Always go with the enthusiastic waiter’s recommendations, especially the ones who are honest enough to say “don’t bother with that one.”
Much to my husband’s chagrin, I tend to pepper waiters with lots of questions about the menu, trying to ascertain the true meaning of their word choice and facial expressions. After all, I may only have one shot to eat at the restaurant. I want to get it right.
Case in point, the fried octopus at Asia de Cuba in West Hollywood. I wouldn’t have tried it without the waiter’s prodding, but I’m so thankful I did.
Another memorable dish came from the advice of our gracious waiter at a restaurant overlooking the shore of Positano, Italy. Of course, in that postcard-perfect setting, they could have served beach rocks in my soup and I wouldn’t have complained. Instead, I had my first taste of spaghetti alla puttanesca.
Asking for recommendations is the ultimate icebreaker for learning more about the people and culture of a place. What better way to get to know someone than through a discussion over food, a universal language.
Next time, take the time to ask. You’ll get more out of it than just a better dish.