A small rant about sausage plates in a restaurant

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by chadinclw, Aug 10, 2011.

  1. As in the subject line, this is a small rant.

    We have a "new" upscale bar/que joint in Dunedin. They use a nice Southern Pride cooker and the food doesn't suck. However, they have a "Montreal Plate" or sandwich which is "smoked" corned beef (not pastrami) and tastes good if a bit dry...where they get the "Montreal" moniker I'm not sure....but I digress.

    Last time I was in there I asked about their sausage plate, defined as "Assorted smoked sausages of the moment served with roasted peppers and onions and stone ground mustard sauce". Well, I asked if the sausage "of the moment" was made in-house. It was not. That was a major disappointment. Why feature a sausage plate that is basically Hillshire Farms??

    Anyway, I have been cooking que for a lot of years and try to be "fair" when eating out - but missed opportunities drive me nuts!!

    So, tonight my wife will have their "smoked" trout (pretty tasty actually) and I'll pick something else that doesn't suck. [​IMG]

    As I said, this is just  small rant - not intended as a critique of commercial food as much as missed opportunities. Hell, maybe I'll see if they need a cook!!
  2. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I believe sausage of the moment translates to "what ever scraps we have from making the sandwiches"
  3. Oh, no, not even that. I'ts NOT MADE IN-HOUSE!! I'm sure it's Johnsonville or Hillshire Farm. 

    Like I said, their food doesn't suck - it's not as good as it could be but it's OK.

    It's the missed opportunity that drives me nuts.

    Like another local place with a beautiful brick oven pizza oven -- then a full page of spaghetti with red sauce on the menu. Duh!! Focus people!!
  4. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    it's all about the bottom line....maybe they figure their target diner doesn't know/care they are eating a sausage that's about 45 grams of fat per link. I'm jus' sayin'....
  5. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    That doesn't surprise me at all. nor would it irritate me. I've had wurst samplers at a few German restaurants, as well as sausage at a BBQ place or two. I can't recall any of them being made in house. Sausage making is a time consuming and complex process. Let's say the going rate is $10 for a sausage sampler. If they make it in house, they have to buy the meat and spices, and factor in the labor, equipment costs, electricity etc... That $10 would be eaten up pretty quickly in production cost. Now let's say they can get good sausage from a purveyor for $5 a pound. Figure the sampler is roughly a third of a pound. Their margin goes up significant;y. For the relatively small demand of one restaurant, I can't really see it being a cost effective option to make it in house. If they advertise it as home made, or use some other misleading language then I'd probably be miffed.

    You say it's basically Hillshire farms. Have you had it? How do you know it's not locally produced, really good, authentic sausage?  I don't mean to be combative here, it just seems like you're getting yourself all upset over a bit of an assumption. Give it a try, or ask where they get their sausages, you might be pleasantly surprised.

    As for the Montreal moniker, I believe smoked corned beef is a local favorite up there. I may have read it here on this forum or possibly elsewhere, but there was someone lamenting the scarce availability of their favorite sandwich here in the 'States.

    Lastly, a pizza place serving pasta? Honestly, who ever heard of such a thing?!  Were you implying that they don't serve pizza? If so, that is pretty silly. If they do serve pizza but also feature pasta....well, it IS an Italian restaurant.

    I hope you enjoy your dinner tonight, take some pictures and start a new feature on here,  the R (estaurant) View.
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2011
  6. Oh, my, I was mis-understood. I am a former kitchen manager and line cook so I really do understand.

    I'm just lamenting the missed potential.

    Also, the pizza place closed for "remodeling" and a bit of refocusing...when you have a beautiful brick oven you focus on pizza -- you can and do get red sauce spaghetti anywhere in town -- focus.

    That was my point. I've certainly been in pizza/pasta joints that did both pretty well - but if you are advertising the brick oven pizza - well, red sauce pasta is not the focus.

    That's all I'm sayin'. [​IMG]
  7. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    My comments were all meant in good fun and in no way meant to be snarky. I too worked in restaurants (mostly front of house, bar mgr and shift mgr, though I did turn a lot of line shifts) for a lot of years, and agree it is frustrating to see one missing the mark when the potential to be something pretty good is there. Hopefully your BBQ joint will work out. Good ones are few and far between.

    It's funny, I never really "got into" cooking until after I left the restaurant biz. I guess it was just too much exposure to food at the time.
  8. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I hate having to ask if something is made in house.  I can grill up a bunch of sausage at home and throw it on a piece of bread.  For about 3 bucks.  Why would I pay 10 dollars for something I can pay 3 dollars for.   If I go to a restaurant that makes a big deal about fresh pastry and I find out they buy it from the donut shop down the street should I be upset, darn tooten.

