A Splash of Humor and a Dash of Asshole

Horrible Restaurant Trends


I have noticed a lot of unacceptable trends going on in restaurants over the last few years. I have narrowed it down to nine things I hope I never see in a restaurant ever again.

1. Ridiculous Garnishes – There are a wide range of garnishes which make no sense to ever end up on a plate in a restaurant. Wolfgang Puck was garnishing roasted chickens with whole sprigs of rosemary back in the 80’s. Until I see him HSN snacking on one, it doesn’t belong on a plate. Things that can’t be enjoyed as part of the dish, do not belong on the dish. That brings me to edible flowers. Bright purple orchids do not belong on my salad, they belong in either in a pot or around the neck of some hot Hawaiian chick. As long as we’re talking about what doesn’t belong on plates, take it easy with the micro greens already. They have their place for sure. but should not be put on top of every dish.

2. Charcuterie Plates with Someone Else’s Hard Work On It – I recently ate at one of GQ Magazines “Ten Best New Restaurants.” The food was pretty amazing, except for one thing. When our charcuterie plate arrived we were amazed to learn that all of the various meats were ordered in from New York. The purpose of a charcuterie plate is to highlight all of the hard work and time you have put in to make all of those delicious cured meats. I think it is a travesty to slice some salami you order from a purveyor, put it on a plate and sell it as your charcuterie. Stop being lazy and make it yourself or don’t put it on the menu.

3. Mango and/or Fruit Salsas – If you have any of these on you menu you are a complete hack and should go get a job at Applebee’s. Mango salsa is a lot like Eddie Vedder. They both were pretty cool in the 90’s, but not anymore. But I wish mango salsa was more like Kurt Cobain. Way overrated when he first came out and ended it for good when the time was right.

4. Listing Everything on Your Menu As Home or House Made – When I eat at a restaurant, I like to believe the majority of the items on your menu are house made. That is assumed, it doesn’t need to be stated on every dish in your menu. As long as we’re on the topic, some things are not better when you make them yourself. A perfect example of this is ketchup. Please just give me some Heinz with my fries instead of that concoction of heirloom tomatoes and organic honey you just whipped up. Some things should be left alone.

5. Deconstruction of the Classics – I recently saw a deconstructed rueben sandwich on a menu. It literally was a plate with a little pile of sauerkraut, a pice of braised corned beef, a toasted round of rye bread and a julienne of swiss cheese. Why did deconstruction ever become popular? Some things are perfect just he way they are. If Point, Careme or Escoffier ever came back from the dead and saw this mockery, they would die. Wait a second, that analogy makes no sense at all. All I’m trying to say is people need to leave great dishes just the way they are.

6. Hipster Waiters – The purpose of a waiter is to completely take care of the customer. It is not to look cool and act like you don’t care. Take you earrings out, shave your face, clean your uniform and show some attention to the diners in the restaurant. Seeing a waiter sip on his hemp latte and chat it up with his fellow employees while I’m waiting drives me crazy. You can listen to 3oh3 and not have a care in the world as you ride your fixed gear into work, but after you show up and clock in, please at least act like you care.

7. Communal Tables – I want to sit by myself and enjoy my meal. I don’t want to listen to a stranger talk about how they don’t agree with the way the chef served the lamb, or how they know good food because they have seen every episode of “30 minute meals.” and Chef Rachel would never cook it like that. After all, isn’t that what Yelp and Citysearch are for?

8. Jeans – Waiters shouldn’t wear them because they look dumpy and unprofessional. Cooks shouldn’t wear them because they look dumpy and unprofessional.

9. Overly Descriptive Menus – Take it easy with the adjectives, people know the lobster tastes amazing they dont need to see the word succulent next to it. You don’t need to make us aware of every single ingredient in the Halibut dish. It is so refreshing to see a simplified menu. A few ingredients and maybe the cooking method used in preparation is all we need to know.

Please take these suggestions to heart.


6 responses

  1. Don Reed

    what makes you such an expert? get a life!

    February 8, 2011 at 4:34 am

    • What makes me an expert? Nothing. Where do I get my opinions? From busting my ass, working long days in kitchens for the last 14 years. Which part of the post irked you enough to feel the need to tell me to get a life?

      February 8, 2011 at 5:14 am

  2. Douglas

    face it, don reed is a cunt.

    February 9, 2011 at 1:14 am

  3. Turbz

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Hey, do have an extra pair of tongs, my balls really itch?

    February 16, 2011 at 2:44 am

  4. nck

    Ok, here we go. Been in the biz for 30 years, currently grossing 8M annually. Info so you know I’ve been doing something right……..

    Garnishes. Youre right, some are ridiculous. Youre wrong……..if you don’t eat it, it doesn’t belong. That rosemary….GOES with the dish. It ADDS to the aroma, and goes as a proper ingredient. It stays.

    Charcuterie. Its not about being lazy. Its about NOT having the time, or the HELP or the SPACE….OR THE TALENT. Nothing wrong about finding something really really good and wanting to share that discovery with your custormers. STAYS.

    Have many Mexicans working for me. Mango salsa is one of their favs to make. Properly done…AND if its delicious……..WHY would you take it off? Cause its SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO 90’s? Screw that. If it was REALLY tasty back then, it still is….STAYS.

    House made?? List it if you are a quick food family place……NO if you are a destination high end place,……..in that case, youre right…it SHOULD be housemade.

    Deconstruction. A perfect example of what people will do and eat so that they can be “stylish”.

    Hipster waiters. Servers are a necessary evil. America hasnt had good servers since it became a job you took while you got to school….but wait…..how many servers ever ACTUALLY graduate from said school???
    Servers suck.

    Communal table…..not in this country…..EVER.

    Most servers wear jeans because they ARE dumpy and unprofessional. ANd cooks….well look at the ridiculousness of “chefware”. Don’t be calling jeans unprofessional while THAT company stays in business.

    Overly descriptive menus. Writing down WHERE you got your product has ALWAYS been pretentious. Like more than 1/2% of your customers REALLY know or can tell the difference where your duck came from. Please.

    There is NOTHING phonier than the high end restaurant business. Not even hollyweird.

    March 15, 2011 at 7:47 pm

  5. nck

    Oh, and youve worked 14 years in the biz?? I remember that, back in 1990……..and just like you, I think I learned a bit. I work for myself, AND make a nice living…….which you CANNOT say for 99% of those of us who made the mistake of getting into this biz in the first place.

    March 15, 2011 at 7:49 pm

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