Friday, February 19, 2010


Dear Restaurant Price Setter,

When I dine out for dinner I like that there is a side salad included with my meal. Eating a small salad before my meal helps me not over eat on your over-sized portions of food. Here's what I don't like though:

  • raw tomatoes
  • cheddar cheese (I'm allergic to sharp cheddar you see and most restaurant servers never know if it's sharp or mild on the salad.)
  • iceberg lettuce

So with all these dislikes I'm sure you'd understand that I'd prefer to eat a Caesar salad. I prefer romaine lettuce to iceberg any day and Caesar dressing doesn't give me heartburn like vinaigrettes do. I still get some croutons (yum!) and there's even some Parmesan cheese grated on top. It's a win.

The problem though is that you see the need to charge me $1.00 more to switch out my standard garden salad with a Caesar salad. I understand that historically Caesar salads were made table-side by the chef himself (ahem, or herself) and customers were paying a little extra for the flair of a chef show. I get that a little more work may have been involved historically to serve customers Caesar salad.

Please tell me how Caesar salads are more work or more money now? Do you hand mix the salad dressing anymore? Not where I'm eating. Do you prepare my salad table-side? Not where I'm eating. Do you hand chop the lettuce or make your own croutons? Not. where. I'm. eating.

From where I sit at the table it seems to me that a garden salad is now more work than a Caesar. There are more ingredients - lettuce, cheese, croutons, shredded carrots and tomatoes. Sometimes you even cut the tomatoes in to wedges. Unless, of course, the tomatoes come pre-sliced in bags like the lettuce, carrots and cheese. A Caesar is romaine lettuce (which is not more expensive than iceberg at the grocery store, let's not blow smoke in mirrors, ok?), croutons and fresh grated cheese (you know, in an inexpensive, quick and easy grater that has a little crank handle).

Also, salad dressing. When I stand in the grocery store and peruse the bottled selection I have noticed a trend within the different brands. They're the same price. Yes you might pay more for one label over another, for organic or not organic within the label and fat-free vs lard-ass. If you compare like kind to like kind though, they're the same price.

So why then, Dear Restaurant Price Setter, is the cost of a Caesar salad $1.00 more than a garden salad? Why are you still fixated on an antiquated practice that is no longer par for the course? I am most curious Restaurant Price Setter.

I so sincerely appreciate your re-consideration of this additional $1.00 fee.

Kindest and fondest regards,
Messponential Mama