The 10 Worst People in Houston Restaurants

Categories: Top 10

childatdinner.jpg
Photo by Clifton
"I'm sorry, small human, but why are you in my space?"
The Laissez-Faire Parent of the Hyperactive Roaming Toddler
I like little kids, especially chubby, bald toddlers who are just begging to be nicknamed "Porkchop" regardless of gender. You know what I don't like? Obtuse parents who let these otherwise adorable youngsters run amok and caterwaul to their hearts' content in upscale
restaurants. What's that -- you don't believe in "attachment parenting"? Well, Mommy, make a friggin' exception when you're dining in public and attach yourself to your errant offspring. Now, I understand children of a certain age can't be expected to sit still and shut up while the sommelier rattles off his pinot recommendations. If that's the case, leave them at home with a baby-sitter/trusted family member/neighbor. I want to relax and enjoy my duck confit in the absence of infantile shrieking and the waitstaff wants to successfully transport plates of hot food without having to dodge roaming rugrats. And your kid? I'm willing to bet s/he wants to be home eating mac and cheese and building a couch fort. Leave him at home and everybody wins. Even you, I promise. JOANNA O'LEARY

The Unnecessary Educator
He knows everything about everything on the menu, no matter where you eat, because he always has to be the one to educate his friends about current food trends and the story behind the restaurant. Sometimes his contributions are interesting and add to the meal, but mostly you just wish he'd stop talking. You could certainly do without him filling you in on what he feels is the moral injustice of foie gras right after you order a pâté de foie gras on your salad. You could also do without his lecture on the origin of the word "pâté" and his recounting of his summer in France when he learned that you should only really call a dish pâté if it meets certain criteria. By the time he strikes up a conversation with the waiter on the very obvious difference between a tie with a Windsor knot and a tie with a half Windsor knot, you're more than ready for the check. Perhaps you could take this time to educate him on the glory of silence by shoving that beautiful piece of organic chocolate cake (the beans are from Boliva, he tells you) down his freaking throat. KAITLIN STEINBERG

The Menu Rewriter/Sender-Backer
You know the one: He asks for all sorts of substitutions, wants everything on the side and doesn't have any qualms about sending back a dish he just didn't like, even when it was prepared properly. He doesn't expect to pay for it twice, of course. This person carries a sense of entitlement that confuses service professionals for personal servants. No matter if he's choosing a side for his entrée that comes off a station usually unaffiliated with that particular dish, potentially throwing off the rhythm of an entire kitchen. No matter that the guacamole is already made; he'll take his without onions, thank you very much. He'll demand the addition and removal of sauces and garnishes to fit his whims, he'll redesign whole swathes of the menu because he really doesn't care for crab, but the crab-cake salad sounds good; can't you do that with the portobello mushroom from the veggie burger, but instead of spring mix, can he have spinach? Then, when it comes out with the hot sauce that he ordered, expecting hot sauce but the milder one, he'll bat his eyelashes and hand the plate back to his server, forcing that person to repeat the Franken-dish again, while the kitchen staff grabs their knives and pitchforks. Don't do that. NICHOLAS HALL

The list continues on the next page.

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52 comments
jacobsimonbocanegra
jacobsimonbocanegra

dont  forget the certain race/ gender of ppl who ask for extra lemons then make thier own lemonade because theyre too cheap to pay for a drink.. or the certain sports celebrities who refuse to wait for a table like everyone else ('do u know who i am?") because they rode Olajuwon's coatail to a ring...

joshwebster
joshwebster

There is definitely something wrong with going out to eat in your gym clothes!!! Take your stinky, sweaty ass home and take a shower before you go to a place people pay to eat!!!!!

NrrI
NrrI

Boy you nailed it on these. Previous commenter also mention those that treat wait staff poorly, I've got some friends that do it, I don't dine out with them anymore. I would also submit the folks that are always trying to figure out how to scam a freebie or reduced price, they order something new and don't like it and then complain and usually get a comp or reduction. If I order something I've never had before and it turns out that I don't care for it then its on me, why should the restaurant take a haircut on it. My sister is the worst on this, I no longer dine out with her as well.

