Five Things That Restaurants Do Wrong During Restaurant Week

Categories: Five Great...
Flickr user nathancolquhoun

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
Flickr user T. Carrigan
Pretty? Yes. Interesting? Ehhh
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
Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
I could eat this literally any day

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.

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I always thought the whole point of Restaurant Week was to try out different types of cuisine that the listed restaurants had to offer.  I mean sure you want to be impressed, but how many of their customers are actually aware of it being Restaurant Week?-- they're not going to break out the fine china, truffle oils, and rare meats for the whole week during their regular hours.

If anything Restaurant Week should require places to have special hours for people to reserve to sample whatever they can dish out for the highest quality meals or at least a nice array of things to sample what the restaurant is really about. 

I agree that it doesn't have to be the ho hum 3-course setup, but it's not completely horrible...there's only so many ways you can set up a meal (e.g. tapas, family style, etc.).  It's traditional and I wouldn't go ahead and assume the worst...besides, you already know prix fixe menus aren't going to give you a huge selection anyway.  If you really wanted to enjoy the experience there, you would have splurged and just ordered from the regular menu. 

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

You'd hate eating in France, then, where three courses is normal and where even the Asian restaurants have adapted to the French need for entrée, plat, dessert.

Something I'd add to the list: thinking we are all idiots and serving 20 cents' worth of bread smeared with 10 cents' worth of tomato as one of the "courses" of your $40 three-course dinner.

I personally wish more places would adopt the French practice of le café gourmand, three miniature desserts and a cup of espresso for about the same price as a normal dessert.


All good points. Frankly I never eat a 3 course meal, no way I'll have enough room for dessert. Offer an option of a glass of wine/beer for a substitution for app or dessert.


I think Y'all should quit yer bitchin or there wont be a restaurant week to enjoy! 


Though I'm pretty sure that there portions are, at best, half the size of ours. 

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