Restaurant week should be a fun time. I should be excited for the menu debuts. I should be in mortal danger from all the overeating that I'm going to do. But no, in my short time in Orange County, restaurant week has only produced a few cheaper date nights and a resounding 'meh'. Though there are a few menus I am genuinely impressed with, you guys could really up your game.
My ex-housemate said it best when we had to postpone a double date at one of the restaurant week restaurants: “Don't worry, I know a waitress there and she said it's just their normal stuff, so we're not missing anything by rescheduling.”
I should have missed something.
5. Three Course Dinner Menus
If I look at your dinner menu and there's only three courses, do you know what I'm going to think?
“Salad, Entrée, Dessert. Boring, Simple, Obvious. Way, Too, Easy.”
Anyone can put together a three course meal. No matter how fancy your Caesar salad or how well prepared your steak, you're still menu planning yourself into a box. Restaurant week is about creativity, chefs should want to showcase their ideas: give me an amuse-bouche or another appetizer course. It doesn't need to be complicated, just enough to make me go 'Oh!'.
4. Pick and Choose Menus
Three course menus bore me. Pick and choose menus? Those actually make me sad.
Soul crushingly sad.
A menu inviting me to 'pick anything from our list of appetizers for your first course' in a friendly font is no friend of mine. I don't want to repeat myself, but I will. Please be creative. Try something new. If I wanted dinner for cheaper, I'd just go to happy hour.
3. Lack of Drink Pairings
It doesn't matter if your restaurant doesn't have a master sommelier, drink pairings are always appreciated. This goes double for any place that has more than five kinds of beer on tap.
Have some pride in your food, you know you don't want anyone drinking a diet coke while eating at your restaurant, give them a suggestion instead.
2. Flourless Chocolate Cake. Molten Chocolate Cake. Chocolate Soufflé.
They're good. I get it. They should not take up half the dessert menu.
Be excited guys. Treat Restaurant Week like the event it deserves to be. There's never been better ingredients, better drinks, better people to eat your food or better ways for people to talk about your food. Look forward to it, hype up your staff, try something fun, if only for a week.
It'll be worth it.