Jaclyn Greer
Jaclyn Greer

I was hoping to find it on the list but I guess I must be more sensitive to it than others. Since moving to Houston, on several occasions I've had the displeasure of being seated within earshot of people with the MOST IRRITATING laughs I've ever heard.

jcd8822
jcd8822

The Photo by Richard Bartz earns a blue ribbon for 1st place.  The Babushka reminds me of my late brother-I-laws great grandmother in a Polish neighborhood of Chicago on N. Paulina street.

Corey Mueller
Corey Mueller

Picky people/menu rewriters are the worst people known to mankind. You didn't write the menu, deal with it or go elsewhere..

Richard Guerra
Richard Guerra

Poor Americans...while enjoying our nice steak, fine wine and delicious desserts, we're getting distracted by the woman across the table on her phone. Gosh, we have it so hard.

Houstess
Houstess

Add the Wait Staff Humiliator.  I used to work with one.  She was condescending, rude, imperious and demanding to all waiters.  I only dined with her once, but I was told she did it every time.   That's some sort of personality defect.

Kylejack
Kylejack topcommenter

The Person Who Refuses to Leave the Loop

This is me, but more as a matter of time and convenience. My primary mode of transportation is bicycle, and everything is so spread out outside the Loop (the notable exception being Chinatown). Unless someone else is driving, I just don't make it out there too much.

MadMac
MadMac topcommenter

Add "The Parent." I don't need to try it, I either a) have tried it and don't like it--calamari or b) I'm not touching it with someone else's ten-foot pole--brains. I don't need your well-reasoned arguments. Idon't care about advances or social norms. If it's pork/fowl/lamb/beef, I want it medium well. My Mrs. doesn't eat cooked fruit--no pies/cobblers/tarts/ect. These are decisions we make as adults and don't need to a "guide," no matter how well-intended.

Anna M. Stone
Anna M. Stone

Excellent solution. I may be borrowing this one.

Steven Perry
Steven Perry

Michelle, I have the same rule when it comes to dining with friends!

Eating Our Words: The Houston Press Food Blog
Eating Our Words: The Houston Press Food Blog

No, but probably about one a week. We got the idea from the music blog, but people seem to be a little more sensitive when it comes to talking trash about food than about music...

Tim Garfield
Tim Garfield

I stopped eating with the sender backers. Some of whom are really good friends. When you know they're never satisfied, or order something different than what's on the menu, it's too stressful. No relaxation at that dinner.

Anse
Anse

Menu rewriters are indeed a pain in the neck. I once had an acquaintance that wouldn't even look at the menu. Ever. The waitress would come, and he'd say, "What I want is..." and rattle off a detailed description of the food he wished to have on his plate and the way he wished for it to be prepared. After writing down this lengthy description, which could sometimes take several minutes to recite, the waitress would pause, glare at him over the rim of her glasses, and say, "So you want the Number 2." No, he would say, I want...and repeat every last detail of his order. And of course it was in fact the Number 2, with perhaps one or two inconsequential changes. I could never understand why he did that.

Timothy Black
Timothy Black

Is every article from you guys now just a list of crap you hate?

bienville
bienville

The dear and departed Mr. Yut of Kanomwan Thai restaurant earned his honorific 'Thai Nazi' by continually knocking down the menu rewriters with a simple 'no', uttered unsmilingly. It took getting to know him to know he had a great sense of humor and heart of gold. 

Tony Vallone, on the other hand, is well-known to bend over backwards to accommodate re-writers

JustSayin
JustSayin

It seems like the people who actually have the problem with these different type of diners are the ones complaining about them, maybe you are the ones who should stay home instead of infringing on other peoples rights to be individuals whether or not they are know it all's, name droppers, finicky eaters, or have kids who don't sit at the table like little angels the whole meal. Live and let live! quit complaining and take a look at your own issues, it's most likely you have some bad traits as well but haven't taken the time to investigate them due to your preoccupation with other peoples faults.

