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Separate Sides - a long rant

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Separate Sides - a long rant

julesrules | Feb 28, 2005 11:48 AM

I'm sick of this separate sides trend. I'd rather have a small amount of two or three interesting starch/veg on my plate than one or two large plates of the same thing. Typically I'm out with my husband, but the quantities seem better designed for 3-4 people. It's also disappointing when an item turns out not too be that great, or doesn't go that well with the main I've ordered. Frankly, I'm happy to let the chef decide what sides will go best with my main. And I expect my main to be the main event (duh), so I don't need a huge quantity of any one side. Talking about a nice dinner here after all, not a cheap Indian or Chinese meal where the idea is to fill up on rice.

Last time we went out for dinner, we had planned to order sides, but forgot when the waitress came by, and she made a noise & basically stood there waiting for us to order them (nothing was said because we did then remember our intention, but I was left with the impression that it was "expected"). Turned out they weren't really necessary because my plate (horse tartare) had baby spinach salad, cornichons, olives, marinated carrots... of course I ate the tartare on bread toasts, and I'd already some bread when we arrived and again with our appetizer, a terrine. Maybe it's just the vestiges of my low-carb days but after all the bread, I did not need any potato. My husband would've been happy with a little potato on the side of his chop & steak - he didn't need a huge, double-baked, goat-cheese-topped potato. The other side we got was roasted winter veg, okay seasonal veg are very limited this time of year, but did I need a side with carrot when there was carrot already included on my plate?
So, we didn't even finish half of our sides, we were both stuffed, and frankly I would've rather have had room for dessert.

Perhaps we didn't choose our sides wisely, but choices were limited, and it did seem it was expected of us, taking up a table on Valentine's (the menu was the same as their regular menu). Perhaps this restaurant is just not doing a great job with their side selection, or conversely, trying too hard by putting all those extras with my main. But the experience kind of proved my point that I'd rather let the chef select appropriate sides in reasonable amounts for my main.

What do other hounds think of separate sides? Can it work well?

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