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Old 08-02-2009, 10:52 AM   #21
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As a matter of fact, I went out to a steakhouse last night with friends and I was the only one with the fish entree. My pre-dinner martini was perfection, and I enjoyed everything that followed.
There is the solution that I like- order 2 martinizers and everything will be cool that follows.

I order steak sometimes because of the markups on the food. Menus these days are designed totally for the bottom line. Pastas with a few expensive ingredients sprinkled around (shrimp, etc.) other fancy concoctions, names and presetations are hideously marked up. I think steak is the better value even thought that is marked up pretty good. Some good points raised here, e.g., disturbing friends dining with you, the thought of a big hawker somewhere in your returned dinner, etc.
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Old 08-02-2009, 11:07 AM   #22
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I think there is a fairly well defined guidelines on definitions of steak cooking-
http://www.colinmcnulty.com/blog/images/cook-a-steak-blue-rare-medium-welldone.jpg

Personnally, I love all kinds of fish and seafood dishes but find the restauarants always overcook fish. I like to do a lot of cooking so maybe I notice it more.
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Old 08-02-2009, 11:43 AM   #23
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This happened to me a few years ago at a high end steakhouse in Houston. I ordered my steak medium rare and the steak came out very well done. After placing the steak on the table, the waiter asked me to cut into it to see if it was cooked to order. He saw how well done it was and immediately took it away. He replaced it a few minutes later with a perfectly cooked steak. That's the way it's supposed to work.
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Old 08-02-2009, 12:08 PM   #24
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Yes, but Jake46, there is an easy explanation for that. Want2retire happened to be dining there also and you got her piece of charcoal and she got your med rare- he figured that out and quickly exchanged them!
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Old 08-02-2009, 12:15 PM   #25
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Hard to keep up with those waiters!
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Old 08-02-2009, 12:35 PM   #26
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IMO restaurants are the world's biggest rip-offs. I might have sashimi at happy hour, in a place that would go down fast if their fish weren't completely fresh. I sit at the bar, I see the sushi chef cut the fish. I order a little, if I want more I order more. I tip well.

The situation where I might spend $60 to $75 for a meal that wasn't good, but I was afraid to send it back because of what the criminals in the kitchen might do to it (and me) would make me so angry tht I coujldn't bear it, let alone enjoy it.

Red Robin for a burger is about my limit.
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Old 08-02-2009, 01:13 PM   #27
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Yeah, I am a better than average cook(I think) and can prepare a meal to my taste most readily at home. And I agree with the OP that most non-seafood restaurants overcook fish(mine was last night, also too much butter sauce and the crabmeat topping was definitely not lump which I know having lived on the Chesapeake Bay in another life). My favorite restaurants are Mexican, Asian, or seafood. Living where I do here in western PA, there is only one seafood restaurant that I like, and I try to avoid what passes for Mexican or Chinese unless I go with friends who must have this fare. And a first-rate steakhouse should know the difference between rare and charred, no excuse for that. A lot of the time I just order an appetizer and a dessert.
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Old 08-02-2009, 01:14 PM   #28
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I don't order steak very often. When I do I order it medium-well. If it's dripping blood or if I can't chew it then i'll send it back. If it's anywhere in between i'll eat it even if it's not "just right". I can probably count on two hands the number of times i've had steak. I've sent it back twice. At both places, management compted my meal. At one place they also gave me 2 certificates for a free entree.
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Old 08-02-2009, 01:39 PM   #29
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I rarely eat out, and when I do and am in a steak mood, I have a very short list of places I will go for one. I always order it rare but not mooing. That always gets a laugh.
If it's a little more toward medium rare, I get over it quickly because I like that too. I cut it immediately while waiter is standing there (hang on a sec, please) and will request (nicely!) a replacement if it's too well done.
My favorite is a place really out in the middle of nowhere called the Buffalo Head Restaurant in Forestport NY. They go by the lumberjack rule with the prime rib - it is practically hanging off the plate on both sides for the King cut. I always take some home for stir fry or soups.
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Old 08-02-2009, 01:41 PM   #30
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"How would you like your steak cooked?"
"Pink in the center, whatever that means to your chef."
Usually gets a grin from the server, and I almost always get my steak prepared the way I like it.
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Old 08-02-2009, 02:14 PM   #31
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I agree with Jambo101. If you ordered med rare and got well done, I think that would be a different story. I would not send it back, but I would politely point out to the server why (s)he was not getting a large tip....and I would leave a little behind to show them as well. Whatever you do, don't send food back if you go to France...

