Should You Tell Your Server If Your Meal Sucks?

"Was everything all right?"
“Was everything all right?” Photo: Getty Images

Chow today tackles the thorny problem of what we used to call “eatiquette”: namely, what you should say to a server who asks you how everything was. Their answer? “You need only speak up if you want something else (like ketchup or a side plate for a shared dish), or if you want to send the food back. Otherwise, you should keep your opinion to yourself.” With all due respect, this is some of the worst advice we have ever heard. How are chefs supposed to know if you didn’t like something? Maybe this is an East Coast–West Coast thing, but we’ve always let the server know, in mild and agreeable tones, if we have had a lousy meal. Even if the restaurant doesn’t spring into action with apologies and/or discounts, it still gains valuable information it can apply to all other diners. Chow suggests blogging about your experience, but that opens a whole other Pandora’s box. We say just save it for the server — and then tip well.

Table Manners: The Art of Criticism [Chow]