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Working the Line: Picky Diners and Special Requests

Our anonymous cook talks about one of her pet peeves: menu modifications.

In restaurants, we believe the customer is always right. Unless, of course, they’re not.

Sauce. Protein. Starch. Vegetable. All of these elements are seasoned and cooked in a way to make a delicious, harmonious dish. During menu development, chefs mix flavors and textures that (hopefully) rock a diner’s world. They consider the season, the area, and what food trends are sweeping the fine dining world. Blood, sweat, and tears are part of this exhaustive process, which is why it makes the kitchen sad when diners ask for modifications before even tasting a dish. Case in point: Sally Albright in When Harry Meets Sally. Try not to be like her.

Here are a few things that make our hearts sink when we read your table’s ticket:

  • SOS (Sauce on the side)
    • Why? You haven’t even tried it!
  • Chicken cooked extra well-done.
    • 165 degrees is the recommended temperature. Your chicken will be juicy and salmonella free, we promise! But apparently you enjoy jerky.
  •  Seafood cooked extra well-done.
    • If it’s shellfish, then you’ll be spending a long time chewing what is now nearly rubberized.
    • If it’s a piece of fin fish, you’re destroying the texture of it and again venturing into jerky territory.
  • Any piece of beef that is asked to be cooked to more than medium-rare.
    • You’re paying top dollar for this carnivorous delight. Why ruin it?
  • No salt
    • Seriously? I guess you don’t like flavor, either.

There are plenty more modifications that get sent through every day, but if you’re going to dine at a restaurant with excellent ratings and high prices, you really owe it to yourself to eat each dish the way our Chef recommends it. Heck, maybe even tell your server to go with the Chef’s choice. We love people who are up for trying anything!

(On a side note: If you’re on a diet, then you have my condolences. It’s probably depressing when everyone else in your party is sopping up sauces. Hopefully you will allow us some creative freedom to make your steamed items still tasty. And if you have a legitimate food allergy… that’s different. It then becomes the kitchen’s job to prepare a specialized meal that still takes you to flavor town.)

That being said, we do appreciate our customers and want them to have the best experience possible. I leave you with one of the best food-related movie clips from A Big Night. Stream it on Netflix.