Italian dressing in restaurants (or the lack thereof)

I hoping that some Doper in the restaurant biz can help me.

99% of the restaurants that I have been to don’t offer Italian dressing for salads. WTF? Oh sure, they offer “oil & vinegar” or “vinaigrette” and that’s nice and all, but IT IS NOT ITALIAN!!! Would it kill you to have one freakin’ bottle on hand?

Is Italian dressing so far down the popularity list that it is to be shunned by one and all?

I guess I’ll either have to stop ordering salad or start sneaking in a bottle of Wish Bone whenever I go out to eat.

I like thousand islands my self but sometimes settle for russian. Those 2 are interchangable in the minds of many resteraunts and it looks like the oil and vinegar/ vinaigrette/ italian combo is too.

I thought Italian is a pretty standard dressing though and would think most would have it.

Have we had a GQ thread about salad dressings at some point? We MUST have. The designations change every time you cover 100 miles of territory in the U.S., it seems like.

“French dressing” ranges from simple mustard vinaigrette, which is how it appears in nearly every cookbook, to the sugary flourescent orange stuff marketed by Kraft and Wishbone.

What most of America calls “Thousand Island” is referred to as “Russian” here in NYC, and is spread on delicatessen sandwiches rather than poured onto green salads.

So what do you think Italian dressing is, if not a vinaigrette? What’s the stuff in the bottle, if not a vinaigrette that seems to have been sweetened and thickened?

This is definitely a GQ thread…if somebody’s capable of laying out a good national guide to salad dressing, they probably deserve a Pulitzer Prize, to boot.

Well, a trip to the grocery store salad dressing aisle shows distinct differences between Italian and vinaigrette. When I asked the waitress at the last restaurant I went to (last night, in fact), she told me that Italian was not available, but that vinaigrette or oil & vinegar were. Therefore, I must assume that there are significant differences between Italian and the others.

Isn’t Russian dressing more like Catalina than Thousand Island?? They aren’t anywhere near the same.

Russian is an ok sub. for 1000 isl. but has clearly a different taste - close but not the same. As for Ukulele Ike comment about it being more of a sandwich topping - well it use to be bigger on sandwiches then it currently is - even in NYC, the rubin seems to get less play now. I don’t think Russian is a local trend it may be more popular in NYC then 1000 isl.

My WAG is that with Italian, you have to shake up the contents to get the liquid and seasoning parts to combine properly. At restaurants, maybe they just spoon it out from a huge vat, so shaking or stirring it up would be impossible or too time consuming.

I wasn’t hungry before I read this thread, but now I am.

I think I’ll have a salad with Italian dressing. Wonder why I said that?

Good thing I’m not in a restaurant, eh?

I did go to one restaurant that offered Italian dressing in those small single serving container. I’m sure those are more expensive than some sort of bulk container.

For what it’s worth, I’ve noticed that italian dressing isn’t really popular in restaurants. But that’s okay because I’ve decided that ranch dressing is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

Last time I went to Olive Garden, waiting for a table, I read in that book that Olive Garden published. The big glossy book all about food, drink, & fine dining in Italy. It said that in Italy people still consider it necessary to dress up for dinner, that a little elegance enhances the dining experience. So that’s what I thought you meant: “Italians: dressing in restaurants”! The irony of it is, you know, that Olive Garden is not exactly an upmarket restaurant, and folks turn out for fine dining there in sweats and sneakers.

This used to drive me nuts. I live in Houston, and most of the restaurants have Italian. Every once in awhile, you find one that doesn’t. Outback Steakhouse is the only one that comes to mind.

I don’t really care any more, though, since I typically order caesar salads now.

All I can say is not finding Italian dressing in a restaurant is strange. Here it’s always on the “master” dressing list, and two times out of three, the restaurant will offer either basic Italian or creamy.

Heck, I usually order fat-free ranch anyway…:wink:

Fraggie may have hit on it.
A little Mom & Pop restaurant I go to offers Italian and Ranch dressing…period.
The Italian arrives in a little container with a top that you need to shake.

Your basic vinaigrette dressing is oil and vinegar with Dijon mustard.

Italian may shun the Dijon and go for oregano, thyme, basil, parsley and other things.

Your idea of sneaking in a bottle of Wish Bone might be a good one. I think their Italian dressing is tops.

Just wanna bump this up a bit.

Why? Is there an unanswered General Question?

Well, the answers to the OP seem to be conjecture. I was hoping for someone in the restaurant biz to pipe in, but since there doesn’t seem be anyone here, I guess you could lock this.