In his nice report on Djanjo and Pasion, Evan wrote (about Pasion): "A side gripe about Pasion! and too many other places: if the list of specials is going to be so long and detailed that the waitron has to read it to remember everything even though presenting it umpteen times in an evening, why should diners be subjected to a memory test? It would be easy enough to print up a list of the evenings specials.)"
The main reason is PRICE! Nearly 90% of the time, items on the recited "specials" are priced significantly higher than the normal menu for similar items. This is 95% true when the prices are not recited. The ultimate one is the Veal Chop at the Saloon where - even Craig Leban was shocked enough to report that the price of this dish - which nearly no one asks price of... it sounds and is delicious.. is, I thinmk $40.00! I've heard too many sad tales of diners who were shocked when bill came.
We dined last week at Porcini -the cute BYOB on Sansom St. Last time I ordered the chicken dish off the menu and it was $13.50 but my dining partner ordered the "special chicken". It had, I think spinach added to same recipe as mine. We did not ask price. Bill came and it was $17.95. So last week there was a "special" ziti with cream sauce and a "special Veal tenders" dish. I asked price on the Veal ant was told $24.00 so we didn't order it. My friend ordered the meatless pasta which was the special - and did not ask price. Bill came. My chicken was $13.50. The pasta was $17.95!!!
Ever notice how many waitrons will cringe whewn the customer asks them to recite the price as they list the "specials"? The really caring restaurants don't play games and print the specials, WITH PRICES, on a piece of paper. Xerox copies are cheap!
My personal gripe too!