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daves

Misrepresentation of menu items -- what do you do?

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All of these are reasons I rarely eat out anymore and cook at home  instead!

1.  At a staid old restaurant, with exorbitant furnishings, known for classic French cuisine, I ordered the French Onion Soup.  It was a clear chicken broth, with boiled sliced onions.  No carmelization.  It did have some cheese on top of the crock.

2.  At another swanky place, ordered a filet mignon advertised with Bearnaise Sauce.  The Bearnaise sauce had not a smidgeon of Tarragon in it, and tasted somewhat like a simple white sauce with nutmeg.

3.  In the Quad cities, ordered a tenderloin with demi-glace.  Tasteless, so I spoke to the waitress.  She brought out some of the demi-glace in a bowl for me.  It was Demi-glace Gold before being diluted and heated, but she swore this is what the chef puts on the tenderloin!

4.  Double NY Strip steaks!  Wow, sounded great.  Got two rubbery minute steaks in a small Iowa town!

5.  Ordered Moussaka, got Pastistio.  When questioned, the waiter said this is "Genuine Greek Moussaka".

6.  "Genuine Crab Cocktail" turned out to be that processed fake crab!

And the list goes on and on.

doc

Big tip - don't bother buying any lottery tickets, your not lucky enough to win.

Seriously though, I would imagine you'd get enough advice on this site to reinstall your faith in restaurants.

I would stick with it.

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My big bugaboo is "wild mushrooms," which are inevitably portabellas or cremini mixed with button mushrooms.

Yes. Usually if the type of mushroom is not specified on the menu, I now assume they will not be wild.


Cheers,

Anne

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I think Greek Salads are one of the most misrepresented. Every restaurant seems to have their version of it. The latest one I got had grated red cabbage and carrots in it. IT drives me mad and my husabnd can't understand why I continue to order them in restaurants as I always end up pissed off. I guess I just live in hope. Ceaser Salads are another one that most restaurants manage to cock up.

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I feel the same with about Cuban Sandwiches.. They are never on Cuban Bread and normally are missing or adding components.. Just call it a sandwich, or describe whats in it, but dont just call anything a Cubano..

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My big bugaboo is "wild mushrooms," which are inevitably portabellas or cremini mixed with button mushrooms.

I agree this annoys me, also anywhere I see "Kobe Beef" on a menu here in the US.


John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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In Sidney, Oz, we were in severe withdrawal from our daily at home diet of taco-stand mexican food, and we made the mistake of ordering nachos.  We got Doritos with spaghetti sauce on them, the cheese melted on top of the sauce.

My sister wrote a page-long letter to the cXhXeXf  cook, explaining the how's and why's of proper nacho preparation.

editted to fix a technical term

What was the outcome?

We werent around long enough to find out. It was a whistle-stop.


"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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I agree this annoys me, also anywhere I see "Kobe Beef" on a menu here in the US.

Same here. I saw "Kobe Beef" on a menu once, and I asked the waiter, "is that really Kobe Beef?"

Waiter, with a trapped look on his face: "actually it's from a ranch in Texas, but they make it the same way that they make Kobe Beef, but they feed it beer instead of sake, and I think it tastes better."

"Then it's actually (making exaggerated airquotes) Kobe-style Beef then?"

"Uh, yeah."

edited for clarity.


Edited by I_call_the_duck (log)

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

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I agree this annoys me, also anywhere I see "Kobe Beef" on a menu here in the US.

Same here. I saw "Kobe Beef" on a menu once, and I asked the waiter, "is it really Kobe Beef?"

Waiter, with a trapped look on his face: "actually it's from Texas, but they make it the same way that they make Kobe Beef, but they feed it beer instead of sake, and I think it tastes better."

"Then it's really (making exaggerated airquotes) Kobe-style Beef then?"

"Uh, yeah."

Bud-beef :hmmm:

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I admit to being a food history nerd, and loving food history trivia, and I can’t help weighing in on this one.

What if you ordered “squab pie” – and it had mutton, not baby pigeon in it? Actually, what if it had mutton and APPLES in it?

Even though the Oxford English Dictionary defines “squab” as (a) “A newly-hatched, unfledged, or very young bird” and (b) specifically “a young pigeon”, it defines “squab pie” as being “chiefly composed of mutton, pork, apples, and onions, with a thick crust.”

If you ordered “Devonshire Squab Pie”, you could hardly complain about the lack of squab, because the chef could plead culinary history. South-West England is noted for its apples (and cider), and they even used to grow apple types specifically for “squab” pie.

How did a mutton, apple, and onion pie get the name I wonder? Genuine pigeon pies were for the rich, so perhaps they were the poor man’s own joke? Or perhaps it was the rich man’s joke against the peasant – a bit like the “Welsh rabbit” idea? Does mutton plus apple (and usually onion) taste like pigeon (it doesn’t to me)? Any other ideas?

My favourite explanation is from a little Devonshire cookbook in my possession, which says that it comes from “Squabble Pie”, or the compromise pie when the master is demanding meat pie and the mistress wanting apple! I love this explanation - its as good as the naming of "Matrimony Sauce" and "Matrimony Pudding".

