Fancy dining can make you feel like a freaking monarch with superpowers. The classy ambience, the highly trained and attentive waitstaff, the tablecloth, fine dining can really make a person feel special. So don’t waste your special night out by ordering food that can’t live up to the rest of the experience. Here are some things to avoid ordering at a fancy restaurant.
8) The chicken fingers
Some fancy places will serve a fancied up version of chicken fingers with housemade herb breading and white wine honey mustard or something. Don’t let this fool you. Even served on a plate that’s too big and drizzled with multicoloured thick liquids, they’re still chicken fingers. Do you see a sports game playing on the giant television behind the bar? No. Because there is no giant television behind the bar, because there’s a string quartet behind the bar, because this is fine dining. So don’t order chicken fingers.
7) Seafood if you live inland
I don’t care how many stars the restaurant has, if it’s more than a four hour drive from the ocean to the table, the seafood will not be worth what they’re charging. Fish goes real bad real fast and even one day on ice can make a huge difference in the way it tastes. Even animals that are still alive in tanks at your grocery store like crabs, oysters, and scallops are already losing their life and their muscle tissues are starting to atrophy from lack of exercise which affects their texture. If you’ve ever seen a lobster fresh from the trap you know the difference in its feistiness compared to the languishing one your server scoops out of the “pick your own” tank at Red Lobster. The stress of newfound captivity makes these critters release hormones that will make them tougher and taste less sweet than a crustacean that was caught, cooked, and cracked all in the same day. On the same note and for obvious reasons, you also shouldn’t order seafood from the east coast if you live on the west coast. That’s a long trip.
6) Garden salad
You’re at a fancy restaurant, get some roasted beets with fish egg crust or a braised romaine with champagne coulis or something. Garden salad is for chumps and plebeians. If your entire salad is assembled from ingredients you could forage yourself out of a highway ditch, it’s not fancy enough.
You’re being fancy, drink wine. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like wine, you have to drink it or the waitstaff will silently judge you and the chef will think you a commoner and a foolish one at that. Just raise your eyebrows and nod after your first sip and hope no one figures out you can’t tell the difference between a shiraz and a cabernet. If you absolutely can’t have alcohol, make up for it by ordering the most convoluted coffee on the menu with dessert.
4) The low-cal option
Unless you’re a big star like Wallace Shawn and you eat fancy every day, call your big date at the French restaurant a cheat day. Healthy food sucks. Healthy food gets its flavour from things like spices, slow cooking, and citrus fruits. Fancy food gets its flavour from butter. If you’re eating fancy, you’re eating butter (salted coconut cream if you’re vegan).
3) Chicken breast
What are you, a peasant? Chicken breast is basic. Are you a basic peasant? Unless that chicken breast is wrapped in prosciutto, infused with walnut essence, stuffed inside a different animal you’ve never heard of, served on a bed of asparagus, and slathered in rosemary jus, don’t order it. In fact even if it is all those things still don’t order it, that recipe is too busy.
2) Anything you have had before
Fancy food can be simple but it can also be weird, and there are some weird foods that you will only find at a fancy joint. So take this opportunity to try rare truffles stuffed with other, rarer truffles, squid sautéed in its own ink (unless you live inland), or ice cream made of human milk.
1) Special requests
Four and five star chefs can be very protective of their art. Asking a chef to hold the cilantro is like asking Monet to hold the water lilies. Don’t do it.
Eating at a fancy restaurant is a double edged sword. On the one hand everything is delicious, on the other hand you won’t enjoy any of it because you will be too preoccupied with feeling out of place and trying to avoid being judged for not knowing which utensil to use and where to put your other hand. But if you keep these tips in mind you’ll make it through the ordeal and maybe even enjoy yourself a little bit. Who knows, you may even become the most classy person in the place one day, then you can be the one to do the judging! Bon appétite!