Monday, April 22, 2013

What Separates a Good Restaurant from a Great One?

Fiesta Grill is amazing, and it
meets all of our specifications.
One of our favorite hobbies is going out to eat, and in our time sampling various restaurants all over the world, we've determined that there are some standards that restaurants must live up to in order to be considered great rather than just good. While some of these might be considered universal, some are purely based on personal preference... but if there are any restaurant owners out there looking to cater to the Cornwells' tastes, they'll need to keep these in mind.

1. If you ask the waiters or waitresses about accommodating your dietary needs, they should be somewhat knowledgeable. "I'm vegan... I'm vegetarian... I'm gluten-free... I'm allergic to peanuts..." As long as it isn't some completely off-the-wall diet need that only 0.00000000000001% of the world requires, your server should either know what suggestions to make, or know who they can ask to find out.

2. If you order horchata at a Mexican restaurant, they should have it. I used to think horchata was pretty good, but I preferred sweet tea. Then I decided, "Hey, I can get sweet tea anywhere I want in the south, but I can only get horchata in Mexican restaurants." Ever since then, I've attempted to order it every time I've been to a Mexican restaurant... and some places have disappointed me. Needless to say, I don't often return to restaurants that disappoint me.

3. There should be enough food in a main course to fill me up. If I just paid $15 or more for a meal and I'm still hungry when I finish, something is terribly wrong. I shouldn't have to order an appetizer or dessert to feel full. Places that offer free chips & salsa or salad & bread before the meal are the best. Meal sizes don't matter quite as much when I can keep munching on chips after the main course is gone.

4. Know the difference between your cheeses. Lauren asked a waitress the other day what kind of cheese they used in what she was about to order, and the waitress stammered out something like, "Oh, uh, it's just, uh, just regular cheese." I think she probably meant American... maybe. Note: This was not a waitress on her first day (or week, or month) of work. I've actually had her as a waitress before... I just don't ask as many questions about my food as Lauren does! :-)

5. Just like there should be vegetarian options, there should also be meatitarian options. The only vegetables I like are starches (corn, beans, potatoes, etc.), so it is important to me that restaurants have options that won't require me to dig through all the green junk to find the good stuff underneath.

P.S. Please note that Lauren was a waitress, so even when we aren't satisfied, we don't take it out on the servers. We just show our approval by returning at a future date... or not.

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