Tuesday, June 14, 2011
So to answer your question 'Anonymous' if you really want that certain item but want it without the red peppers, pause for a moment and evaluate the state of the restaurant.
1. Is it a leisurely Wednesday night, a few tables relax around the dining room, the service staff seem to be moving at a reasonable pace, a look of calm resting on their countenance?
2. Is it Saturday night at 6:30pm every single seat in the restaurant is full and the servers look frantic, running back and forth from the kitchen to the tables begging for it all to be over?
You must learn as a guest to decipher where in between these two extremes the restaurant you are in is at, at that moment, if it's not packed, request the substitution, but if it's crazy busy, perhaps choosing something else would be a good idea. Too many substitutions can grind an entire service to a halt - have you ever wondered why your food is taking so long? Every guest in a busy restaurant affects the service of the other guests dining at the same time.
Take any action that you do over and over on a daily basis that is second nature to you and have someone tell you that every 6th time you do that thing, you must change it just slightly - but in different ways each time - calling it out to you just moments before you have to make the change.
Also, be prepared to wait/pay for the changes you make to a menu item. Trading cheddar for goat's cheese should cost you money. Altering a dish takes extra time, often because it can't be made in a larger quantity with other plates of the same item.
I for one am surprisingly persnickety for my line of work, I ask for things to be omitted from dishes on many occasions - sometimes I even ask for extras or 'god forbid' the starch from a plate that is not my own. But I am not upset when there is a surcharge on my bill for these things - and neither should any guest be.
Just make sure that in restaurants where the chef lovingly creates each plate to balance harmoniously together you don't attempt to re-invent the menu, you'll be remembered, but not fondly!