Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 05-10-2019, 06:26 PM
Asuka is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 1,156

Why do some restaurants have "House sauce" instead of Ranch dressing?


Is Ranch copyrighted or does house mean it's a different style distinct from ranch?
  #2  
Old 05-10-2019, 06:43 PM
Colibri's Avatar
Colibri is offline
SD Curator of Critters
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Panama
Posts: 42,257
Moved to Cafe Society.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator
  #3  
Old 05-10-2019, 06:46 PM
aceplace57 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: CentralArkansas
Posts: 25,492
House Sauce can be anything the restaurant wants to make & serve?

It could be Ranch, a honey mustard, or spicy sauce.

Last edited by aceplace57; 05-10-2019 at 06:47 PM.
  #4  
Old 05-10-2019, 07:10 PM
kenobi 65's Avatar
kenobi 65 is offline
Corellian Nerfherder
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Brookfield, IL
Posts: 14,643
While ranch dressing was originated by the Hidden Valley Ranch brand, and while there were apparently trademark lawsuits over the use of the name when the style became popular in the 1970s, it appears that it's long since become a generic term.

I don't think that "house dressing" has a specific type (and I don't think it's necessarily synonymous with ranch dressing), but I may be mistaken.
  #5  
Old 05-10-2019, 07:20 PM
Little Nemo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Western New York
Posts: 80,447
Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
House Sauce can be anything the restaurant wants to make & serve?
I suspect it's this. Calling it house sauce allows the restaurant to change what it's serving based on cost and availability. It's the equivalent of sour du jour.
  #6  
Old 05-10-2019, 07:23 PM
Colibri's Avatar
Colibri is offline
SD Curator of Critters
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Panama
Posts: 42,257
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenobi 65 View Post
I don't think that "house dressing" has a specific type (and I don't think it's necessarily synonymous with ranch dressing), but I may be mistaken.
Googling "house dressing" doesn't yield any specific type. They include vinagrettes and creamy dressings. Some indicate that they are the homemade dressing made at their own house. "House dressing" just means the kind of dressing that is standard at a particular restaurant. It can be anything.

The OP has evidently encountered some restaurants that have a house dressing similar to Ranch, but who choose not to call it by that name.
  #7  
Old 05-10-2019, 07:29 PM
silenus's Avatar
silenus is offline
Isaiah 1:15/Screw the NRA
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: SoCal
Posts: 51,026
"House Dressing" is whatever Sysco had a special on that week.
  #8  
Old 05-10-2019, 08:16 PM
RealityChuck's Avatar
RealityChuck is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Schenectady, NY, USA
Posts: 42,376
No. a restaurant serves a house dressing. It is their own recipe and can take any form the chef wants, but they don't change it. That would make no sense: regulars want to know what to expect, especially if they like what they had the last time.
  #9  
Old 05-10-2019, 10:27 PM
Little Nemo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Western New York
Posts: 80,447
Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
No. a restaurant serves a house dressing. It is their own recipe and can take any form the chef wants, but they don't change it. That would make no sense: regulars want to know what to expect, especially if they like what they had the last time.
Those people are going to be surprised if they expect they're going to get the same soup du jour or chef's special that they had last month.
  #10  
Old 05-10-2019, 10:38 PM
pulykamell is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 46,968
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenobi 65 View Post
I don't think that "house dressing" has a specific type (and I don't think it's necessarily synonymous with ranch dressing), but I may be mistaken.
I don't think it does, either, but I do remember in the late 80s/early 90s thinking "house dressing" was synonymous with ranch for some reason, so the OP isn't the only one who has thought the same.
  #11  
Old 05-10-2019, 10:43 PM
digs's Avatar
digs is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: West of Wauwatosa
Posts: 9,391
Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
Those people are going to be surprised if they expect they're going to get the same soup du jour or chef's special that they had last month.
Maybe that's why we had a server ask us if we wanted to hear what the "Soup Du Jour of the Day" was.
  #12  
Old 05-10-2019, 10:44 PM
puzzlegal's Avatar
puzzlegal is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 4,125
Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
Those people are going to be surprised if they expect they're going to get the same soup du jour or chef's special that they had last month.
soup of the day, or today's special, will be different from day to day. I expect the "house dressing" or "our famous rolls", etc., to be the same every time I go back.
  #13  
Old 05-10-2019, 11:26 PM
Asuka is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 1,156
Quote:
Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
I don't think it does, either, but I do remember in the late 80s/early 90s thinking "house dressing" was synonymous with ranch for some reason, so the OP isn't the only one who has thought the same.
There's still places calling it House Dressing, Jack in the Box and Carl's Jr. for starters. I've also seen other places like Sizzler do it too.
  #14  
Old 05-11-2019, 12:31 AM
SenorBeef is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 28,079
I've been to places where the "house dressing" was a vinegar based Italian dressing. In fact this was more common (back in Cleveland) than house dressing meaning ranch, in my experience.

