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A restaurant rant

Posted Dec 18 2009 12:00am
I don’t go out to eat that often. First of all, who can afford it anymore? Secondly, whatever the restaurant is serving, I can usually make a better version myself.

It’s not that I’m a fantastic cook... I'm just average. It’s because I buy good-quality ingredients, which most restaurants DO NOT. You’d be amazed at what a difference it makes.

Most restaurants use cheap food-service ingredients and disguise them with lots of grease, salt, and sugar, all of which appeal to people’s taste buds and cover up a multitude of sins.

It goes without saying that I avoid fast-food places and chain restaurants -- I’d rather eat a peanut butter sandwich, or an energy bar, or even go hungry, than ingest that stuff. But even high-end restaurants, the ones that proudly serve pasture-raised meat and local produce, tend to go overboard on the fat and salt.

Perhaps they think we won’t appreciate their food unless its flavor hits us over the head with the intensity of a Big Mac.

Recently, at a very nice restaurant, I overheard a diner say apologetically to the waiter clearing his plate, “I couldn’t finish it.”

“Oh, it’s okay, I can’t finish one of those either,” the waiter replied.

I couldn’t help glancing over at the dish that had vanquished both of them. It was a piece of quiche. Now, it’s possible to make a healthy quiche, but it’s also possible to make one so loaded with butter and cheese and cream that a couple of bites contain your entire day’s quotient of fat. I could guess which kind this restaurant was serving.

I wonder if chefs ever sit down and try to eat one of their meals from start to finish. Or do they just taste everything?

Anyway, here’s a request to top-notch restaurants everywhere. Stick with the high-quality, locally sourced ingredients -- we love that! But now, how about losing the excess? My entree does not need to involve a whole stick of butter. A realistic serving of meat is four to six ounces -- it should not overwhelm the plate. I’ll take a more generous side of vegetables instead. And why, yes, I think I would like to see the dessert menu. A modest slice of dark chocolate cake sounds lovely.
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