How to order steak in a seafood restaurant

Yelp has a lot of good insights, but there are a few bozos lurking here and there. Among them are people who go to a restaurant that is known for one particular type of cuisine, order something completely different, then write a one-star review because it’s not to their liking.

Consider, for example, the non-seafood items offered by a restaurant that specializes in fresh seafood. Some people just don’t like seafood or are allergic, so it’s reasonable that a seafood restaurant might have a steak, a vegetarian entrée, a chicken dish to accommodate those diners who are out with their friends or family. But it’s not reasonable to expect the same expertise and quality as on the restaurant’s specialty.

To cook steaks, for example, you need a/a grill; b/a cook who knows the grill’s heat zones; c/a cook who knows how to judge a steak’s degree of doneness. Even if you have a/ you’re not likely to get b/ or c/ if steak is ordered half a dozen times a night. Which is why my title is a trick question to which the answer is: don’t.

Another flavor of yahoo is the person who goes into a restaurant specializing in regional ethnic cuisine and demands an Americanized version of the dish. We have this in Ala Shanghai, an excellent regional Chinese place in upstate New York that borders on fine dining. They also have a huge takeout menu that includes the following pork items:
Spare Rib in Wuxi Style; Peking Pork Chop; Salt & Pepper Pork Chop; Tong-Po Pork;
Stewed Pork w. Tofu Knot; Double Cooked Pork; Smoked Pork w. Chili Pepper; Smoked Pork w. Leek; Pork w. Garlic Sauce; Pork w. Bamboo Shoot; Mo-Shu Pork (Serves w. 4 pancakes); Sliced Pork in Spicy Broth; Sliced Pork w. Fungus. What’s missing? Sweet and Sour Pork… and they take plenty of dings for it.

When I dine out I make a point of asking my server what is the kitchen’s strongest dish or, if that doesn’t produce a clear answer, what is the most popular dish. I also ask for opinions on my tentative picks. The other night I was eating in a neighborhood barbecue place and there were two different slaws. Which to order? I’d already told the server I was having potato salad and she said one of the slaws had a similar dressing, so the choice was easy. I like variety, so I ordered the other slaw.

Life is too short to have bad meals.

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