of this)
« Reply #29 on: June 06, 2014, 10:51:49 AM »
That reminds me of a column I used to read.  The writer was a woman, and this particular column was about her visiting a restaurant with her husband and two young children.  Invariably, her son would order the most expensive thing on the menu, leading to this discussion:

Son:  I'll have Blah.
Husband:  No, you won't.
Son:  Why not?
Husband:  You know perfectly well why not.  Order something else.
Son:  But that's what I want to eat.
Husband:  Too bad.  *to the waitress*  He'll have the kids' hamburger meal.

(I should point out that the son was old enough to read the menu and know what the prices were.)  Still, I always felt sorry for the kid.  If the parents couldn't afford the most expensive item, they shouldn't have taken their kids to that kind of restaurant!

I've seen this conversation before:

Parent: What do you want to drink, Kid?
Kid: Mountain Dew.
Parent: You can have milk. (to server) He'll have milk.

Why did the parent even ask the kid, if there was only one right option? Was it a quiz to see if he'd answer correctly?