    The menu should say  Sausage sampler featuring "McDuffs sausage" or featuring sausage from "local and national producers"

    I even get bent when I go to a BBQ place and I see BBQ sauce that I can buy at Sam's.  How would you feel if you paid 12 dollars for a pulled pork plate at a BBQ restaurant and when you passed by the garbage can outside you saw empty pulled pork trays from the discount house? 

    I have a customer that runs a restaurant and they make absolutely nothing in house.  It is heat and serve or unpack and lay on a piece of bread.  All the sandwich meat is from Sams, all the hot plates are thrown together with precooked meats and sauces from a supplier.  I don't expect homemade sausage at Ryans 10 dollar buffet, or in house smoked brisket in a chinese restaurant.  But if the product is normally expected to be found in the type of restaurant you are visiting then the food must be prepared and cooked in house. A sandwich shop should make their own sandwiches, a fried seafood restaurant should bread and fry the seafood and a BBQ place selling sausage should let you know if they do not make it in house.   I think that if you do different,you are intentionally misleading your customer.

    Just my 2 cents. 

  9. I understand. I love the kitchen - I left when I was about to stuff an associate manager into the steamer for insulting my food one Sunday morning. He'd sat on his duff all morning and decided "all" my food was bad. My cook and baker were really worried and the dip-stick left the kitchen in a hurry. [​IMG]

    I should have stayed in the business but went "back" to IT. I now have permission from SHMBO to start looking for another cooking job as soon as my middle son's wedding is over, in September!!

    Believe me, food cost is near and dear to my heart. The que joint's food isn't "bad" at all and I'm looking forward to trying something else off the menu tonight.

    Thanks, too,  for the explanation of the "Montreal" plate. It makes sense since we get a lot of Canadian tourist and seasonal snow-birds.
  10. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The rant continues...lol. I'm cooking now at a retirement Villa, corporate owned, with a tight food budget. We try to make as much from scratch as we can, very few pre-made entrees. You can't believe how many still b**** just to vent anger. BUt give them a Johnsonville polish dog & they scarf it up. But, I digress. I did a two year stint with a huge food supplier....no name, but big blue & silver trucks. Turned me off to most restaurant experiences in general. Definitely learned which restaurants not to eat at in my area.
  11. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Yea, my wife makes me put a touch of Kraft BBQ sauce in my homemade bbq sauce just because that is the taste she is expecting.
  12. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    I believe us as smoker's expect to much from restaurants, I ran a q joint for a few years many moons ago. I cannot find that quality anywhere that's why I make my own. Now if these places can make a living and stay alive, God Bless Them. That's the American Way. [​IMG]
  13. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    This thread brings up a very good point & I think it's the main reason that some restaurants seem to come & go quickly, while others stay in the same location for many years.

    The good one's have good food, the others don't.

    We don't go out to eat very often, because we can make tastier food ourselves for a lot less $.

    The only reason we go out to eat is to be with friends and socialize, it's certainly not for the food.
  14. squirrel

    squirrel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I totally get your point on this. It's the missed opportunity. Yea I also get that making sausage is time consuming. I would pay more money for a nice "artisanal" plate of sausage and cheese that were made inhouse. It's the experience of eating one of a kind food. I don't eat out very often, but if and when I do I search out places that are going to give me that experience. I don't eat out just to get my belly full. I can do that with a box of cereal and some cold milk.
  15. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I think you are talking about a place like this..https://www.cowgirlkitchen.com/market  

    Pretty much awesome food and nice folks..  you can see the beach from the front porch.

    We go there after the beach...

  16. rdknb

    rdknb Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Interesting Rant. Do you ask if they grow the veggies in the salad?  For me and just for me, if it tastes good and I like the place, well then I am happy camper. As far as pasta in a pizza joint or pizza in a pasta joint, if it is good then who cares??  When looking at food prices remember when you cook it at home you do not have rent (about 20 to 25 dollars per sq ft), wages, unemployment ins, workman's comp etc.  In each and every plate these are reflected.  Yes I like many of my dishes to those of many retail places, but I know I am cooking to my tastes and not those of many.

    Many a good Line Cook or even Chef opened up just to fail as they had no idea how to buy , price and run the business.  There is so much more then just the cooking.  But if it tastes good and priced right then me I am happy
  17. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Nobody really expects you to grow your own vegetables, unless you advertise "Fresh from our organic farms"  and that is what compels you to go to the restaurant.

    I don't mind asking  "when did you smoke the brisket?"  or "is this sausage made in house?"  Maybe we can't assume anything when we go out to eat.  Maybe we have to ask, do you grind your own coffee when eating at a 4 star restaurant.  Maybe we have to ask if the fish is frozen when we order.

    If I am paying for a cheap meal I expect to get a cheap meal.  If I am paying for quality food I expect to get and pay for the extra care and attention to it's preparation.  Just tell me what I am eating and I can make the decision.

    End of my rant but the wife and I argue about this all the time when we go out to eat.  I ask alot of questions before I order and when asked if I enjoyed the meal I tell them honestly what I think. 

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