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If a steak is overcooked by a restaurant, what do you do?
Old 08-01-2009, 08:13 PM   #1
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If a steak is overcooked by a restaurant, what do you do?

I ordered a strip steak at a fairly upscale restaurant. They asked me "how would you like that cooked?" I said "medium rare". The steak was certainly not well done, but definetely medium. I could have:

1. eaten it and said nothing
2. comlained and then eaten it
3. tell the wait person to send it back because it was not cooked the way I ordered it (to me because they asked me it more that implys it must be cooked right) and demand they give me another steak medium rare.
4. tell the wait person to send it back and order something else.
5. tell the waitperson you will not pay for it and leave.

What do most people here do in this situation?
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Old 08-01-2009, 08:25 PM   #2
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No such thing as a steak too well done for me (at least, so far). I like them that way.

But, I have had steaks that were not well enough done. Usually I don't create a fuss because I don't care that much, but sometimes I do send them back to the kitchen. No big deal.

I think you should tell the wait person politely and in a pleasant voice that the steak is not satisfactory to you. Ask him if he could please take the steak back and see if the chef will do anything about it. The restaurant business is very competitive, and restaurants do want to know when you are not satisfied with your meal and experience.
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Old 08-01-2009, 08:27 PM   #3
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If I were alone, I'd send it back. If I were with others, I'd probably complain a little bit, but eat it. Maybe my complaint would get free dessert for everyone.
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Old 08-01-2009, 08:54 PM   #4
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I'd politely send it back for one cooked as I ordered, but I would not "demand" anything. Too many people handling my food, haha. Most restaurants will gladly oblige the customer.
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Old 08-01-2009, 09:20 PM   #5
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I should not have used the word "demand" or other pushy inferences in my question- I would not do it that way in any of the choices.

want2retire- I used the medium rare to medium because if it is undercooked it easy to cook it a little more that is usually not a problem, the problem of course is that they can't uncook it. I guess what I am saying is applies to somewhat pricey restaurants (we don't go that often anymore) that have a slight air of pretentiousness about them. Does that count as to what standard you might hold them to.
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Old 08-01-2009, 09:40 PM   #6
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want2retire- I used the medium rare to medium because if it is undercooked it easy to cook it a little more that is usually not a problem, the problem of course is that they can't uncook it. I guess what I am saying is applies to somewhat pricey restaurants (we don't go that often anymore) that have a slight air of pretentiousness about them. Does that count as to what standard you might hold them to.
I probably wouldn't send a steak back at someplace inexpensive like Denny's or Shoneys. (grin) Yes, I think I would hold the more pricey restaurants to a higher standard.

You're right - - it is easier for them to cook it than to un-cook it. But either way, a pricey restaurant should be making a serious effort to please the customer. You can't get what you don't ask for.

Another aspect we haven't discussed: Suppose you send it back for a new steak, and suppose they are wonderful and offer to cook brand new steak for you. Still, that is going to take time. By the time you receive your second steak, the rest of the people in your party are going to be finished with their meal and feeling impatient. For this reason, usually I won't send a meal back unless the meal is just inedible for me.
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Old 08-01-2009, 10:03 PM   #7
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If something is inedible I call for the manager. Other than that it just factors in to deciding if I ever want to eat there again. A good restaurant will do the right thing and expedite a replacement and usually comp some things to make you feel better about it.
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Old 08-01-2009, 11:15 PM   #8
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I always order my steaks very rare. If it is overcooked but close (maybe up to medium), I will just eat it. I have asked for replacements a few times in nice places when it came medium-well or worse. I don't order steaks at less expensive places - I will usually get chicken, which is more tolerant of over-cooking.
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Old 08-01-2009, 11:34 PM   #9
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Truth be told, I never order steaks in a restaurant. I'm famous for buying "rotten" beef, including steaks. I can make two plates of steak and veggies for about $10 compared to $60 while dining out.

