Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Sans Sense

Frank Bruni takes note of the disappearing institution of menus without prices. Some commenters assert that the practice of giving women sans prix menus is a European one, but neither of the extremely pricey restaurants I patronized in Paris followed this practice.

Even if I was on a date at my companion's invitation, I would be put out to receive a menu without prices; who's to say that I might not want to return to the restaurant in the future for purposes of business or pleasure? And how am I to determine whether the dining experience is worth revisiting without having some idea of its value? In some situations, I can understand why a host or hostess might wish to request sans-prix menus: a client dinner, perhaps, might call for it. But for a restaurant to presume to know who at the table should know the cost of their meals is both rude and counterproductive to recruitment of future business.

I agree, furthermore, that the practice of reciting daily specials without reference to price is obnoxious. It also results, at least in my case, in a greatly reduced likelihood of ordering said specials.

UPDATE: More menu weirdness.
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