All is not copacetic in Restaur-antland. What follows is but a sampling of my recent mail: (A few personal comments are included.)
"Hi, Janice. I have lived in this area since 1947 and had roast beef all over, even before Rochester or Olean knew what it was. Why, then, do most restaurants serve stale horseradish?
"For instance, at lunch at (a restaurant) in Olean, we (four people) all ordered beef on weck. I noticed the horseradish was a stale, dark color so I asked for a fresh jar. The server took the jar from our table and gave us the one off the next table. When I told her that it was also stale, she said, 'That's all we have.'
"This is crazy! I make my own horseradish, and it is always fresh and white."
-- Joe M., Orchard Park
My comment: How about sticky ketchup bottles? How about fingerprinted menus? They gotta go, too.
"Hi Janice. Here are three things that really bug me about eating out:
"1. Unhealthy and fattening french fries served with a sandwich order, unsolicited.
"2. Butter that has been factory packaged into single servings and kept in the restaurant at God knows what temperature.
"3. Individual chef salad servings that have been made up during the course of the day and served lifeless and refrigerated at the table. Your thoughts?"
-- Kevin G.
Dear Kevin: Don't just suffer in silence. Speak up if these things annoy you. And if no one is listening, don't go back -- and tell all your friends.
"Dear Janice: How do you find an upscale restaurant that is open on a Monday night? I've tried the websites and they are no help. Many are totally inaccurate."
-- Lorey R., Williamsville (and many other readers as well)
It is a given that many restaurants are closed on Sunday; many are closed on Monday and some even on Tuesday, too. That makes last-minute plans hard -- especially if the restaurant website is not well tended.
Yes, there are a lot of sites out there that are helpful, but a surprising number aren't kept up to date. You would think that after investing money and thought into them, management would be more careful.
That doesn't seem to be the case. Not only are the hours often wrong -- if they are even mentioned -- but I have noticed another disturbing trend in menu listings. More and more often, no prices are given. Obviously that's to allow the restaurant to change according to market conditions, but it also gives the restaurant a bye in keeping the listing up to date.
These things cause consumer indigestion ("agita" is an even better word). And if anything causes consumer agita, I'm agin' it.
Send your dining questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org