I am an experienced home chef who is just newly entering the world of higher-end dining. My experience is narrow, but I am interested in tasting menus, because they seem like a nice way to get exposed to unfamiliar foods. I had a sublime tasting menu at Bastide in LA before it closed and a HORRIBLE experience at Masa's in San Francisco which featured "crab louie" which tasted like it came off a supermarket salad bar and a gimmicky "truffled" dish which had one single truffle slice with the texture and flavor of rubber. Truly embarrassing. Suffice it to say that I am inexperienced in this realm, but not easily impressed or intimidated by fancy gourmet ingredients which in reality are used to poor effect or not truly of good quality.
Call me irrational, but my intake of animal products does not include veal or foie-gras. Again, the fact that the latter is a fancy gourmet item does not impress me, and I really prefer not to be served it. Can I make this preference known at a snooty restaurant when I am ordering the tasting menu? If so, do I get a substitute? Do I just have to put up with it?
Please help me, so when I work my way up to REAL high-end places I will be prepared.