Restaurant irks anyone?

Took lunch at a new local restaurant today and ran into one of those menu things that really bugs me. One of the items was a tartlet with "wild mushrooms". I had to ask the server which wild mushroom they were using and he came back and said, "cremini." DOINK! That's not a wild mushroom. I have the same issue when I see "diver scallops" in Arizona. "These were caught today, right?" "Uh, no they're fresh frozen". Stop treating us like we're suckers and rubes and maybe the waitstaff will get larger tips!

  • Posted by: pierino
  • April 20, 2011


healthierkitchen April 27, 2011
I agree with husband eats his meal more quickly than I do and it really irks me when a server takes his plate and silverware away while I'm still eating.
abbyarnold April 24, 2011
Two things that annoy me:
1. saying that something is "served with au jus".
2. saying that something is served with chives, and then it comes with chopped scallions.
Just plain ignorant.
dymnyno April 23, 2011
My pet peeve is when the waiter fills the wine glass too full. Some almost empty the bottle into two glasses. It is even worse when it is white wine and becomes warm. Also, I hate it when the wine is served too cold. (esp red wine)
flgal April 21, 2011
The real biggie with me is removing plates before everyone at the table is finished with the course.
ChefDaddy April 21, 2011
I would be happy with most place if the line cooks could just go and find the salt and pepper and use it.
usuba D. April 21, 2011
My biggest issue with restaurants is the lack of server training . . . . even "top" restaurants, often, have no clue. But, I will also say that most people who go to restaurants do not know how to dine, so it goes both ways. There is an art to dining, that can bring joy to both the diner and the server . . .that silent, intuitive link that takes the experience to the next level. . . . that experience can take mediocre food, to an acceptable level, because eating is the whole experience . . .all the senses.
Melusine April 21, 2011
Not being considered grown up enough to put my own napkin in my lap, grind my own pepper or grate my own parmesan cheese. Ditto on the silverware comment. Conversely, after managing my family's very elegant restaurant for a year, customers who pile bones on the table cloth after making the entire wait staff miserable for two hours, and customers who think it's funny to sign the table cloth and light their hand-written guest check on fire. Memorable, even 15 years later.
MTMitchell April 21, 2011
You know what restaurants should be forthcoming about...?! What they have run out of. I kid you not, at least one out of every three times I'm out to eat, I look carefully through the menu, and choose my meal carefully (I'm not really picky, but I do like to try things I can't/wouldn't be able to cook at home, sometimes have a particular hankering for something, etc.)...get excited about what I've ordered or am about to order....only to be told (several times as my dining companions were having their own meals placed down in front of them) that the restaurant is out of whatever I've ordered. I get that sometimes it's hard to keep track of what's going on and going out in a busy restaurant, but this has happened so many times in so many different places that I now just have two or three choices when I go to order, so as to be prepared and not have to hold everyone else up by wanting to see the menu again, etc. It's to the point now where my friends will actually ask the server when we sit down if the restaurant is out of or close to being out of any of the entrees, which I appreciate, since then I at least have fair warning.
wssmom April 21, 2011
Biggest restaurant irk: bad food.
TiggyBee April 21, 2011
Chilean Sea Bass. Neither Bass, nor Chilean.
drbabs April 21, 2011
Here's my biggest restaurant irk: When you finish your first course and the server takes your used knife and fork and puts them back on the table. Really? You can't bring me clean utensils?
hardlikearmour April 21, 2011
We get some pretty awesome produce, too! You would love the farmer's markets up here, I promise. Portland is an amazingly food-oriented town.
Sam1148 April 21, 2011
Hahha. Tell me about it. Around here, the only fungus we get wild is between the toes.
But, we do have great tomatoes, peaches, spring onions, ..Nnanananne. (g).

Back on topic: Yes, the word 'Wild Mushroom" is being used for anything that's not a classic supermarket white button mushroom. Its' a good thing for me as I'm allergic to one thing "The Shitaki Mushroom' and it's evil tasty child the "black button mushroom".
So, when I see "Wild Mushroom" on's "ahhh, does it have shaitaki, chineese button mushrooms".

