Elizabeth Large's Top 10 Dining Mistakes To Avoid

August 26, 2009|By ELIZABETH LARGE

Should I tell you not to walk in when there's a "help wanted" sign posted in the window? That's probably too obvious.

Here's my list of the Top 10 Mistakes Restaurant Goers Should Avoid, which appeared last week on my blog, Dining@Large (baltimoresun.com/diningatlarge):


Making your reservation at 7 p.m. (like everyone else in Baltimore).


Eating out on Mother's Day. Every other holiday I can think of reasons why you would want to eat out, but there are better ways to honor your mother than taking her out on the busiest restaurant day of the year.


Not asking politely to be moved if you don't like your table because, say, the customer at the next table is wearing heavy perfume or you're seated too near the kitchen door.


Not asking politely if loud music or the air conditioning can be turned down when you're uncomfortable. Sometimes servers can do something about it, sometimes they can't. But most restaurants want to be accommodating to their customers within reason.


Ignoring what a restaurant does best when you order.


Filling up on bread before your expensive dinner has arrived.


Making an enemy of your server by being rude. There are too many ways he or she can get back at you.


Ordering the second least expensive wine on the list so you don't look cheap. Do you think restaurant owners don't know people do this and price their bottles accordingly?


Ordering wine by the glass in a restaurant where wine probably doesn't move quickly.


Ordering dessert unless the place is known for its desserts. By the time it comes, you realize how full you are from dinner. Besides, the price of desserts has risen in inverse proportion as the number of mixed drinks being consumed before dinner has dropped.

Readers talk back

Undertipping is bad form any time -- especially when you enjoy good service -- but when it's a restaurant you plan to visit again, you're short-changing yourself.

Posted by: Michael A. Gray

As a restaurant hostess, might I remind diners to honor your reservations, call if you're going to be late, and please let the restaurant know ahead of time if the number in your party has changed -- especially if it is more than four people.

Tables are reserved depending on the number of guests in the party, so if your group has dropped from 8 to 6, that's important for the restaurant to know before you get there. They could book that larger table and put your group at a smaller table. Restaurants work on very thin margins, so empty seats make a huge difference to the bottom line (no pun intended).

Posted by: CS

not asking for a spoon when the chef has made a great sauce

finishing a mediocre meal when it should really be sent back

not getting up and paying when the wait staff leave you for toast

Posted by: Razor Bar

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