Full disclosure: I don't like mushrooms. I realize a lot of people love them, but I am not one of those people and I know many other people that don't like them. It seems like a fairly common aversion.
I try to avoid making substitutions at restaurants, so I generally order items that do not have mushrooms in them. I often find this hard to do at places, so I end up ordering something for lack of mushrooms rather than because the rest of the dish sounds the best to me.
I glanced today at a menu for a restaurant I like. For main courses that contain mushrooms:
-mushroom crusted lamb
-venison chop with truffle creamed spinach (I realize that it is a bit of a stretch to throw truffle oil into the mushroom category, but the ubiquity of truffle oil is an entirely different story, as least for restaurants in my city)
-duck breast with a Butternut-Cherry-Mushroom Hash
-porcini crusted halibut, that has a truffled side and a Portobello vinaigrette
-salmon with shiitakes
-another dish with truffled creamed spinach
-a vegetarian sampling with the spinach and the hash
That leaves me with one dish (beef tenderloin) that comes without mushrooms or truffle oil without substituting.
Feelings towards mushrooms aside: are mushrooms overused on menus? Or is it overusing any non-staple ingredient that often? To people that have worked on menu development: are there any rules of thumb about ingredient use?