Took me years to figure what the item was...but 3 days after eating those..pinprick rash. Which is why it took so long to figure out the food..and reaction. It's was in the mushroom---only that one type.
hardlikearmour April 21, 2011
You live in the wrong part of the country, Sam! In the exquisite PNW we actually do get access to fresh wild mushrooms in our markets - chanterelles, black trumpet, hedgehog, lobster, oregon truffles - to name a few off the top. Of course they are very seasonal. I admit I did get a chuckle out of the number of mushroom recipes in the recent contest that had the word wild in their title, then called for cultivated mushrooms in their ingredient list.
Sam1148 April 21, 2011
Don't Love me because I'm delicious. I can be cuddle wuddle too!

Sorry...I just had to.
Sam1148 April 21, 2011

I agree resturant should be more forthcoming on things. But it's matter of scale and what resturant you go too. A cheap lunch place with 7-8 buck plates probably is doing the best they can for lunch crowd. Not even close to what a big 30-40 dollar plate place does. Or the expectations from the customers. That would be deal killer in a big 'table cloth' place charging big bucks. It's all good really and the major thing, and question--did it taste good? Was it a cheap and a decent lunch item? That's really the point. If they can transform off shelf stuff into decent, affordable stuff..for lunch item. That's the key point.. So, how was the lunch? Good for the price?
pierino April 21, 2011
Sam, I agree with you on pork bellies, they are "now, now". But nobody is selling them as anything other than pork bellies. They're also traded in the commodities market along with soy beans (want to invest in edamame futures?). So far I haven't seen scallops traded as a commodity. The point though, is that restaurants will charge more for something by giving it an expensive name. So are these really Iberico blackfoot pig bellies?
Sam1148 April 20, 2011
I agree with you on scallops. There's no substitute for fresh non frozen scallops.
But in land locked places 'diver scallops' just means big scallops (previously frozen).
Put you eye to the supermarkets that sell diver scallops. In a bag, frozen.
I can only get good ones at Whole Foods or one other local fish place. Wildly expensive.
A resturant that caters to non-foodies. (I hate that term) uses what have to keep prices down, and the masses are fine with it, as in a smaller resturant--landlocked. It's diffrence between a 8 dollar plate, and a 25 dollar plate.

But mushrooms are normally cultivated. Even ones listed as 'wild'.
Hand gathered mushrooms from the wild would be good, but also insanely expensive.
Brown Mushrooms, 'wild' in most places means they aren't using white button mushrooms. Yes, I know the diffrenace there..but it's all situational..and what you expect for the price point.

(On the bright side, be happy they aren't sucking up the supply of really good stuff making the cost of really good stuff become outrageous---Example, Pork Belly..used to be just EVERYONE is using it and the new,new thing and it's insane the prices they ask for it now, when it used to be 1 buck a pound here, now, 4-5 bucks a pound).
pierino April 20, 2011
Sam1148, what are called "cremini" have been cultivated and sold commercially in this country since early in the 20th century as brown mushrooms. "Cremini", meaning chocolate creams in Italian is just a marketing twist. "Slimefish" got turned into "orange roughy" in the same way and the fishery almost got wiped out. My point is simply to be honest in the menu descriptions. Fancy names are just another slippery slope. But "diver scallop" is most often a flat out lie.
boulangere April 20, 2011
Whooo. Sorry, don't mean to climb up on a soap box here, but Pierono has raised a sore point. As now a culinary educator now, I do preach the gospel of integrity of methods and ingredients as well as education of wait staff. There are those who do, and those who don't. Or those who exaggerate.
boulangere April 20, 2011
So yes, Pierino, my way of completely agreeing with you. Restauranteurs who hide behind vague descriptions are highly annoying. As are waitstaff who are either not schooled in what ingredients actually are, or who participate in a slight of hand.
Sam1148 April 20, 2011
Don't take it out on the servers. cremini (portobello) mushrooms where only commercially available in the USA as a common item in last 20 years. Before that it was all standard 'white mushrooms'. Even "Wild" mushroom are mostly cultivated, Shaitaki, Oyster mushroom, etc..etc. Very few gathered from the wild by orphans and nuns in wicker baskets with Sound of Music soundtrack playing in the background.
boulangere April 20, 2011
I used to own a restaurant in a resort community of the mountains of Northern California. During the summer it never failed that several someones would ask if the salmon were wild caught fresh or frozen farm raised. My servers were instructed to reply that if the guest was willing to pay $35 a portion, I would be happy to offer wild caught fresh. The door swings both ways.
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