Most out-of-place dishes you've seen on a restaurant menu

This isn’t about bad food. This isn’t about good food. This is about food that has no business being where it is, in terms of its position on a restaurant menu.

Missoula has a high-class (for Missoula) restaurant known as Red Bird, which focuses on the usual tony fare: Its duck is wonderful, its seared ahi tuna is raw on the inside, and its rack of lamb is worth punching out any five of your favorite saints to eat. Its iced tea is as fragrant as a fine perfume (an accomplishment for a cold drink, if you ask me) and tastes even better than it smells.

And, as one of their appetizers, it has what they call fried chicken and waffles. Wonderful food: It’s served up with a buttery syrup and, of course, the bird is simply decadent.

But… it’s soul food, right? It’s the exact opposite of every other high-class stereotypical rich-person-food dish on that menu. It isn’t as if Missoula has a black community, either. We’re in Montana, after all.

But that isn’t even the weird part. The weird part is that the bird isn’t even chicken: It’s squab. They’re frying up pigeon and serving that, and it tastes wonderful, primarily because pigeon is all dark meat, like how duck is all dark meat.

(And, yes, the presentation is absolutely in line with what the rest of the plates look like.)

Chefs sometimes like to make a high-class version of what’s normally considered a low-class meal.

So a fancy version of chicken and waffles? Why is that out of place then?

Coach Insignia, a fancy joint atop the RenCen in Detroit, offers lobster corn dogs.

And yeah, they’re good.

A restaurant near my job in NYC called “Marrakesh” has a full menu of the usual Middle Eastern dishes: falafel, hummus, shwarma, kebabs of meat, baba ganoush, feta cheese, tabbouleh, stuffed grape leaves, etc., etc. The decor is done with Moroccan tiles and hanging lamps. But there’s a section of the menu listing about a dozen or so Italian dishes like Lasagna Bolognese, and another corner has deli sandwiches like chicken salad or roast beef and cheddar. ???

Edit: here’s their menu online: Marrakesh Menu from MenuPages

This. Also, it seems to me like fried chicken and waffles is a little bit of a foodie trend right now. I don’t think I’d ever heard of it before about five years ago (I’m Canadian, if that makes a difference), but lately I’ve been seeing it all over the internet and on food tv shows. I was just watching Iron Chef America and the secret ingredient was silkie chicken, and one of the contestants made chicken and waffles with it. So it seems like it wouldn’t be unusual for a higher end restaurant to do a different take on the dish using squab.

There’s a diner near me. Generally not very good food but they have a chicken melt sandwich which is simply the best I’ve ever had.

Anyway, the menu is a mix of basic diner fair and Mexican items.

Then for some reason in the middle of all of this is a Thai green curry dish. Only remotely Asian item on the menu. And it isn’t like whoever is in charge said “hey, it’s odd but my Thai green curry is amazing so let’s do it.” No, it is absolutely vile.

Well, that’s a no-brainer. There are people who love falafel, hummus, etc. in a beautiful Moroccan tiled restaurant, but they are burdened with friends, relatives, or co-workers who have NEVER in their small lives eaten anything other than meat and taters. Feta cheese? Stuffed grape leaves? Baba ganoush? They look at such ‘exotic’ fare, screw up their widdle faces and pout. “I don’t WIKE it”. The only way to get them into a restaurant serving Middle Eastern fare to to promise there is “real 'Murrican food” on the menu. They can sit there and have a sandwich to fill their stomaches while everyone else has that funny furrin stuff.

The faculty club where I work has a fairly ordinary menu - grilled salmon, a burger, caesar salad, turkey club, ravioli, that sort of thing. Plus they have Pad Thai on the menu. It’s not a bad version of Pad Thai, but it is screamingly out of place on that menu.

The local diner in Santa Cruz has typical diner fare- breakfast, sandwiches, meatloaf and…pho.

Turns out the owner is Vietnamese, and just couldn’t bring himself to do a menu without a Vietnamese dish.

Yeah, for this thread you could name any number of ethnic restaurants - be they Mexican, Chinese, Middle Eastern, Thai, etc. - that have a listing for burger and fries or chicken fingers at the bottom of the menu for that very reason.

Not quite on theme, but when I moved to the Bay Area it took a while to get used to the large number donuts and Chinese food shops.

There’s a Greek restaurant near me that has all the usual fare… and Tacos. No other Mexican food, just ground beef tacos.

About 12 years ago, I lived down the road from a Burger King in San Diego that served both Jack in the Box tacos (the exact same meat, toppings and all, at the same 2 for 99 cents price) and Wendy’s chili. I assume it was owned by a franchisee who owned other restaurants as well and was trying to do some cross-promotion on the sly.

I now live down the street from an independent drive-thru burger restaurant which has Ivar’s clam chowder on its menu. It’s slightly less odd than the above example since you can buy the chowder base at the grocery store, but it’s still pretty out of place.

Yeah, it always disgusts me whenever I go to a new and really interesting and good restaurant, and there’s a last page on the menu with cheeseburgers and chicken fingers. Really, are you such a fucking food coward that you’d go to a great seafood place or Lebanese food or whatever and order the fucking chicken fingers? They should poison those food items to weed those people out.

I figure it’s the kid’s menu. Mom and Dad get to order a nice meal and Junior gets a plate of chicken fingers and macaroni and cheese.

I believe it’s originally a southern dish (as in the southern United States).

When it comes to restaurants, plenty of adults are incredibly boring. You see Applebee’s and Olive Gardens thrive everywhere while great little non-franchise places close left and right. I’ve seen plenty of adults eating burgers at ethnic restaurants or other interesting places. In particular, I had a semi-friend who’d always want to tag along with us to restaurants but, without fail, would order a burger every time, no matter how much we tried to talk something up. He would say that whatever food we were eating - mexican, thai, whatever, was too bland :confused: and then order a burger and fries. He was, by far, the most boring human being I’ve ever known.

In the small town my wife lived in before we were married, there was a place called (and labeled by a large painted-wall sign) called Fluffy’s Ice Cream and Chinese Food. About six months before I liberated her from this paradise, they added a hardboard sign below it: “Now Serving Waffles!”

Not many combinations of cuisine have topped that, in my experience.

Yes, there are people that boring and unadventurous and unwilling to eat anythign they’ve never had before. Frankly, I’m glad they’re there so that I can still go and get good food and not have to hear whining.

I also have a friend with varied food allergies and intolerances. In restaurants she’s familiar with she’s more than happy to work with the staff to get something interesting and good to eat if necessary. With unfamiliar restaurants often she’ll just take the easy way out of the bland kids foods where she doesn’t have to hope that the waiter conveys the order to leave out ingredient x to the kitchen and that the resulting plate ends up with her instead of someone else ordering the same dish.