Waiter, This Soup Is [Supposed to Be] Cold

Categories: Leftovers

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Photos by Troy Fields
Brasserie 19 knows how to plate a perfect dish...if you'll let them.
In the course of dining at Brasserie 19 for this week's cafe review, I noticed a man at the table next to me during lunch send back a piece of perfectly cooked red snapper for being "too raw." My dining companion and I watched in horror as the fluffy white fish was sent back to the kitchen to receive a wilting dose of heat.

In my personal (and professional) opinion, there is no greater sin a diner can commit against the kitchen than demanding that their fish or meat be overcooked. Ordering a steak blue is one thing (my thing, at least), and not one that I expect a normal diner to enjoy. But a well-done steak is a far worse sin. Ditto a piece of sashimi-grade tuna or a blushing lamb chop cooked past medium-rare.

The kitchen at Brasserie 19 has an almost hyper-indulgent policy toward its diners. When diners aren't sending back perfectly cooked pieces of fish, they're sending back foie gras because it's "too fatty," or demanding that a dish be re-plated because their foods are touching.

It would be funny if it weren't so sad.

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To see more photos from this week's cafe review, head to our slideshow.
A discussion about Brasserie's customers' odd dining habits led to a conversation with my coworkers recently about other dining sins we've seen committed through the years, usually by people who have no idea what they're ordering (see earlier, re: foie gras) or how it should be served.

Gazpacho sent back because it's cold.

New York-style pizza from Russo's or Italian pies from Dolce Vita sent back because they're charred on the bottom.

Seared ahi tuna sent back because "it's raw in the middle!!!"

Not understanding the difference between rare, medium-rare, medium, medium-well and well-done steaks, then sending your medium-rare steak back because what you really wanted was medium-well.

And I know that our readers must have more of their own. What is your favorite horror story of food sent back for no reason? Let us know in the comments section, then head over to read this week's review of Brasserie 19.



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Location Info

Brasserie 19

1962 W. Gray St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


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20 comments
Will
Will

Oh, the stories I could tell.  The one and only time I wasted my money at the now closed Rickshaw, I sent the "sushi-grade" tuna steak back for cooking. It not only was as raw in the middle, it was frozen. My all time favorite is getting into an argument with the chef at Ya-Ya Marys. I ordered lamb. I got beef. The chef came out and lectured me on how you can tell the difference by looking at the grain, etc. I told him to taste it. He did and agreed that it wasn't lamb.

LosNix
LosNix

Anyone ever read Bill Buford's "Heat"?

*****An orecchiette was returned from the dining room, half eaten, the plate borne into the kitchen by the matire d', who explained, "There are not enough florets on the broccoli."  Five people gathered around the plate and started eating from it.  "He says that the last time he ate here the broccoli had more florets"  Everyone picked out a floret and stared at it closely.

"It's true," Mario [Batali] said. "We've had larget florets, but nature isn't making big florets at the moment." A new pasta was prepared, and Mario handed it to one of the runners.  "When you give this to him, please pistol-whip him with your penis."*****

And that is why I love that chef.

josh
josh

None of the people listed in the article or the comments would escape without being thoroughly made fun of by my table. I'd want a photo with the guy sending back the gazpacho.

Idiots won't learn unless idiots are learned.

Thursday Girl
Thursday Girl

The very first time I met my (now former) brother-in-law, he sent back a peach daiquiri three times. Among the drink's offenses were that "it tastes more like pear than peach" and "there's too much alcohol in it." Fun guy, that one.

JudytheBoo
JudytheBoo

No shame here--once ordered a pellegrino, and then a water.

In my defense, I thought it was the sparkling orange or limonata, and didn't understand that they were both *types* of pellegrino.

The waiter was nice enough to catch my mistake immediately, but I did feel pretty silly (hey, I was 20 at the time!).

Mag
Mag

funny stories.....I never send anything back, I just chalk it up to never order it again if I don't like it.  I think sending anything back to the kitchen is just asking for someone to spit in your food!

Culinary_Curmudgeon
Culinary_Curmudgeon

Customer sent back Eggs Benedict because it "wasn't as good as her mother's"

Carol
Carol

A friend sent back pasta primavera because it had veggies on it. 

trisch
trisch

I've seen some of the more usual ones:

Vichysoisse sent back because it was cold.

Panzanella sent back because the "croutons are soggy."

Kung pao chicken sent back because it was too spicy.

Ted Stickles
Ted Stickles

As a waiter I was chastised and asked to take back a turtle soup because the diner had earlier informed me that she was allergic to shellfish. We all had a great guffaw about that back in the kitchen.

Tre
Tre

Attention up tight people, picky eaters, and substitution happy people, stay the fuck at home.

Corey
Corey

Attention up tight people, picky eaters, and substitution happy people, your sh*t still stinks, you also didn't write the menu, get over yourself. Thanks..

Early Cuyler
Early Cuyler

I have a friend who is absolutely terrified of under cooked pork.  I watched him send back a perfectly cooked  pork chop because "the meat near the bone is a little pink".  Phillistine

I also once saw a guy at a table near mine send back a Crab Bisque because he didn't realize it was going to be "like soupy", his words not mine.  I laughed so hard my girlfriend at the time kicked me under the table.

Nicholas L. Hall
Nicholas L. Hall

My sister in law once sent back a mushroom and spinach omelet for being "too mushroomy." I always hold my breath when dining out with her. I love her, but she's a pain in the ass for a restaurant.

KennyK
KennyK

Classic.  "And bring us some *fresh* wine.  This wine is already two years old."

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Classic@Culinary_Curmudgeon:disqus And now I'm suddenly reminded of those awful Progresso soup commercials...

Joanna O'Leary
Joanna O'Leary

As a Victorianist and major Lewis Carroll fan, I heart this comment.

Jalapeno
Jalapeno

I once ate with a 20-something man who ordered chicken, medium rare.  Everyone's jaw dropped.  The server politely refused.  One wonders how he got that old and learned so little about food.  It was an interview lunch.  He wasn't hired.

Biker
Biker

Overheard at a restaurant one time:  "ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL ME WITH UNDERCOOKED PORK???!!!!"  Yeah, it was perfectly pink-ish and came back a hockey puck. 

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