Justin Hegan
Justin Hegan

I used to (past tense) have a friend that was the food changer/sender backer (among other things)....so frustrating

Brad Owen
Brad Owen

What an asinine article. Yes we've all had unpleasant dining partners and off putting servers, but if all this drivel is a problem for you then your just making bad life choices.

Sultana
Sultana

Jay Francis, why do you immediately come to mind?

Michelle Herren
Michelle Herren

Our group solution to the cell phone problem. Everyone has to put their phone in a pile of the middle of the table, facedown. The first person to grab a ringing phone has to pay for dinner for the whole table.

paval
paval

On the Food Name Dropper: Comparing is ok, after all the restaurants that call themselves Italian ( Olive Garden for instance) want to convey the image of being something authentic in Boise, Idaho or in Houston, TX. But to try to impress others with food you had in Tuscany or a dessert on Champs-Elysees, is as useful to me as knowing that the beaches in Bali are much nicer than the ones in Galveston. I effing do not live in Bali, have my afternoon tea on Champs-Elysees or dine in Tuscany, so I have to live and be content with what I have here in Houston. And after seven years of living here I can say it has gotten a lot better.

Menu Rewriter: Reminded me of the scene in "Last Holiday" when Gerard Depardieu tells the senator and warehouse-tycoon: "No substitutions". 20-30 years ago this was a world without lactose intolerance, gluten free diets, nut allergies, etc. People with those ailments would just get sick in silence at home after dinner and all restaurants where able to serve the food the way they wanted. Fatty, unhealthy, etc. Now even pizza parlors praise their gluten free options, yoghurt bars their lactose free yoghurts and when will we see a Nutelleria offering a nut free chocolate spread filled pancake?

The person who refuses to leave the loop: Leave these people alone. More places for the adventurous among us to experience without the snobby inner loopers paying double prices for food inside the loop.

The restaurant critic: Hear, hear, the critics are listening to their readers who asked for some self chastising. 

Entertaining list as always and I like the format of several of the HP staff chipping in their opinions.

 


ducttaperoses
ducttaperoses

My mother rewrites to a degree.  Part of it is legitimate because she has some health issues, but part of it is just being fussy.  It isn't usually too bad, but I've had to call her on it a couple of times when it just got too confusing/demanding/embarrassing.  I know you go out to eat to get something you really like, but if you have to change everything, you obviously don't really want the dish and should choose something else.

I'm not super adventurous about food--menudo is pretty much my limit--but I've broken up with guys . . . not entirely because they were boring eaters, but it's been a contributing factor.  They would balk at something and I'd suddenly see fifty years of underseasoned meat and potatoes ahead of me, and realize we had no future.  One guy wouldn't touch Middle Eastern food because "it's all lamb and yogurt".  So what?  You'll live on cheap pizza for weeks on end but you can't eat a little bit of lamb?  I didn't even ask him about hummus because I was 98% sure he'd accuse me of being an elitist faux-hippie who didn't appreciate simple comfort food (for the record: I grew up eating hummus.  It *is* comfort food).

Food name-droppers drive me nuts, too.  I've been to Italy.  You know what?  You can get plenty of lousy food in Italy, just like you can get good food in the U.S.  I'm convinced that what really matters is commitment.  If you're a foodie who goes looking for good food, you can find it anywhere.  If you just want your stomach to shut up, you can eat boring, pointless, food everywhere in the world.

Bruce_Are
Bruce_Are topcommenter

Nicholas Hall nailed the Menu Re-Writer.  I've seen this in action.  They order something with no onions, no peppers, easy on the salt, sauce on the side, then complain that the food is bland.  This person is similar to the person that I call Shit-List.  Shit-List has a laundry list of ingredients that they refuse to eat.

The antithesis of ShitList is Look-At-Me-I'm-Eating-Weird-Stuff. This is the guy that eats raw lamb brains and makes sure you hear about it.  They might even offer you some.


paval
paval

@Houstess Very good one. How could have six people of the HP and myself forgotten about these people. There are plenty of those, and these kind of people do not tend to do it only in restaurants but to all people they consider inferior to them.

people like that should not be shown in public or forced to wear a gag ball (though people like these tend to enjoy "punishment" as much as they enjoy degrading others. The typical personality described in Heinrich Manns "Der Untertan") 

KaitlinS
KaitlinS topcommenter

@Kylejack But you don't seem to be opposed to it on principle or anything. That's the difference.