R
So why did you take it out on the server? The cook screwed up.
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Old 08-02-2009, 03:27 PM   #32
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I'd ask for a new steak exactly as I orered it (Med/Rare) and since I will have to wait more, I'll ask for a comp cocktail.
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Old 08-02-2009, 03:27 PM   #33
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The only time I sent steak back was when it was so undercooked it was inedible and I like med. rare but this was straight from the refrigerator ,ten seconds on the grill and on my plate .
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Old 08-02-2009, 03:43 PM   #34
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Having known a few chefs in my time, I'm really paranoid about sending much back to the kitchen--and then only will I send it back after being totally humble about it. Why? Too many stories have been told to me about chefs saying things like, "she wants it cooked more? I'll cook it more" and then throwing the steak on the FLOOR and jumping on it. Or the chef who pulled out his nosehairs and stuck it in the food to a customer who sent something back he felt shouldn't have been. Yup...now see why I'm paranoid? And these things really do happen every day in a restaurant kitchen behind closed doors....paranoid I tell you for a reason.
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Old 08-02-2009, 04:50 PM   #35
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Having known a few chefs in my time, I'm really paranoid about sending much back to the kitchen--and then only will I send it back after being totally humble about it. Why? Too many stories have been told to me about chefs saying things like, "she wants it cooked more? I'll cook it more" and then throwing the steak on the FLOOR and jumping on it. Or the chef who pulled out his nosehairs and stuck it in the food to a customer who sent something back he felt shouldn't have been. Yup...now see why I'm paranoid? And these things really do happen every day in a restaurant kitchen behind closed doors....paranoid I tell you for a reason.
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Old 08-02-2009, 10:46 PM   #36
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Having known a few chefs in my time, I'm really paranoid about sending much back to the kitchen--and then only will I send it back after being totally humble about it. Why? Too many stories have been told to me about chefs saying things like, "she wants it cooked more? I'll cook it more" and then throwing the steak on the FLOOR and jumping on it. Or the chef who pulled out his nosehairs and stuck it in the food to a customer who sent something back he felt shouldn't have been. Yup...now see why I'm paranoid? And these things really do happen every day in a restaurant kitchen behind closed doors....paranoid I tell you for a reason.
Yee gads, I'm staying home! Seriously, I rarely have steak out but always order it by describing how pink I'd like the meat and asking if that's "medium rare" to them or what. Luckily, I can take it most ways except bloody-red and leather.
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Old 08-02-2009, 11:39 PM   #37
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IMO restaurants are the world's biggest rip-offs. I might have sashimi at happy hour, in a place that would go down fast if their fish weren't completely fresh. I sit at the bar, I see the sushi chef cut the fish. I order a little, if I want more I order more. I tip well.

The situation where I might spend $60 to $75 for a meal that wasn't good, but I was afraid to send it back because of what the criminals in the kitchen might do to it (and me) would make me so angry tht I coujldn't bear it, let alone enjoy it.

Red Robin for a burger is about my limit.
Since we've moved to the beach and get a lot of visitors (at least in the summer), we get taken out to dinner fairly often. As others have stated, I take pretty much whatever comes, and use that to help decide whether to come back or not. We found a place in Bethany Beach just recently that was amazing, and haven't found a single other person who has ever eaten there before. I'll keep going back until they start screwing up regularly.

When we go out ourselves, we tend to stay in the cheaper range. The food is decent, predictable, and affordable. We're out more for the fun than the comestible experience.

Just as a side, I worked as a cook many many many years ago. I can't remember a single instance when we messed with anybody's food just because they sent something back because it wasn't cooked right. If they were a**holes to the waitress, that was another question.
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Old 08-03-2009, 10:28 AM   #38
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This happened to me a few years ago at a high end steakhouse in Houston. I ordered my steak medium rare and the steak came out very well done. After placing the steak on the table, the waiter asked me to cut into it to see if it was cooked to order. He saw how well done it was and immediately took it away. He replaced it a few minutes later with a perfectly cooked steak. That's the way it's supposed to work.
Personally I have never had to send a steak back because the few times they have overcooked (well done is not med rare), the waiter/waitress has snatched the steak and made the cook redo it. Usually a manager stops by and comps me the steak or gives me a free salad or something as well. I think its happened to me 4 times and I tend to like steak alot.
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Old 08-03-2009, 02:45 PM   #39
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I agree with Jambo101. If you ordered med rare and got well done, I think that would be a different story. I would not send it back, but I would politely point out to the server why (s)he was not getting a large tip....and I would leave a little behind to show them as well. Whatever you do, don't send food back if you go to France...

R
You should be tipping the server on their level of service. They did not prepare your food.
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Old 08-07-2009, 09:59 AM   #40
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Whenever I have made a fuss about bad service in a restaurant or a hotel, I felt bad about it afterwards.

like the time I arrived at the Manhatten Waldorf on my honeymoon and the desk clerk did not believe me when I told him is was our honeymoon! The confetti all over the car should have been a tip off. The used cigarette in the ashtray in the room was a nice touch as well.

My current attitude is that if a restaurant can manage to actually bring me something edible, I cheerfully take it and thank them for the effort.

Not only do I feel sorry for the poor slobs slaving away at these terrible jobs, I believe sending food back or behavior that in any way is disrespectful of restaurant staff refects badly on the complaining or whining customer in the eyes of his or her fellow diners, and is a social buzz kill.

If the owner is too stupid to not put in place a secret shopper program in order to detect service deficiencies, he deserves to lose his business and move back to cooking for a wage or whatever.
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