Do you ever get tired of the poor quality and high prices of most restaurants?
I certainly do. The main choice seems to be between chain restaurants serving large amounts of the worst factory foods, or higher-end restaurants serving tiny portions of somewhat better food. The taste is often mediocre at best, and if you are used to eating real food, your stomach will often rebel against what you have put into it. And the money you spent on this expensive meal could have bought you a large amount of excellent grassfed meat and real food, since restaurant prices can be so high.
I run into these problems in supposedly high-quality restaurants with great reviews and reputations, as well as the more pedestrian places. Even the smaller ethnic restaurants have similar problems. Most of the time, I count myself lucky if I do not get an upset stomach after eating at a restaurant. Just about all of the time, I go home hungry because the food lacks the nutrients my body has become used to when eating real food.
Enough is enough. Instead of accepting the current miserable situation, we need real restaurants serving real food!
When I was a child and a teenager, many restaurants were excellent. They had to be. This was a time when most families had good home cooks, and most people just would not go to a restaurant unless the food was better than at home. This set a very high standard for taste and quality. Also, there were no GMOs, and much of the food was far more real than it is now.
We now live in a time where most people do not know how to cook. Packaged factory foods form a huge part of SAD (Standard American Diet). Most people have been brainwashed into thinking all food is the same. This lack of competition has allowed restaurants to get away with mediocre food, terrible ingredients, and huge prices.
We should no longer accept mediocrity or worse. A meal at a restaurant should taste wonderful, use high-quality real food, be cooked and served under sanitary conditions, and leave you feeling satisfied after eating it. Nothing less is acceptable.
I have nine suggestions toward reaching this goal.
1. Serve real food only.
This is crucial. Even restaurants that boast of the quality of their ingredients often use factory ingredients to save money. They often buy from restaurant supply companies that supply the cheapest factory food. Food should be organic or the equivalent, preferably local. One of the few restaurants that does it right is Chez Panisse, in Berkeley, which buys almost all of its foods from quality local farms and ranches. This is a good standard.
2. Drop the factory meat and serve only grassfed and grass-finished meat.
This seems like a very radical suggestion, and it is. But the rewards of implementing it are immense. Grassfed and grass-finished meat is far superior in nutrition, much more satisfying to the appetite, and is perhaps the oldest food of humankind. It tastes much better than factory meat, when properly cooked. I have made this suggestion in a number of places, and the answer is always along the lines that grassfed meat is “tough.” No, it is not tough. Properly cooked grassfed meat is very tender. The chefs and cooks just need to learn how to cook it.
3. Serve only wild fish.
Most restaurants serve only farmed fish, which are the nautical equivalent of factory meat. Farmed fish are fed a totally unnatural diet, and are far less nourishing than wild fish. Wild fish taste much better.
4. Stop using modern vegetable oils, and use only traditional fats in cooking.
Almost all restaurants use modern vegetable oils. The favorite modern oils are soy and canola, as they are also the cheapest. These modern oils, which were never used prior to the twentieth century, have a terrible overbalance of omega-6 fatty acids, and are far inferior in nutritional value to traditional fats such as butter, lard, ghee, beef tallow, coconut oil, pure extra virgin olive oil, etc.
5. Serve a full plate of nourishing food, and fill up the empty spaces.
Few things annoy me more than ordering an expensive entrée and getting a tiny serving, with plenty of empty space on the plate. When I was a child, you could not even see the bottom of the plate until you had eaten something. Now, tiny portions of expensive entrées are “plated,” which is a fancy term for increasing profits by shortchanging people on food while leaving large areas of the plate empty. This results in people going home hungry, or buying appetizers on equally empty plates to try to satisfy their appetites. While this may increase profits, it is not fair to the customer, in my opinion. While restaurants seem to love the “deck-of-playing-cards”-size meat servings pushed by the government, they still charge huge prices for these tiny portions.
6. Throw away the microwave.
Many restaurants reheat a frozen entrée in the microwave, and serve it as “fresh.” Not only are there serious concerns about what microwaving does to food, but this practice is detrimental to both nutrition and taste. Freshly cooked food tastes much better.
7. Keep it clean.
Many restaurants are downright filthy. Many restaurant refrigerators are not nearly cold enough. There is no excuse for this. Every kitchen, serving area, food storage area, dish, and utensil should be clean. No exceptions. Every refrigerator should be at least forty degrees, or colder. People often get sick from the filth in restaurants and their food, and this can always be avoided.
8. Cook it great, every time!
Restaurant cooks and chefs are supposed to be professionals, who cook for a living. Every single dish they turn out should taste great, every single time.
I have eaten in many restaurants where a dish is good one time, and terrible the next. Many dishes are poorly cooked and mediocre. This can ruin a restaurant’s reputation. Good ingredients, properly cooked, taste great. It is that simple.
9. Stop using chemicals and flavor enhancers.
No restaurant should use MSG or other chemicals to artificially enhance the flavor of their food. Not only can these chemical additives be harmful, they mask the taste of poorly cooked food, and deceive the public as to the quality of the meal.
Many in the restaurant industry will claim that these suggestions are too expensive. As recently as the 1980s, many restaurants had similar standards (except for grassfed meat). Restaurants have a great ability to buy food wholesale, and to negotiate prices, especially when they are buying from individual farms and ranches. But more to the point is that restaurants are already very expensive, and I see no need to spend money on poor quality restaurant food.
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.