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Restaurant Special Requests


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Why go to a restaurant if you're craving supermarket ice cream or a papaya from the local deli?

I think there is a lot of insight by Stone's "off menu" explanation. It's kind of like a friend who teaches karate but hates to teach women because they always aim for the balls.

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Long ago, in another place :o there was a lot of discussion about the power play of ordering "off the menu." :) Some customers see it as their right, to show their companions how much power they wield. (Remember the scene with Danny Devito at Ivy in Get Shorty? There you go.) And some people are just passive-aggressive. :(

 

At Zeppole, we had a guy come in with his model girlfriend. She wanted NO FAT ;) so I had to rinse all the dressings (just olive oil and lemon or orange juice) off the antipasto items she ordered. And at Match, we had a customer who wanted just plain grilled salmon, steamed spinach, and mashed potatoes.In both instances, we could do it with only minor disruption to service, and so we did do it. After the second time each, they stopped; whether they stopped coming in or simply ordered regular menu items, I don't know. But I still think that once they had proven that they could get what they wanted, menu be damned, they lost interest.

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It all depends on the guest and what else is happening in the restaurant at that time.I regularly go over to the pub opposite for drinks that we don't stock,we only have a tiny bar.When a guest demands something out of the ordinary in a "Customer is King" kind of way, i tend not to want to do it, if they ask nicely, then we will do our best to get it.Human nature.

 

 

 

 

...and lo it came to pass.

 

Tonight one couple wanted some sweet wine (not dessert wine) so a trip over to the pub for a bottle of Liebfraumilch.. a first for us :)

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A woman (let's just say she is not French) complains to the waiter that the tarte tatin doesn't taste authentic and what she really wants is something more like an apple pie. Chef comes out and asks with a heavy French accent, "what do you know about what an authentic tarte tatin is supposed to taste like?" Women gets flustered, blushes and blurts out, "I dunno, it tastes off." The chef asks her if she brushed her teeth that morning.

 

Another time a customer requested lobster bisque, the whole table wanted it. It is not a menu item. They are friends of the owner, they insist. No lobster in the house, so the chef makes it from shrimp and scallops and charges them lobster bisque prices. They declare it is the best lobster bisque they've ever had.

 

Yet another customer wanted oeufs a la neige (who the hell orders that?). "Oh such a special dish, takes a delicate hand to poach those egg whites". Um, well in culinary school in France they teach a shortcut microwave method too.

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A woman (let's just say she is not French) complains to the waiter that the tarte tatin doesn't taste authentic and what she really wants is something more like an apple pie. Chef comes out and asks with a heavy French accent, "what do you know about what an authentic tarte tatin is supposed to taste like?" Women gets flustered, blushes and blurts out, "I dunno, it tastes off." The chef asks her if she brushed her teeth that morning.

 

a woman (she's not french but has eaten tarte tatin many times in France and other places) tells the host her tarte tatin was more like an apple pie than a tarte tatin (the host asked how the tarte was and the restaurant has beendescribed as "part-bistro"). the host says "my husband, the chef, is french and he says it's tarte tatin" (i may be wrong but i don't think the chef is actually french, although he did cook in french restaurants here and staged in france)

 

off topic but couldn't resist, your story reminded me of that incident

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if you can't tell the difference between a papaya and a mango the chef should execute you and put you out of your misery.

 

At the end it was slowly dawning on her that maybe she wasn't cut out to run a restaurant.

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They go out a lot. At least when special visitors come. I've suggested I bring Power bars or something, but I also don't want to insult the family. There are too many of them to bring here. I've already thought of that!

 

I am confused by this. Do you mean to say that you already know that you will not be able to eat the food in Korea? Have you been before? Are you allergic to it or something?

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Just the other night, my daughter asks the waitress in an Italian restaurant if they can make Penne a la Vodka which isn't on the menu.

 

The waiter comes back and says the chef can make it but they will charge $16 for the pasta plus $8 for a shot of vodka. :)

 

She then ordered something on the menu.

 

Edited to add this was at Trattoria No. 10 in Chicago and the waitress was so embarrased by the chef's response that she bought my daughter a dessert.

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