What’s going on here? It’s not OK to charge $16 for three minuscule meatballs even if they are made of sustainably raised elk and locally foraged fungi. Tapas and Dim Sum? You get a pass. You’re a well-oiled machine honed over centuries. But it seems that the all-appetizer phenomenon’s raison d’être is to charge an ungodly amount for mere morsels. And sometimes (most times), I’m hungry and I don’t want to share. There are many eateries that elevate small plates to an art form—bravo to them! But to everyone else, please hop on another (and preferably larger) bandwagon.
Mason jar cups
I get the whole reduce-reuse-recycle business but having to sip my over-priced cocktail in a vessel meant for grandma’s apricot jelly is all kinds of wrong. I doubt this is what Scottish farmer John Landis Mason had in mind when he patented his food preservation container in 1858. Here’s wishing that this trend ends now so that I never have to drink from a pickle jar when a regular glass will suffice.
Reclaimed wood, exposed light bulbs, chalkboards and plastic moulded Eames chairs. It’s hip, cool, edgy and groovy and it’s been copycatted to nauseating extremes. Labouring to read dodgy calligraphy off of a smeared chalkboard menu is not hip. Having to rest my tuckus on a backbreaking alibi for a chair is not cool. Being bathed in the blinding glow of an uncovered light fixture is not edgy. Eating off a barn door to feign a mod rustic ambiance is not groovy. As for the next trend in restaurant design, I’m hoping for daring AND functional. This bistro-chic decor just makes me weary.
Wooden cutting boards as plates
When did it become acceptable to serve my meal on a bacteria-laced cutting board? Did plates go out of fashion? Wooden cutting boards cannot be sanitized in the dishwasher. Do I trust that these makeshift plates are being scrubbed free of their offending microbes? Call me a germophobe, but I do not. I once was served a slice of pie à la mode on a slate and had to watch helplessly as my ice-cream puddled and streamed off the edge like the River Kwai. A plate or a bowl would have sufficed and I would not think the restaurateur any less avant-garde.
“Would you like sparkling or flat water?”
I mean, what a way to shame you into buying overpriced club soda. You feel like an unwashed cheapskate if you opt for flat. And flat sounds so unappealing. How about simply serving tap water, and if a patron wants to order sparkling, they will. Or better yet, don’t offer water at all unless it’s asked for and ship the water you save to California so they can grow more almonds.*
I am not adverse to sharing. I’m the youngest of three and have had to share plenty. But sometimes (most of the time) I prefer the intimacy of intimates. Please don’t shoehorn me into an oversized backless communal picnic table where I’m forced to make idle chit-chat with strangers about how great my meal looks and whether I think they should order the beef Carpaccio. I don’t care and I want my own table. Please.
Pricey gourmet hamburgers
A hamburger should cost $5—not $15, $20 or even $100. I don’t care if it contains organic grass-fed, antibiotic-free beef and is tarted up with foie gras, black truffles and cave-aged cheddar while being enveloped in gluten-free gold-dusted buns. It’s douchey and completely unnecessary. A hamburger is one of life’s simple pleasures. Why must it be transformed into a costly bougie monstrosity?
I long for the good old days when we didn’t know what went on behind the curtain. Back then, there was an air of mystery and surprise. Cut to present day in this new era of behind-the-scenes transparency where every detail needs to be known and everyone needs to be gawked at. Personally, I don’t want to see how my food is cooked and I’d rather not be witness to any kitchen dramedies. But most of all, I have a disdain for exiting a restaurant with my clothes reeking of pan-seared this or wood-fired oven that. Erect a wall in front of the kitchen and let me live in wonderment.
What are some of your least favourite restaurant trends? Leave a comment below.