Slightly off the subject - my own personal peeve to do with menus is spelling errors - they scream kitchen ignorance just as much as the issues under discussion here. I am almost unable order at a restaurant that has "vinegarette" dressing on the menu.


Happy Feasting

Janet (a.k.a The Old Foodie)

My Blog "The Old Foodie" gives you a short food history story each weekday day, always with a historic recipe, and sometimes a historic menu.

My email address is: theoldfoodie@fastmail.fm

Anything is bearable if you can make a story out of it. N. Scott Momaday

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I admit to being a food history nerd, and loving food history trivia, and I can’t help weighing in on this one.

What if you ordered “squab pie” – and it had mutton, not baby pigeon in it?  Actually, what if it had mutton and APPLES in it? 

Even though the Oxford English Dictionary defines “squab” as (a) “A newly-hatched, unfledged, or very young bird” and (b) specifically “a young pigeon”, it defines “squab pie” as being “chiefly composed of mutton, pork, apples, and onions, with a thick crust.” 

If you ordered “Devonshire Squab Pie”, you could hardly complain about the lack of squab, because the chef could plead culinary history. South-West England is noted for its apples (and cider), and they even used to grow apple types specifically for “squab” pie.

How did a mutton, apple, and onion pie get the name I wonder? Genuine pigeon pies were for the rich, so perhaps they were the poor man’s own joke? Or perhaps it was the rich man’s joke against the peasant – a bit like the “Welsh rabbit” idea?  Does mutton plus apple (and usually onion) taste like pigeon (it doesn’t to me)?  Any other ideas?

My favourite explanation is from a little Devonshire cookbook in my possession, which says that it comes from “Squabble Pie”, or the compromise pie when the master is demanding meat pie and the mistress wanting apple!  I love this explanation - its as good as the naming of "Matrimony Sauce" and "Matrimony Pudding".

Slightly off the subject - my own personal peeve to do with menus is spelling errors - they scream kitchen ignorance just as much as the issues under discussion here. I am almost unable order at a restaurant that has "vinegarette" dressing on the menu.

Don't think it has anything to do with any dictionary definitions, everything to do with what the dish is, the classic method of preparation and your expectations.

If I had been presented with the previously described 'tart tatin' the chef would be wearing it as a nice hat and worse still if he'd tried to justify his actions.

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I think there are a couple of different issues showing up here: to call something "Kobe Beef" when it is clearly not from Kobe, is false advertising or clear misrepresentation - and therefore possibly even an offence under the law, then there is the issue of using the name of a classic dish and interpreting it so

freely that it has no resemblance to the original, which upsets knowledgeable diners.

The latter issue is due to "Dont know" or "Dont care" - neither of which is excuseable in a professional. It is also stupid from a business point of view I would think - knowledgeable diners tend to eat out, so to put off good customers is idiotic, even if a restaurateur is not personally inclined to "truth in dining".

I'd vote with my feet on this one, and take my business elsewhere.


Happy Feasting

Janet (a.k.a The Old Foodie)

My Blog "The Old Foodie" gives you a short food history story each weekday day, always with a historic recipe, and sometimes a historic menu.

My email address is: theoldfoodie@fastmail.fm

Anything is bearable if you can make a story out of it. N. Scott Momaday

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[...]Slightly off the subject - my own personal peeve to do with menus is spelling errors - they scream kitchen ignorance just as much as the issues under discussion here. I am almost unable order at a restaurant that has "vinegarette" dressing on the menu.

I know we have a thread on misspelled menu items, but I'm too lazy to look for it at the moment. :raz:


Michael aka "Pan

 

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I once, somewhere off the highway in the midwest, ate from the salad bar at a family style restaurant. The owners were on hand, bursting with pride at their offered fare.

When I went to dress the salad, I mixed my own dressing, after asking for olive oil and red wine vinegar (I cannot bear the thick glop that most of the US puts on its greens).

The cruets looked like they contained the appropriate liquids, but I discovered that what was masquerading as red wine vinegar was actually distilled white vinegar with a substantial abmount of red food coloring added in - the stains it left on the items on the plate looked like the remains of murder and mayhem.

To this day, I can't imagine why they did what they did. Was it out of ignorance? For the purposes of teetotalling? (It was a bible-thumping region). Still boggles the mind.

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I agree this annoys me, also anywhere I see "Kobe Beef" on a menu here in the US.

Same here. I saw "Kobe Beef" on a menu once, and I asked the waiter, "is that really Kobe Beef?"

Waiter, with a trapped look on his face: "actually it's from a ranch in Texas, but they make it the same way that they make Kobe Beef, but they feed it beer instead of sake, and I think it tastes better."

"Then it's actually (making exaggerated airquotes) Kobe-style Beef then?"

"Uh, yeah."

edited for clarity.

I'm not too sure about this but I think that the breed of cattle used is actually called Wagyu beef and it can only be called Kobe beef if it comes from Kobe, Japan. Otherwise, i think that they should have just called it Texas wagyu beef. Correct me if I am wrong. I think people need to understand that before labelling everything as 'Kobe' beef.

