Confusion on the menu
I was having dinner the other evening in a pretty busy restaurant that was new and chic. When the server came to the table, we asked some questions of the menu; it was a sharing menu — quite the fashion lately, and certainly a good way to experiment with the menu — the trouble is, you need to be led a bit when eating this way.
After speaking with her, we thought we had it all figured out until the “sharing plates” were delivered to our table. Not only was the order off from a meal perspective, but the sizes were huge! No warning was given of sizes from our server, either. I am a fan of value for what you spend as much as the next guy, but when you order a series of small plates you expect them to be small. I also expect a server to be a guide and help me through the ordering process. I appreciate suggestions even if I end up not taking them, and as long as it’s not contrived or rote memorization from table to table, it is a sign of a good server. For example, the week before I was in a wine bar with a small plates menu and I ordered three items. The server notified me that he moved the delivery around from the way I ordered, as he said I would be happier in his order of service. He was right.
I’m not saying it’s entirely the server’s fault; after all, we weren’t ordering “small” plates, we were ordering “sharing plates.” But this is getting confusing — small plates, share plates, normal plates, prix fix! It used to be so easy to order, but in challenging times like these, I guess you have to respect restaurants in trying to find new niches to make eating out fun (and affordable).