Most people love dining out, but do you always know what you’re ordering? Learn to avoid things like unsafe or unhealthy menu choices and steep price markups.
“Most restaurants are on the up and up,” says Andrew Knowlton. “But just like when you buy a car or TV, you need to be an informed consumer.”
Here are the 5 secrets you need to know before sitting down at a restaurant table:
Secret #1: Not-So Specials
Chefs do put legitimate items on the specials menu, such as new dishes they want to test out or highly seasonal ingredients like soft shell crabs. Other times, a restaurant orders too much product, so it becomes a “special.” And sometimes, chefs use specials to get rid of old, spoiling foods.
- Be wary of the 3 S’s: spaghetti, soup and sauce. Chowders, stews or pasta dishes can mask not-so-fresh ingredients.
- Watch out for expensive foods like steak buried in sauce; this can be a trick to minimize less-than-fresh flavor. Unusual combinations, like chicken thighs marinara on spaghetti, can also be a red flag.
- Exercise caution when it comes to shellfish specials. “If you see mussels on the menu and it’s also a special, that’s a no, because they’re trying to push those mussels,” says Knowlton.