Houstess
Houstess

@MadMac I like your Mrs.  Cooked fruit is an abomination.

MadMac
MadMac topcommenter

That was the Mrs. and I with the "Hustlers," who are always angling on something for nothing. Our neighbor beat the convention center hotel restaurant out of a $17 buffet while terrorizing the waiter. I ended up leaving a $20 tip on a $15 check after begging forgiveness from the waiter and repeatedly saying we didn't know this chick.  

gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

@Anse Can I get a cheeseburger without the cheese? Oh and 4 squirts of ketchup, not 3 not 5, 4, and the tomato was that grown organically and made sure it didn't cast a shadow on the cow, well make that a veggie burger then -- does that have black beans in it, is it gluten free? Ugh these people make me sick, loved your comment.. :)

Kerrigan
Kerrigan

@Timothy Black  

..stick to culturemap pal...there it's 100% lovefest, you won't feel threatened by any negativity

KaitlinS
KaitlinS topcommenter

@bienville Oh man, I wish I could have met Mr. Yut! He sounds like a hoot!

gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

@JustSayin Great rationalizations; sure make excuses for everyone whose beyond annoying. Some of these people deserve to be pointed out, the havoc they cause is more than enough justification to remind them that the world does not revolve on their axis..

robinstigator
robinstigator

@JustSayin so you are the one that brings an unruly kid to a place they cannot appreciate, talks endlessly about menu minutia no one cares about, and refuses to go to Chinatown to eat Dim Sum?

MadMac
MadMac topcommenter

You could always get back to work.

bienville
bienville

@Brad Owen  

Eating with a mirthless punk like you is a bad life choice I hope never to make.

MadMac
MadMac topcommenter

Been there and for a man of my size and fashion choices to pass up a date over a limited palate is saying something. Thankfully my Mrs. matches and, every now/again, exceeds my adventure. She finally got me to try sushi.

Anse
Anse

Or, the doofus who orders a steak well-done and then complains that it's way too dry.

MadMac
MadMac topcommenter

Bonus is more pie/cobbler/tarts for me. That last bit reads wrong.

paval
paval

@gossamersixteen @paval Celiac is a real ailment, but more than half of the people that claim to need gluten free are just jumping on the bandwagon (thinking it may be healthier) and more than half of the gluten free products, are made without gluten in the first place (I am still waiting for a water bottle displaying "Gluten Free" on it) and hence do not need that indication. Gluten Free has a lot of fad characteristics and those that are truly sufferers fall into the same pot as all the neurotics. 

 


MadMac
MadMac topcommenter

What's up with that guy? He's never heard of ketchup?

paval
paval

@KaitlinS @gossamersixteen @paval  

You got pissed off from the lack of gluten in your diet? That is totally not what celiac disease is like. 

I have tried some gluten free products in the past out of interest and a gf beer indeed felt lighter in the stomach. But if i want a lighter beer I can also drink Light beers. There is no point. 

I actually know a few people who have been diagnosed with celiac, but I assume that as with the consumers also doctors will be quick in diagnosing celiac on someone who displays the symptoms (bloating, pain, diarrhea, etc.)


KaitlinS
KaitlinS topcommenter

@gossamersixteen @paval My mother convinced me to try going gluten free for a few weeks because she thought it would give me more energy and make me feel better in general (as it evidently had her). 

It just made me really pissed off and no less tired or achy.

gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

@paval @gossamersixteen I know one person that actually has Celiac's disease my friend's sister and she's from the Ukraine. I know 99 other people who are gluten free inexplicably, because they think it's healthy or whatever their so called reasons are for being so pointlessly uptight. Need further proof of this query the average whole foods shopper, the neurosis is knee deep with some of these quacks.

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