Change of menu
I've written about the ways fine-dining restaurants are changing their offerings to cope with the recession, but I hadn't thought about places farther down the food chain. Luckily I have our Shallow Thought Wednesday guru and guest poster John Lindner to do that for me. Here's John. EL
We dropped into an old haunt we hadn’t darkened in a couple months and discovered it had altered its menu.
The first thing I noticed was that the new menu looked less crowded, brighter. After that, OK, there seemed to be a couple new entrees, but by and large the new line-up seemed a rearranged rendition of the old one. And then I saw it:
Immediately, I was curious. This is not a tapas kind of place.* I did a double take. Tapas? Really?
I checked out the tapas selections. Hmmmm. They looked a lot like the old appetizer selections.
I couldn’t believe it. But then, tapas, small plates, appetizers, right? Why’d I feel cheated?
Maybe I felt cheated because the place also changed its fry style from crisp and delicate to desultorily spiced nubbies served room-temp cool. My generous spirit compels me to suggest that the cool part may have been an unintended variation on a theme. They also dished up a lot fewer fries than in the recent past.
The whole menu change reeked of economic rather than culinary motivations. It was like meeting an old acquaintance down on his luck, a bit worn at the elbows but sporting a cheap new tie.
I was in a dark and unexperimental mood so I didn’t explore the “tapas” menu. Next time.
Bonus gripe. Another one for the stat books: Our waiter didn’t write a word of our three orders down. Two entrees showed up without items we ordered and with two or three items we didn’t. “I guess I didn’t hear you” was his excuse. Next time I’m bringing paper and pen.
* It’s a tavern that rises to its regulars’ expectations, which aren’t stratospheric in these parts. It’s frustrating because it wouldn’t take much to make it a stellar casual dining spot. But the food’s almost always across-the-board flat.