Everyone likes going out for a meal, especially when you know that the restaurant you’re going to has a reputation for good food.
When deciding what to order, everyone also has their preferences. If you’re dropping some serious cash on a meal, you also have certain expectations.
Turns out that the cost of food doesn’t always match up to the quality of the food, which is why Business Insider asked some gourmet chefs to dish on what not to order when you’re eating out.
From food that’s about to be thrown out, to unnecessarily overpriced items, your best bet is to steer clear of these sub-par orders.
Here are the top five things you shouldn’t order in a restaurant:
Unless you’re pregnant or have some other reason for wanting a decent piece of meat cooked within an inch of incineration, it’s incredibly rude to ask a chef to destroy a steak for you.
“Chefs don’t typically appreciate well-done orders unless there is a very specific reason for the request (elderly, pregnant, etc.),” James Briscione, Director of Culinary Research at the Institute of Culinary Education told INSIDER. “They typically reserve the least desirable cuts (thin, tougher pieces) to cook well done. In general, less attention is given to well-done orders.”
In other words, asking for meat to be well-done for no reason, means a sub-par meal.
Truffle oil is very rarely made with actual truffles, but is instead concocted using various chemicals that are designed to smell like real truffles.
Rather ask the chef if the oil is genuine truffle oil, and avoid anything with truffle oil in it if it’s not.
If you trust the restaurant then go right ahead, but chefs often avoid mussels because they know what goes into storing and preparing them.
One bad mussel and you’re out of commission for days. Still, given that they are so tasty when done right, it’s a risk many are still willing to take.
The “gourmet” burger
Burgers become “gourmet” when the chef dumps a whole lot of fancy ingredients on top of a burger patty.
“There is no reason to ever pay $20+ (R300) for a hamburger,” chef Briscione said. “If chefs are piling expensive ingredients on top of a hamburger, it’s just so they can steal your money. Good burgers are made from ground tough cuts of meat like chuck, brisket, or ribs. Grinding up expensive meat just to make a burger is a waste.”
You really can’t go wrong with a simple cheeseburger.
The seafood special
Avoid fish specials, especially if they happen on a Monday.
At that point in the week, the seafood may be old since most restaurants get their fish orders in on a Thursday, right before weekend rush.
“Specials are tricky in restaurants,” chef Silvia Barban said, executive chef at Aita and LaRina, told INSIDER. “It could be the most fresh and delicious special, but in some restaurants, specials are the way to clean up the fridge.”
Unless you trust the restaurant or know the owner, you could end up eating leftover food, which is always a risk especially when it comes to seafood.
There you have it – some pro tips to help you navigate the restaurant scene.
Pair it with what not to do in bars and you’re good to go.
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