This bit of food allergy dining etiquette is my new favorite thing.
Very often I order a dish saying I want it, “plain.” And then that dish comes distinctly NOT plain i.e. sauced, dressed, with non-ordered and completely contaminated fries. Sigh. (Here's a rant about that very thing.)
I always wonder what went wrong?
How did plain not mean plain?
Executive Chef Cliff Saladin at the Sheraton Tarrytown explained that from his perspective and in his experience, very often servers will interpret “plain” to mean what THEY think it means not what YOU think it means.
What to do?
Chef Cliff suggests saying “Only”.
For example, “I’d like a burger with lettuce tomato and onion only.”
I tried it that night and everything arrived just as it should have and as I requested: a grilled chicken breast with polenta and some tomato sauce on the side. Only.
Here's a picture:
This is my new favorite tip. I can’t wait to try it out at more places.
If you try it, let me know if it works for you.