In the course of dining at Brasserie 19 for this week's cafe review, I noticed a man at the table next to me during lunch send back a piece of perfectly cooked red snapper for being "too raw." My dining companion and I watched in horror as the fluffy white fish was sent back to the kitchen to receive a wilting dose of heat.
In my personal (and professional) opinion, there is no greater sin a diner can commit against the kitchen than demanding that their fish or meat be overcooked. Ordering a steak blue is one thing (my thing, at least), and not one that I expect a normal diner to enjoy. But a well-done steak is a far worse sin. Ditto a piece of sashimi-grade tuna or a blushing lamb chop cooked past medium-rare.
The kitchen at Brasserie 19 has an almost hyper-indulgent policy toward its diners. When diners aren't sending back perfectly cooked pieces of fish, they're sending back foie gras because it's "too fatty," or demanding that a dish be re-plated because their foods are touching.
It would be funny if it weren't so sad.
A discussion about Brasserie's customers' odd dining habits led to a conversation with my coworkers recently about other dining sins we've seen committed through the years, usually by people who have no idea what they're ordering (see earlier, re: foie gras) or how it should be served.
Gazpacho sent back because it's cold.
New York-style pizza from Russo's or Italian pies from Dolce Vita sent back because they're charred on the bottom.
Seared ahi tuna sent back because "it's raw in the middle!!!"
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Not understanding the difference between rare, medium-rare, medium, medium-well and well-done steaks, then sending your medium-rare steak back because what you really wanted was medium-well.
And I know that our readers must have more of their own. What is your favorite horror story of food sent back for no reason? Let us know in the comments section, then head over to read this week's review of Brasserie 19.