The 7 Worst Deals on Any Menu
Just say no to truffle burgers
Hey, we're all for having a night out and treating yourself, but there's a fine line between getting that fabulous meal you deserve and getting blatantly ripped off. Here, seven things on the menu to skip.
The Daily Special
Sometimes called the "chef's special." Many restaurants choose their specials for that day based on whatever surplus (ahem, past-their-prime) ingredients they have on hand—then jack up the price accordingly.
An Iceberg Lettuce Salad
It's mostly made of water, with almost zero nutritional value, and is insanely marked up. For better value, go with spinach, arugula or perhaps a mesclun mix.
A Meat loaf
It's never going to taste as good as your mom’s, most notably because restaurant versions are often made with more filler than actual meat.
The Second Cheapest Bottle of Wine
Restaurants actually bank on customers ordering this middle-of-the-road option and give it the highest markup overall. (Sometimes as much as 400 percent!) So either drink from the cheapest bottle—or upgrade your glass another level.
Unless you know for a fact that the chef uses prime ingredients, skip the ones boasting special features like truffle oil and caviar (or a squid ink bun). What may sound gourmet is often just a rip-off—especially in the case of truffle oil, as most commercial ones are made by mixing regular ol' olive oil with truffle-flavored chemicals.
A Tasting Menu or All-You-Can-Eat Dish
You know the whole "eyes being bigger than your stomach" thing? Unless you are absolutely ravenous and capable of really forking it in, skip these so-called deals as you'll end up wasting money and dealing with indigestion.
Unless the place makes it on-site, a bowl of ice cream is rarely worth the $5.95—even if it is "drizzled with chocolate sauce" and "topped with cookie crumble." You could buy an entire quart of ice cream for that price and mash up a cookie yourself.