Tuesday, February 06, 2007

HFF Asks: Why?

There is a distinct group of diners (perhaps a majority) who never want to try anything new.

This is odd to me.

I rarely order the same thing twice. Not including basic cheap staples (pizza from Lanesplitter, various stuff from Daimo) the only thing that comes immediately to my mind that I order with any regularity is the mezze plate with falafel at Sophia. Why limit yourself to what you already know? That seems silly.

When I dine out, particularly when I'm spending significant money on dinner I want to try something different. Something that I haven't experienced before. More often than not I'm disappointed. You reach a point when know what certain things are going to taste like in general, all you're doing is judging execution. That's boring. It's like the technical competition versus the artistic competition in figure skating. Or another less gay analogy.

Correctly cooking food is the (often poorly-executed) baseline for a restaurant. You're supposed to not overcook food. That's a given.

Or another complaint: "I don't recognize any of these wines."

So? That's a good thing. If I see a varietal or region on a wine list that I'm not familiar with I'll make a point to order it. Or at least ask questions about it. A challenging wine list is a boon. I get pissed off when a wine list is made up of the usual suspects from France and California.

I had a customer inform me that "I know you want to be all boutique-y but it's really frustrating when you don't have any beers that I've heard of. And I drink a lot of different beers." Nevermind mind that our beer list includes Anchor Steam, Red Stripe, and Boont Amber (not to mention other beers from major California microbrews) but if you're somebody who drinks a lot of different beers wouldn't you want to find beers that you weren't familiar with?

What's the fucking harm? It's $4-$10 to try something new in your life. Cheaper than divorce. Hell, cheaper than a hooker. And just like a divorce or a hooker, trying something new in beer or wine will make you a more interesting person.


James Cardinell said...

Actually, depending where you are, hookers can be $4-$10. In Thailand they are about 200 baht at a shitty bar (that's about US$6-$7). But yes, probably the beer is a better (read:safer) choice. Thai bar girls don't make you more interesting unless you have friends with microscopes and masses antibiotics...

charlie w. said...

clearly i've been going to the wrong hookers.

charlie w. said...

also, don't forget the brocolli at fonda. you order that all the time. but only because it's fucking delicious, and under $5. and good for you!!