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Sending back food when you just don't like an ingredient. Is it good restaurant etiquette?

Thank you for the guidance. My friend and I are still at ethical loggerheads as we watch your replies come in. In spite of the overwhelming sentiment against sending the coconut laden curry back, he is unconvinced. He claims that I should have mentioned two key facts in my original post. First, that the coconut was not merely coconut flakes but coconut MILK, apparently, a stronger iteration of coconut, making the mention of it in the menu essential. Second, he asserts that the dish in question was not part of a separate Southern Indian section on the menu. Any additional thoughts would be much appreciated.

Jan 02, 2010
AaMo in Not About Food

Sending back food when you just don't like an ingredient. Is it good restaurant etiquette?

Thanks for the well-reasoned opinion. By the way, my friend wants everyone to know that it wasn't just coconut, but coconut "milk" which is apparently a more serious omission.
PS: I did eat his dish and gave him mine to avoid sending it back. I'd still love more opinions.

Dec 31, 2009
AaMo in Not About Food

Sending back food when you just don't like an ingredient. Is it good restaurant etiquette?

I recently went to an Indian restaurant with a friend. The friend ordered chicken chettinad. When it arrived, the friend smelled coconut in it. The waiter confirmed that, indeed, it had coconut in it (as apparently do many southern Indian dishes). The friend decided to send it back because he reviles coconut.

The friend explained that the menu had not mentioned coconut and argued that it is a "key ingredient" that should have been included in the description. I felt it was wrong to send it back. I argued that if there is a particular ingredient that he simply can't eat, he should always ask whether the dish contains that ingredient, much as one with a peanut allergy would ask, for instance, about the presence of peanuts.

Please, we need your help to resolve this. Was he right in sending it back?

Dec 31, 2009
AaMo in Not About Food