Last edited by SenorBeef; 05-11-2019 at 12:32 AM.
  #15  
Old 05-11-2019, 02:59 AM
Banksiaman is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Australia
Posts: 918
And of course while ranches and houses have their own sauces, clubs serve club sauce.
  #16  
Old 05-11-2019, 03:59 AM
Grrr!'s Avatar
Grrr! is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 16,128
I don't believe I've ever heard of a restaurant having ranch as their house dressing.
  #17  
Old 05-11-2019, 04:33 AM
I Love Me, Vol. I's Avatar
I Love Me, Vol. I is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: SF
Posts: 4,421
Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
It's the equivalent of sour du jour.
"I'm sorry, sir, today's sour is Tart. Tuesday's when we whip up a batch of Astringent. Afraid you'll have to come back next week."
  #18  
Old 05-11-2019, 04:39 AM
I Love Me, Vol. I's Avatar
I Love Me, Vol. I is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: SF
Posts: 4,421
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asuka View Post
There's still places calling it House Dressing, Jack in the Box and Carl's Jr. for starters. I've also seen other places like Sizzler do it too.
Jack in the Box and Carl's Jr. are only calling it that to seem more like the friendly corner diner and less like the faceless, soulless, money-snorting Mega-Corporations they are. A bit cynical about that, I am.
  #19  
Old 05-11-2019, 05:37 AM
actualliberalnotoneofthose is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 2,295
Quote:
Originally Posted by SenorBeef View Post
I've been to places where the "house dressing" was a vinegar based Italian dressing. In fact this was more common (back in Cleveland) than house dressing meaning ranch, in my experience.
This was similar to my experience at a restaurant where I worked for over a decade and the house dressing never changed. I do think it was just Sysco Italian (or something similar), though.
  #20  
Old 05-11-2019, 06:19 AM
UltraVires is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Bridgeport, WV, US
Posts: 15,245
Quote:
Originally Posted by SenorBeef View Post
I've been to places where the "house dressing" was a vinegar based Italian dressing. In fact this was more common (back in Cleveland) than house dressing meaning ranch, in my experience.
Yes. In north central West Virginia where many people are of Italian descent, a "house dressing" in an Italian restaurant is a homemade Italian dressing that has typically been in the family for generations. They will sell it to you by the pint, quart, or even a half gallon for carry out. People that have moved away and are back visiting families will stop in at these restaurants to buy the dressing to take home.

I guess that feeding off of that, if you go to a diner and ask for "house dressing" it will be Italian dressing out of a bottle. I have never heard of ranch dressing being "house dressing."
  #21  
Old 05-11-2019, 06:29 AM
kayaker's Avatar
kayaker is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Posts: 31,548
The restaurants around here all have some sort of vinagerette as their house dressing. Many also have a house sauce that they serve as a dip; at one place their house sauce is a delicious garlic aiolo.

One particular Italian restaurant serves a salad with every meal. Each table gets a cruet of oil/vinegar/seasonings which serves as your salad dressing. No other dressings in the house, don't bother asking!
  #22  
Old 05-11-2019, 06:57 AM
doreen is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Woodhaven,Queens, NY
Posts: 6,225
Quote:
Originally Posted by UltraVires View Post
Yes. In north central West Virginia where many people are of Italian descent, a "house dressing" in an Italian restaurant is a homemade Italian dressing that has typically been in the family for generations. They will sell it to you by the pint, quart, or even a half gallon for carry out. People that have moved away and are back visiting families will stop in at these restaurants to buy the dressing to take home.

