On the site of ZAGAT (I am looking for some reviews) I saw this. I was a little annoyed by it. Sure, some of the things on this list are clearly super cheap for ingredients and preparation but vastly over priced. But, when you are at a restaurant, you are not buying for yourself and making it yourself. Sometimes, you want it done for you… in a restaurant. Right? I am not defending ridiculously inflated prices. When I see them on a menu, I feel disrespected.
So, while there is a point about price, is this just snobbery on parade?
The 10 Lamest Things You Can Order in a Restaurant
by Kelly Dobkin
Let’s face it – there are some things that just aren’t worth paying for in a restaurant. Whether they’re exceedingly simple items that are ridiculously marked up, or just flat-out boring, here’s a list of menu items that have us shouting: “lame!”
1. Iceberg wedge salad
Wanna know how to make a hunk of flavorless lettuce even less appetizing? Charge $12 for it. This “classic” menu item, which had its heyday in the ’50s and ’60s, was invented at a time when iceberg lettuce was the height of sophistication. Its alarming resurgence on menus has been played up as “retro,” but let’s be honest – it’s one of the biggest rip-offs in the restaurant game. You can re-create this blasé dish at home for about $3 with a head of Dole and a bottle of Hidden Valley Ranch. [Hmmm … I have a couple clear memories of how delicious a wedge can be. Once at a place in Minneapolis with a house made Green Goddess dressing and another at a steak place in NYC. The point: I remember how truly delicious they were. And I am not a fan of iceberg. So… they were the right thing at the right time and, at a restaurant, that is what you pay for. Right?]
2. Shrimp cocktail
Twenty dollars for four boiled shrimp? No thanks. Sure, it’s delicious, but essentially it’s just a plate of shrimp and a side of sauce, right? For one to buy or make this at home requires about zero cooking skill and about a third of the cash. Unless someone’s doing something with this dish that you’ve never seen before (read: shrimp cocktail à la sous vide), keep your money in your wallet when you come across this one. [Okay.]
3. Bottled water
Still a favorite of germaphobes, snooty Europeans and diners desperate to impress their date, bottled water is totes ’80s. Unless you’re in an area where tap water is non-potable, bottled water is a waste of money. Restaurants have been known to mark up it up about 300% – let’s face it, you can purchase the same $10 liter of water at your local Walmart for like $2.50. Most restaurants now also offer filtered tap water, so unless you’re dying to relive the Evian craze of ’89, maybe you should just order tap. [I am beginning to suspect the writer doesn’t have much of a sense of taste. I have been in cities where the tap water was pretty dreadful, depending on the time of year. Water affects the food. The minerals in the water can make a difference with the food.]
4. Plate of fruit
We’ve certainly seen some amazing fruit plates, but seriously, ordering this as your main dish is a bit of a cop-out. Only in cases of sheer laziness or manorexia should a diner order a $7 plate of cut-up fruit for their entree. [Again, I get the point about price. But, you pay for prep.]
5. Mixed greens
Ingenious menu idea: take greens direct from the package, put them on a plate, serve with a side of oil and vinegar and slap on an $8-plus price tag – you’re now a restaurateur. [I am reminded of the story of a kid harassing the pitcher, telling him how slow he was, how washed up, etc. The pitcher responded: “Okay, kid. Get a bat!”] Back in 1994 when mesclun salad was all the rage, this trick might have worked. But now? Not so much. We promise that at most places if you look at the salad options, there’s bound to be a less banal way to eat your veggies.
We all know Jerry Seinfeld loves to order cereal at a diner, but we’re hoping you’re smart enough not to do the same. Ordering a bowl of cereal as your main course should be an immediate indication that you shouldn’t be out at a restaurant. Go home, put on your PJs, grab a gallon of milk and some Corn Flakes, and plant yourself in front of the tube. [Putting cereal on this list was deranged.]
7. Scrambled eggs
We understand the hungover person’s need for grease [See my comment, above, about the writer not really understanding food. Grease? Scrambled eggs?] after an all-night bender, but scrambled eggs in a diner cost about four times more than if you were to just make ’em at home. There’s inevitably a much more worthwhile egg dish on every menu. Even a broke-ass one-handed wino is capable of creating this dish in less than five minutes. [Perhaps the writer hangs out with too many winos. There are scrambled eggs and scrambled eggs, folks. Trust me. I supposed the writer is used to something she has been told are scrambled eggs, some nasty mass of rubbery cooked globules with a glaze of the “grease” she is used to. That is not how I make them.]
8. Steamed veggies
Sure, they’re healthy and delicious, but they cost 50 cents and you’re likely to get charged something like $7 for it. You’re better off enjoying this bland, overpriced side at home with some melted butter and a bag of Birds Eye. [I am trending toward the snobbery angle. ]
Dude, most places will give you olives for free! Unless the chef is doing something crazy exciting with mixed olives (which we’re having trouble imagining), as a rule of thumb it’s kind of dumb to shell out money on a gratis bar snack. [Uh huh. She should put away her can opener and start trying real olives.]
10. Baked potato
Seriously? We all love baked potatoes but what are you, 90? What you’ll pay for this one in a restaurant vs. making it at home is significant. If a place is going to give you the option of a baked potato, we’re pretty sure they’ll have something considerably more interesting in the spud department. [There are times when the baked potato is exactly the right way to eat your carbs.]