In this thread, I mentioned my restaurant rules. Rather than hijack the thread with the ensuing discussion, I figured I’d start a new thread.
So here are my restaurant rules, garnered through painful experience:
- The Interstate Restaurant Rule: Always eat at chains within a half-mile of the interstate. Non-chain restaurants within a half-mile of the interstate don’t need to rely on repeat business, so they will probably be gruesome.
- The Core Competency Rule: eat what the restaurant is known for. The pizza joint might have fish & chips on the menu for the person that doesn’t like pizza, but it’ll suck. The pizza at the fish camp will also suck.
- The Best in Show Corollary: don’t order a dish at a restaurant that’s made better at a different restaurant you can get to anytime soon. If the mad genius behind a local weird tapas joint puts some crazy-ass barbecue sandwich on the menu, and you live in North Carolina, order something else, because you’ll only end up comparing it to the genuine article. It’s kind of a corollary to the Core Competency rule.
- The Buffet Novelty Rule: never eat something unusual off a buffet. The weird stuff doesn’t get eaten as much as the regular stuff, which means it’s been sitting under those heat lamps longer. Those beautiful steamed crayfish at the end of the Chinese buffet in Morganton, NC? They’ve been there since last Tuesday.
Superhal suggested the following rules:
5. The Dumb Waiter Rule: never ask the waiter what the “specialty of the house” is. Ask "what do most customers order around here?’
6. The “When In Doubt, Order Bread” rule: if the restaurant has food you don’t particularly like, but you don’t want to get hit by the Core Competency Rule, order something made of bread, e.g. hamburger, BLT, pancakes, etc. It’s rare to screw up a bread-based dish, and even if you do, you won’t get diarrhea or indigestion from it.
7. The Backwards Menu Rule: always check the back/bottom of the menu for the best dishes. The front usually has the most expensive and least satisfying items.
I’m not sure I agree with rule 6 (I’ve had some terrible burgers and sandwiches), but I can see how he gets there. The dumb waiter rule is brilliant, given the reported propensity of restaurants to make their specials out of whatever’s about to go bad, so they can unload it on the customer. And I’ll have to check out the backwards menu rule.
What are your rules, or feedback on the rules so far?