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Monday, February 14, 2011

What's Your Test?

After my post yesterday on Penne alla Puttanesca, my friend and reader Wende emailed me.  Wende said that Puttanesca is the dish by which she judges Italian restaurants.  She said that if the restaurant passes the Puttanesca test and can balance the flavors just right, she will be back.  If not, that visit was her one and only to that restaurant.

This got me to thinking.  We all have our own litmus test for whether we return to a restaurant or not.  For me, it's the bread.  I think the bread that a restaurant serves sets the tone for the whole meal.  If it's an Italian restaurant then the bread basket offerings should be Italian.  If it's French, then the bread should be French. The styrofoam baguette doesn't cut it with me.  The bread has to enhance the whole dining experience.  If not, I'm not too enthusiastic about going back.  It's all in the details.

My friend Mona says that her litmus test has more to do with service.  For her, the game changer is if the wait staff clears one diner's plate while their partner is still eating.  I have to say, I agree.  No one wants to feel like they're eating alone!

So, what's your litmus test for a restaurant?  What do you look for when you're eating out and what turns you off?  In the comments section below, let me know.  Or email me by clicking on the contact me button.  Whatever.  I want to know.  I'll share your comments with our readers if you don't mind.  This could be fun.

Restaurants beware!

1 comment:

  1. If they offer spirits, I order an Absolut vodka martini - up. If it's made perfect - they care about quality ingredients & detail. If it's made poorly or with cheap vodka, I know the same lack of care is given the food. Also: Everything is clean, the staff is friendly & glad I'm there, and the food is as good as the recipe could be and not pretentious. It may sound like a lot but I'm tired of spending my money at restaurants where the restauratour is clueless.
    Enjoying your articles. Diane