I guess that feeding off of that, if you go to a diner and ask for "house dressing" it will be Italian dressing out of a bottle. I have never heard of ranch dressing being "house dressing."
I have never been to a diner with a house dressing. A diner will have a choice of dressings, which as far as I can tell all come out of a bottle. A restaurant may have a choice of dressings , one of which includes "house" or a restaurant may not have any choices and serve all the salads with the house dressing - but although the house dressing may be a ranch or vinaigrette based dressing, it's typically not the same as you would get out of a bottle. There's one restaurant that I go to (Little Nemo probably knows it ) that has a house dressing that as far as I can tell is a blue cheese dressing with BBQ sauce.

Last edited by doreen; 05-11-2019 at 06:58 AM.
  #23  
Old 05-11-2019, 07:05 AM
PookahMacPhellimey is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Italy
Posts: 2,167
Quote:
Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
One particular Italian restaurant serves a salad with every meal. Each table gets a cruet of oil/vinegar/seasonings which serves as your salad dressing. No other dressings in the house, don't bother asking!
That's actually what happens 99% of the time in Italy.

And they the salad after the main course.
  #24  
Old 05-11-2019, 02:22 PM
actualliberalnotoneofthose is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 2,295
Quote:
Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
One particular Italian restaurant serves a salad with every meal. Each table gets a cruet of oil/vinegar/seasonings which serves as your salad dressing. No other dressings in the house, don't bother asking!
I like this idea. It reminds me of places that don't offer ketchup to ruin their french fries.
  #25  
Old 05-11-2019, 02:43 PM
Colibri's Avatar
Colibri is offline
SD Curator of Critters
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Panama
Posts: 42,257
Quote:
Originally Posted by digs View Post
Maybe that's why we had a server ask us if we wanted to hear what the "Soup Du Jour of the Day" was.
Once in Wyoming we were at a chi-chi hotel restaurant and had a very young waitress who had apparently just started. When we asked "What's the soup de jour?" (as they had it on the menu) she said, brightly, "Oh! That's the soup of the day!" She had evidently just learned that that morning.
  #26  
Old 05-11-2019, 09:43 PM
kaylasdad99 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Anaheim, CA
Posts: 31,475
Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
It's the equivalent of sour du jour.
Quote:
Originally Posted by I Love Me, Vol. I View Post
"I'm sorry, sir, today's sour is Tart. Tuesday's when we whip up a batch of Astringent. Afraid you'll have to come back next week."
That was probably a typo. I think he meant SOUP du joup.
  #27  
Old 05-11-2019, 09:49 PM
kaylasdad99 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Anaheim, CA
Posts: 31,475
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
Once in Wyoming we were at a chi-chi hotel restaurant and had a very young waitress who had apparently just started. When we asked "What's the soup de jour?" (as they had it on the menu) she said, brightly, "Oh! That's the soup of the day!" She had evidently just learned that that morning.
"Mmm-hmm. That sounds good. I'll have that."
  #28  
Old 05-12-2019, 07:41 AM
Chicken Fingers is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 1,138
Quote:
Originally Posted by Banksiaman View Post
And of course while ranches and houses have their own sauces, clubs serve club sauce.
Spicy stuff.
  #29  
Old 05-12-2019, 10:26 AM
Mean Mr. Mustard's Avatar
Mean Mr. Mustard is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 10,866
Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
...It's the equivalent of sour du jour.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaylasdad99 View Post
That was probably a typo. I think he meant SOUP du joup.
Formerly Chuck's.


mmm
  #30  
Old 05-12-2019, 03:36 PM
DSYoungEsq is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Indian Land, S Carolina
Posts: 14,200
I grew up in a town in the middle of nowhere in the California desert, where the best restaurant in town had a "house dressing". It was a particularly unique dressing, unlike any other dressing I've ever had. Nothing like ranch; it was reddish in color, and had some finely minced vegetables in it. They are still serving that same house dressing, the same recipe, forty years later. I love it.
  #31  
Old 05-12-2019, 04:39 PM
nightshadea is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: a condo in hell 10th lvl
Posts: 5,190
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asuka View Post
There's still places calling it House Dressing, Jack in the Box and Carl's Jr. for starters. I've also seen other places like Sizzler do it too.
actually on the sauce cup im holding from jack in the box its a joke now


