Are a bowl and a cup the same thing?

So far as restaurant portions are concerned, that is.

I was in a restaurant, and I ordered a bowl of soup, as I often do. My looking-out-for-my-best-interests server asked me “Do you work for the corporation?” I said No, why? Do you think I’m a spy?" She said, “Yes, I was just checking. The bowl actually contains the same amount of soup as the cup.” I said, “Gee, tanks. I’ll have a cup instead.”

So, if you have ever worked in the restaurant business, is that something that you’ve encountered, that a bowl and a cup contain the same amount?

I’ve worked at several restaurants, and there was always a difference between the cup and bowls. A cup was typically a smallish handless coffee cup. A bowl was just that. Depending on the place I was at at the time, it varied in size, but was universally larger than the cup. How much larger also varied, but it was definitely bigger.

Hmmm. What sort of restaurant was this?

In my diner/coffee shop experience, a “bowl of soup” usually turns out to be a large dinner plate-sized piece of crockery fulla soup. A full meal if accompanied by bread. A “cup” is a small bowl, meant to precede a main dish.

The bowl usually seems to hold roughly twice the amount of soup as the cup, but is usually priced less than 50% higher.

I’ve experienced this in a small diner on the Oegon Coast. I ordered a bowl of clam chowder. My wife ordered the cup as a side dish. My bowl was wide and flat, and her cup was like a coffee cup, but slightly larger. We finished at the same time, and started comparing dish size. We determined that they held roughly the same amount of food.

Yes, we got a refund.

No, we never went back.

Yes, it’s now out of business.

Longhorn Steakhouse, a Southeastern formula chain based in Atlanta. Their cheese fries are second only to Outback’s, although I’ve heard tell of the mysterious “horseshoe” (known only to denizens of certain restaurants in the Chicago area) that probably rivals anyone else’s.

But the analogy is correct: A bowl is flat and shallow. A cup is tall and thing. If they use the same portion size to “fill up” both things, I don’t see a need to pay more for the bowl–except that it makes it a lot either to sop up the remaining dregs with the bread that is supplied.