- INSIDER spoke with professional chefs to ask them what dishes they’d never order at a restaurant and why.
- Gourmet burgers top the list as a “waste of money and high-end ingredients.”
- Never order the seafood special, since there’s a good chance you’re eating fridge leftovers.
When it comes to dining out, we may all have our personal preferences, but who better to give insider tips on what not to order at a gourmet restaurant than the chefs themselves?
INSIDER spoke with several professional chefs to ask their opinion about the food you should never order in a restaurant and why. From food that’s about to be thrown out, to unnecessarily overpriced items, your best bet is to steer clear of these sub-par orders.
Keep scrolling to learn some secrets from behind the kitchen doors.
“Chefs don’t typically appreciate well-done orders unless there is a very specific reason for the request (elderly, pregnant, etc.),” James Briscione, Director of Culinary Research at the Institute of Culinary Education told INSIDER. “They typically reserve the least desirable cuts (thin, tougher pieces) to cook well done. In general, less attention is given to well-done orders.”
Truffle oil is very rarely made with actual truffles, but is instead concocted using various chemicals that are designed to smell like real truffles.
“Never order anything with truffle oil as a listed ingredient,” chef Briscione said. “Chances are, the imitation truffle flavour will be offensively strong, and the 20 cents worth of truffle oil drizzled on your plate will result in a surge in menu price.”
“I never order mussels at restaurants,” Mary Dumont, chef and owner of Cultivar in Boston, told INSIDER. “I know people love them and I’m meticulous about their storage and care if I serve them, but all it takes is one bad mussel and you’re down for the count.”
She’s not the only one. Anthony Bourdain also famously said in his book “Kitchen Confidential” that he only ordered mussels if he knew the chef personally.
The “fancy” burger
It’s tempting to order the wagyu beef burger topped with foie gras and duck-fat bacon, but hear us out.
“There is no reason to ever pay $US20+ for a hamburger,” chef Briscione said. “If chefs are piling expensive ingredients on top of a hamburger, it’s just so they can steal your money. Good burgers are made from ground tough cuts of meat like chuck, brisket, or ribs. Grinding up expensive meat just to make a burger is a waste.”
The seafood special
Fish specials, especially those that fall on Mondays, should be avoided. Why? At that point in the week, the seafood may be old since most restaurants get their fish orders in on a Thursday, right before weekend rush.
“Specials are tricky in restaurants,” chef Silvia Barban said, executive chef at Aita and LaRina, told INSIDER. “It could be the most fresh and delicious special, but in some restaurants, specials are the way to clean up the fridge.”
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