I love to eat seafood when I go out and believe me, if it's not cooked right or tastes odd, it's goin' back.
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Old 08-01-2009, 11:37 PM   #10
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I rarely order steak out as it is so easy to do at home. I tend to pick those items I either don't know how or do not enjoy making at home. If per chance I wind up at a top notch steakhouse then the servers have almost always not brought it out wrong. I have only asked once or twice for them to wait while I cut it. If ultra rare put it back on the grill please, if overdone try again. I have had the in-frequent drink or glass of wine for my bother. Like W2R says it's not worth it at a hash house that has a grill cook and a half inch thick piece of meat. But if a Morton's ot Ruth's Chris it best be right!
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Old 08-02-2009, 04:01 AM   #11
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Someone who worked in the industry once told me never to send food back to the kitchen, the staff will do nasty things to the next plate. Even in upscale restaurants.
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Old 08-02-2009, 04:32 AM   #12
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I'd eat it up and just assume their idea of medium rare and my idea of medium rare dont coincide,i'd never have anything sent back to the kitchen as you just never know if the cook got peeved and in some way compromised the quality of what he sends back.
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Old 08-02-2009, 07:07 AM   #13
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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...

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Old 08-02-2009, 07:11 AM   #14
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A steak can be overcooked? I like 'em well done.
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Old 08-02-2009, 08:01 AM   #15
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If something is pretty close in a restaurant, that is good enough for me. I go out with friends to have a pleasant social evening. If I get steak fries when I ordered french fries, no big deal. And like some previous posters, I never order steak out. 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. Now if I found a insect in my salad or a big hunk of glass in my martini, I would send things back in a hurry!
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Old 08-02-2009, 08:06 AM   #16
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If it were outside of what I like, I would have sent it back to be cooked as specified.

If I had ordered rare and it was over cooked, I would request a replacement.

I like steak in the range of medium to well done. Anywhere in that range works for me. I usually order medium-well... it typically works out to my satisfaction.


There have been a few times where food did not come out at my satisfaction and for one reason or another I did not send it back.

DW is less tolerant than me. But, she is a more picky eater. I haven't seen too many steaks I didn't like.

The last time this occurred (several years back) the restaurant was new. It was a relatively mid to high-end place. The service was lousy (took too much time).... the restaurant did not have their act together. My steak was definitely overcooked. We has such a difficult time being waited on and had plans to go to a show afterward so I did not pursue it. I was a little steamed. I did not leave a tip (bad service.. no tip).

The whole experience was bad. Within a year, that place was out of business.
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Old 08-02-2009, 08:07 AM   #17
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I always order med-rare, but that seems to vary from restaurant to restaurant (even upscale) and by region of the country. I will accept rare or med, but nothing outside that, and if it's borderline I'll eat it but make my assessment known to the waiter. I have been presented med-well and beyond and I have gotten less than rare before. You have to allow some range no matter what you order IMO, your expectation can be different than the restaurant. Remember when restaurants all used to overcook fish?

Maybe I have but I don't remember ever having to send a steak back except...

..I had a Capital Grill bring me well done, I sent it back. They brought me another that was less than rare, I sent that back too. I even asked the waiter if he thought the second was med-rare, he agreed it was not. I'd had quite a few good steaks at Capital Grill, but I've never been back - the episode above was during a business dinner.
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Old 08-02-2009, 08:52 AM   #18
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I rarely order a steak out. But once every few months I go to Outback with an old work buddy. I order medium and usually take whatever they bring. Not a high price steak anyway and they usually get it within ballpark range. I'm easy.
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Old 08-02-2009, 09:47 AM   #19
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Depends on the country you are ordering in.

In the U.S. I'll just ask for the "legal minimum" (in other words, still "on the hoof" if I can get it).

In other parts of the world (France, for instance), medium would certainly be considered rare in the U.S.

BTW, I enjoy steak tartare (when available) when I'm traveling in "Euroland"....

Would I send it back? Nope.

Would I delcare my dissatisfaction if the waiter asked me if my steak was "to my satisfaction".

Of course I would (hey, I'm paying for it!). I would not return it to the kitchen (yes, I did work in one, a long time ago - and you don't want to hear the stories ...) nor would I ask for a refund, free desert, or any other "satisfaction". If I was that upset, I would just not return.
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Old 08-02-2009, 10:23 AM   #20
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Now if I found a insect in my salad or a big hunk of glass in my martini, I would send things back in a hurry!
One day at a crowded Chinese restaurant, DH and I were having lunch. About half way through the meal, DH found a bug in his food. He just sat there; stared at if for a minute, then called the waiter over. DH said, "I didn't get what I ordered." The waiter looked confused. Then DH said, "I didn't order sweet and sour beetle."

A few of the diners heard this and started to cough.

We didn't make a scene; we just got up and left.

I staggered all the way to the car laughing...
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