it says "buttermilk house sauce" then under it:
a.k.a. ranch
  #32  
Old 05-12-2019, 04:56 PM
Acsenray is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 35,338
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asuka View Post
Is Ranch copyrighted or does house mean it's a different style distinct from ranch?
Just to clear this up Copyright law protects works of expression, like books, films, and songs. It does not protect single words, names, short phrases, or slogans.
__________________
*I'm experimenting with ē, ēm, and ēs as pronouns that do not indicate any specific gender nor exclude any specific gender. (I am also contemplating the spellings /m/s, /m/s, e/em/es, Ē/Ēm/Ēs, /m/s, /m/s, E/Em/Es.)
  #33  
Old 05-12-2019, 05:05 PM
nightshadea is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: a condo in hell 10th lvl
Posts: 5,190
yeah, look up the story on how Bayer lost the trademark to the word aspirin ......

I remember being told coke would send out little flyers to places that had soda fountains reminding/demanding them to use "coke" only when referring to coca cola so they didn't lose the trademark the same way seems some places referred to any type of cola as coke ......
  #34  
Old 05-13-2019, 01:14 PM
furryman's Avatar
furryman is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Collinwood, Collinsport
Posts: 3,883
A house tastes better than a ranch?
  #35  
Old 05-16-2019, 06:49 PM
TBG is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Michigan
Posts: 9,014
I remember in the late 70's-early 80's when I first became aware of Ranch, it being called House at many places. These days the only dressing I know of being called House is served at a local Italian place and it's nothing even close to Ranch. Very much in the "a vinegar based Italian dressing" category, but I don't care for it at all. Fortunately they have a very delicious Ranch dressing and I order that when I have a salad from there.
  #36  
Old 05-22-2019, 06:41 AM
Mister Rik's Avatar
Mister Rik is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: The bunghole of WA
Posts: 12,519
Quote:
Originally Posted by SenorBeef View Post
I've been to places where the "house dressing" was a vinegar based Italian dressing. In fact this was more common (back in Cleveland) than house dressing meaning ranch, in my experience.
Amusing side-note: My very first restaurnt job in 1983 was at Arby's, when it still had a salad bar. The names of the dressings were imprinted on the handles of the ladles, and the ladle for the "lite" Italian dressing was stampled "Lo-cal", short for "Low calorie", of course. Except it didn't include the hyphen and the two word fragments were too close together, so most of the employees and customers thought that it said "Local" and supposed it to be some kind of fresh, locally-made dressing (which would be madness in a fast-food restaurant).
  #37  
Old 05-23-2019, 11:39 PM
Eo Echo is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Pennsylvania, USA
Posts: 1,327
When I was in college I worked at an Italian restaurant. What was called House Dressing was homemade. It was equal parts olive oil, vinegar and parmesan cheese, blended. I never ate salad but that stuff was pretty good for dipping bread into.
__________________
Associate yourself with the insane. It keeps things interesting.
  #38  
Old 05-24-2019, 01:39 AM
Asuka is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 1,156
I just visited a local arcade called "Round 1" and at their food court their ranch dressing is called "House Ranch" too.
  #39  
Old 05-24-2019, 08:57 AM
enipla is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Colorado Rockies.
Posts: 14,120
House dressing? I'd ask what it was. Could be anything. Bugs me. I would imagine it bugs servers to have to explain it again and again and again. It's stupid.
__________________
I don't live in the middle of nowhere, but I can see it from here.
  #40  
Old 05-24-2019, 09:42 AM
stretch is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Central WA
Posts: 1,405
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicken Fingers View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Banksiaman View Post
And of course while ranches and houses have their own sauces, clubs serve club sauce.
Spicy stuff.
I want you to know this user name/post combination was seen and appreciated.
  #41  
Old 05-24-2019, 09:49 AM
Jasmine's Avatar
Jasmine is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 1,918
Well, if a restaurant has a signature item that is really good, it is a big selling point because you have to go THERE to get it.

