CHOOSING what to order in a restaurant can be difficult, but according to one chef, there are some classic dishes diners should avoid at all costs.
#1 Eggs with Hollandaise sauce
If you always order poached eggs with smoked salmon, asparagus or spinach, we have some bad news for you.
Chef Anthony Bourdain has said that brunch is the time when chefs can get away with serving the leftover bits and pieces from Friday and Saturday night dinner services.
A staple of brunch is classic eggs benedict or eggs royale - but Bourdain says the sauce has to be kept at a certain temperature for it to be safe to eat.
'Bacteria love hollandaise,' he revealed in his book, Kitchen Confidential. 'And nobody I know has ever made hollandaise to order.'
#2 Unless you can smell the salty air, bypass oysters
Since most fish markets don't deliver on weekends, the don't-eat-fish-on-Monday debate continues to rage on between freshness-loving chefs. Many avoid it like the plague, but others are comfortable ordering fish, if the restaurant has a coastal location or is known for seafood. When it comes to oysters, however, all bets are off, at least according to Cordon Bleu-trained chef, Mark Nichols. Nichols, who owns the high-end catering service JC's Catering, won't go near raw oysters if they were harvested more than 100 miles away from the restaurant serving them. "If handled and stored incorrectly, raw oysters can kill you," he explains. Not exactly the evening you were looking for when you made that reservation.
#3 Fish On a Monday
Most restaurants order in their fish on a Thursday - meaning that by Monday, it's about four or five days old.
Fish declines in quality rapidly after it's been caught, and needs to be eaten as fresh as possible.
Chef Anthony Bourdain said in his book: 'I never order fish on Monday, unless I'm eating at a four-star restaurant where I know they are buying their fish directly from the source.'
#4 Wagyu Beef
This famed cut of beef is revered for its melt in the mouth texture.
Most chefs serve it in small portions and few would consider mincing the meat - so if you see a Wagyu beef burger on the menu, think twice.
The restaurant may have told a cheeky fib in order to increase the price.
#5 Well Done Beef
Most chefs prefer to cook a steak medium rare because cooking well - done can cause the meat to get tougher.
But as well as well-done meat being chewy some chefs will set aside the tougher cuts and save them for customers who choice a well-cooked option, assuming that, as their meat will already be tough, they won’t notice.
#6 Pass on the soup du jour.
Unless you’re Lloyd Christmas, you might want to pass on the soup du jour, according to celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. Instead, Ramsay advises diners to ask what yesterday’s soup du jour was.
If it’s the same, chances are you’re eating yesterday’s soup instead of a fresh batch.
#7 Eating sushi? Skip the wasabi.
Sushi chefs actually put exactly the right amount of wasabi in sushi as they prepare it. Adding extra wasabi is considered an insult to the chef, because adding too much overpowers the actual taste of sushi. What’s more, in the U.S., the wasabi that’s served on the side with sushi is actually a mixture of horseradish, spicy mustard, and green food coloring.
In addition to skipping the wasabi, Chef John Um of Sushisamba Las Vegas says sushi diners should avoid rubbing their chopsticks together once you break them apart. It insults the restaurant, suggesting their chopstick quality is subpar. If you do see a splinter, just ask for another pair.
#8 Say no to chicken
If you're the type who bastes your roasting chicken every 15 minutes, you probably won't enjoy eating it out in restaurants. "I will order almost anything when I go out—but never chicken because it tends to be overcooked at most restaurants," confides Ryan Ososky, executive chef of the modern American cuisine restaurant The Church Key, in West Hollywood. Ososky is not alone in his no-to-chicken stance. According to the Food Network's website, chefs avoid ordering chicken in restaurants for many reasons, including overinflated price and lack of originality. Chicken is one of many foods chefs prefer cooked at home. Pasta and comfort foods such as grilled cheese also top the list.
#9 Water with lemon
Order the water—but you may want to hold the citrus. In a study published in the Journal of Environmental Health, researchers tested 76 lemons from 21 restaurants and found that 70% of them were contaminated with bacteria. Ick. The Family Health Team at the Cleveland Clinic recommends that unless you actually see the bartender prepare your lemon wedge safely—meaning, she’s wearing gloves and using tongs—stick to plain H2O. Save the lemon water trend for home, when you can be sure your lemons are properly washed.
#10 Bread with olive oil
If you can dip responsibly, feel free to ignore this tip. But most of us are mopping up olive oil with hunks of bread, polishing off hundreds of calories before the meal even starts, says Joan Salge Blake, RD, a clinical associate professor at Boston University and the author of the textbook Nutrition & You. Because olive oil is good for your health, you may think of it as a “free” food, she points out. However, tablespoon for tablespoon, it contains more calories than butter. “And you tend to go easier on butter,” she says.
#11 Medium-rare burger
When ground beef isn’t cooked to the proper temperature (160 degrees F) nasty bacteria may remain (think: “fecal contamination”). (That's why it's on our list of the 14 most dangerous summer foods.) An undercooked burger is riskier than an undercooked steak, according to a recent Consumer Reports study, because harmful microbes tend to be mixed throughout ground beef—whereas with whole cuts of meat, the microbes are more likely to stay on the surface and die off when exposed to heat. Ask for your burger cooked to at least medium.
#12 Rum (or vodka) and diet soda
Pairing booze and a diet drink may actually enhance the health effects of alcohol, a small 2015 study from Northern Kentucky University found. Subjects who drank that combination had a 25% higher breath alcohol concentration than when they drank cocktails with a non-diet mixer. The researchers point out that the lower calorie count isn’t worth it. In addition to the obvious risks, eating while buzzed makes it harder to resist temptations (like the breadbasket).
#13 The value meal
It can be tempting to order off the value menu at a fast food restaurant to get the most bang for your buck. But one double cheeseburger, fries, and drink could add up to 1,100 calories and nearly 50 grams of fat. And chowing down may have immediate consequences. After healthy people ate a high-fat meal, their blood pressure was higher when faced with a stressor compared to when they ate a low-fat one, found research from the Journal of Nutrition.