Also, Kobe beef is the most popularized beef but in Japan there are many other regions in Japan where the beef is equally as good in such places as Maezawa, Yonezawa and Iga.

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I have sent a note to the restaurant management, respectfully pointing out the error of their ways, and we'll see what happens.  Hopefully they'll take feedback better than some Vancouver restaurant owners and not ban me from "darkening their doorways."

Four days have passed since I sent that email note, and no response yet. At this point, I think we'll just not "darken their doorway" again and have tatin elsewhere.

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I have sent a note to the restaurant management, respectfully pointing out the error of their ways, and we'll see what happens.  Hopefully they'll take feedback better than some Vancouver restaurant owners and not ban me from "darkening their doorways."

Four days have passed since I sent that email note, and no response yet. At this point, I think we'll just not "darken their doorway" again and have tatin elsewhere.

Well done sir. :wink:

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I agree this annoys me, also anywhere I see "Kobe Beef" on a menu here in the US.

Same here. I saw "Kobe Beef" on a menu once, and I asked the waiter, "is that really Kobe Beef?"

Waiter, with a trapped look on his face: "actually it's from a ranch in Texas, but they make it the same way that they make Kobe Beef, but they feed it beer instead of sake, and I think it tastes better."

"Then it's actually (making exaggerated airquotes) Kobe-style Beef then?"

"Uh, yeah."

edited for clarity.

I'm not too sure about this but I think that the breed of cattle used is actually called Wagyu beef and it can only be called Kobe beef if it comes from Kobe, Japan. Otherwise, i think that they should have just called it Texas wagyu beef. Correct me if I am wrong. I think people need to understand that before labelling everything as 'Kobe' beef.

Also, Kobe beef is the most popularized beef but in Japan there are many other regions in Japan where the beef is equally as good in such places as Maezawa, Yonezawa and Iga.

Yah, Wagyu is actually the breed name, similar to well, Angus or Hereford or Jersey or Holstein. We can no longer get actual authentic Kobe here in America becuase we have banned its import due to mad cow scares. So that means that we are going to have to be satisfied with a whiny baby wearing a #8 jersey in LA, or Wagyu cattle from Texas if we are having a Kobe craving!!

I had one of my students tell me enthusiastically the other day that they serve Kobe Pork Porterhouse at his restaurant. :rolleyes: You should have seen the look on his face when he told me it, like he was bragging that he once played James Bond or something, like it actually raised his coolness factor that he cooked Kobe Pork. I quickly corrected him, telling him that they probably serve Kurobata pork, and then put him on his way......

Sometimes, I can't believe that they let me teach.... :raz:


Edited by Tonyy13 (log)

Tonyy13

Owner, Big Wheel Provisions

tony_adams@mac.com

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4.  Double NY Strip steaks!  Wow, sounded great.  Got two rubbery minute steaks in a small Iowa town!

What is a restaurant in Iowa doing calling Kansas City strips "New York strips"?


Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Except in really high end restaurants, most of the time I see "roquefort" cheese in a menu item description, it's usually a misrepresentation. On a few occasions, it's been slightly shocking. Do they think their clients don't know the difference between roquefort and much cheaper danish blue?? maybe I don't want an answer. Like the "wild mushroom" complaint upthread, maybe it's that these words are now seen as generic, much like Kleenex or Xerox. All I know is that now I ask before ordering.



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My peeve is with the Chinese restaurants that have the 'hot and spicy' symbol next to certain dishes. Instead of being able to order such a dish straight off the menu, almost invariably the default version is mild and insipid. Too often you have to special order it to be hot! If it's shown on the menu as hot and/ or spicy in the first place, either make it that way or take the dang symbols off the menu! yeesh!


"Fat is money." (Per a cracklings maker shown on Dirty Jobs.)

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Most of these sound more like 'crappy renditions' than 'misrepresentations'.


Matt Robinson

Prep for dinner service, prep for life! A Blog

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I ordered a crab burrito on a wheat tortilla.

Turns out it was KRAB( pollack disguised as crab) on a white tortilla. I even asked before I orded if it was real crab.

Additionally, their explanation was that the tortilla was wheat as opposed to a corn tortilla( which I've never seen in this part of Ontario).

My mistake in the first place was going to a mexican food restaurant in London, Ontario. There is no such thing as "Mexican" food here.

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Sometimes the misrepresentation can become reality. For instance, I think pesto used to be, well, pesto (basil, pine nuts and olive oil, I think, although someone can correct me if I'm wrong). Now pesto has become a synonymn for any kind of sauce.

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I ordered a chicken salad sandwich at a deli near my work, and was told, "We make our chicken salad with turkey here." Which was fine with me, but why not just call it turkey salad?

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Oh, Kiliki...

It's either past my bedtime or a function of the wine I've had tonight, but your post just cracked me up.... :laugh::laugh:

Were you able to keep a straight face?????


"Anybody can make you enjoy the first bite of a dish, but only a real chef can make you enjoy the last.”

Francois Minot

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