Twice in the past three weeks -- first at Dakota's and yesterday at Palomino -- a colleague and I ordered our lunch entrees, after which our waiters offhandedly asked, "And would you like the house salad or a caesar salad with that?"
At Dakota's, figuring it was part of the lunch "deal," I asked for the caesar and my colleague asked for the house salad. We ate a leisurely lunch, and when the bill arrived, we were surprised that our $15 entrees now each had another $9 tacked on for our salads. It wasn't enough to make me complain to the manager, but it did stick in my craw.
So yesterday, when I finished ordering my $25(!!!) Copper River line-caught salmon (which, John, our waiter, assured me was "the favorite salmon in the U.S., Japan and Russia,) John asked, "And would you like the house salad or a caesar salad with that?" I said, "Does it come with the entree?" John replied, "No, but it's really good." When I asked, "How much is it?" John replied, "$9." I passed, as did my colleague.
So I guess my question is this: Now that people are drinking only water or ice tea at lunch, and passing up the "delicious artichoke parmesan" appetizer John also offered us, is an excessively expensive and surreptitiously ordered salad becoming the way for restaurants to boost margins?
Or should I just stay away from places like Dakota's and Palomino?