An example: There's a place called Horse Thief Hollow that has a signature southwest dressing that is lights out. They basically serve sports bar food that I don't particularly care for, but I will go there just to get their southwest chicken salad with their signature dressing. I have a buddy who has gone so far as to try to reproduce their dressing at home, but he can't get it where he wants it.
  #42  
Old 05-24-2019, 12:08 PM
DrCube is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Caseyville, IL
Posts: 7,344
Quote:
Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
I don't think it does, either, but I do remember in the late 80s/early 90s thinking "house dressing" was synonymous with ranch for some reason, so the OP isn't the only one who has thought the same.
Yeah, I'm confused too, because I've never seen a house dressing that wasn't ranch. I've even seen salad bars with both house and ranch, and the house dressing is just a different kind of ranch. Less viscous, maybe less white, but still basically ranch dressing. Or "creamy Italian", which is another dressing that is essentially a version of ranch, in my experience.

I like ranch salad dressing, but I don't like the goopy, thick stuff that comes out of the bottle as much. Usually, I usually prefer the house dressing, which is a more "homemade style" of ranch. Whether or not it's actually homemade, it usually tastes better than Hidden Valley from a squeeze bottle.
  #43  
Old 05-24-2019, 01:38 PM
bump is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 17,577
Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
No. a restaurant serves a house dressing. It is their own recipe and can take any form the chef wants, but they don't change it. That would make no sense: regulars want to know what to expect, especially if they like what they had the last time.
I'd think that in the absence of some sort of unique, proprietary dressing recipe, one reason for having "house" dressing would be to allow more flexible sourcing.

For example, if you're using a specific brand of Ranch dressing, and that becomes unavailable, you'll be replacing it with an entirely different brand, and customers might notice (probably would notice).

But if your house dressing is buttermilk, mayonnaise, onion powder, fresh garlic, chives, parsley, salt and white pepper, you have more latitude if say... you can't get your usual brand of mayonnaise, or fresh garlic, or whatever, and still have a dressing that's substantially the same.
  #44  
Old 05-24-2019, 01:50 PM
scr4 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Alabama
Posts: 15,614
My guess is, if you serve a ranch-like dressing that doesn't taste exactly like the ranch dressing from a bottle, and call it ranch dressing, some customers will complain.
  #45  
Old 05-24-2019, 02:24 PM
puzzlegal's Avatar
puzzlegal is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 4,125
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrCube View Post
Yeah, I'm confused too, because I've never seen a house dressing that wasn't ranch...
Must be regional. If they don't say otherwise, I expect "house dressing" to be a viniagrette.
  #46  
Old 05-24-2019, 03:20 PM
TBG is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Michigan
Posts: 9,014
Quote:
Originally Posted by scr4 View Post
My guess is, if you serve a ranch-like dressing that doesn't taste exactly like the ranch dressing from a bottle, and call it ranch dressing, some customers will complain.
I would complain (not to the waitress, just an "eww" only people sitting with me would hear, maybe) if it did taste like bottled ranch. I can't stand any bottled ranches, but sometimes quite like ranch served at some restaurants.
  #47  
Old 05-24-2019, 04:12 PM
Spud's Avatar
Spud is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Central Indiana
Posts: 3,785
Quote:
Originally Posted by puzzlegal View Post
Must be regional. If they don't say otherwise, I expect "house dressing" to be a viniagrette.
This has been my experience as well. I don't know that I've ever seen a house dressing that resembled ranch.
  #48  
Old 05-24-2019, 05:05 PM
furryman's Avatar
furryman is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Collinwood, Collinsport
Posts: 3,883
Quote:
Originally Posted by scr4 View Post
My guess is, if you serve a ranch-like dressing that doesn't taste exactly like the ranch dressing from a bottle, and call it ranch dressing, some customers will complain.
I find it ironic that Hidden Valley which is supposed to be the first ranch dressing doesn't taste anything like Marie's. Ken's doesn't taste mush like ranch dressing either, but it does taste good.
  #49  
Old 05-24-2019, 09:20 PM
Jackmannii is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: the extreme center
Posts: 31,444
Quote:
Originally Posted by digs View Post
Maybe that's why we had a server ask us if we wanted to hear what the "Soup Du Jour of the Day" was.
Did they offer to serve it with au jus?
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:45 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017