Words: Shamim de Brún
Images: The Menu & Unsplash
Today is Valentine’s Day. And to celebrate, I am calling for a moratorium on Valentine’s day Prix Fixe Menus. It is the embodiment of the worst aspects of restaurant culture, now is the time to put an end to this madness!
A Prix Fixe menu is a pre-set menu for a fixed price. “Prix” price, “fixe” fixed. It’s always overpriced and often subpar food. It’s a cash grab for restaurants, who know that people will pay top euro for a “romantic” evening on a day they are forced by societal expectations to go out.
But there is nothing romantic about being stuck with a limited menu and overpriced food.
Do you know what I would pay top euro for? To be able to choose what I want to eat off a menu that has been designed and curated by the restaurant or the chef to reflect them.
“They’re imposing, limiting and always too expensive, even the ones where the food is decent. There is always a surcharge for the best dish and a built-in pink couples in-lurve tax.”
Prix Fixe menus are forced. They make people with dietary requirements relegated to the one thing slotted in there to ‘accommodate’ them. It turns them into fuss-tomers. Fussy customers who have to ask for all sorts of special consignments that the chef will berate the waiter for.
Prix Fixe menus are never true representations of any restaurant’s cuisine. They’re imposing, limiting and inconsistent, so you can never get a read on them. On top of that, they’re always too expensive, even the ones where the food is decent. There is always a surcharge for the steak and a built-in pink couples in-lurve tax.
The stress of finding a restaurant for Valentine’s Day alone is enough to put grey hairs on your chest. Coupling that with weeding out the weak Prix Fixe menu only adds to the burden. Lest we forget the long wait times and crowded restaurants that come with the territory. The last thing anyone wants on a romantic evening is to be surrounded by hangry couples waiting for their overpriced, underwhelming meals.
“It’s a sneaky way to charge customers more for less without them even realising it.”
I get the logic and the practicality. When the restaurant is packed, and the kitchen is running in high gear, ain’t nobody got time for individual orders. You have less food waste, the prep time is easier, and you get people in and out faster. Maybe you get discounts on bulk buying snails or whatever. But things have gone too far.
It’s not about the understandable rational prepping for one of the busiest restaurant days since Christmas. Lazy prix-fixers are a go-to solution for busy days. Or they would be if they weren’t so shite. But they are.
Plus, it’s a sneaky way to charge customers more for less without them even realising it. It is no longer because they ‘want to give you a better experience’. Prix Fixes are late-stage capitalism coming for you through mediocre restaurants looking to make more money with less effort. Bon appétit, sucker!
“Ditch the Prix Fixe menu! Murder it with your bare hands.”
So, what’s the solution? Okay, so maybe don’t slaughter every prix fixe menu on the planet. There are certainly noteworthy ones, but there’s something to be said about a restaurant standing by its regular menu. Like why is valentines day any worse than a busy Saturday when every sitting is booked up? Besides, it’s nothing but two tops, maybe fours. That’s easier in many respects in the kitchen and on the floor than in the chaotic mess of groups, singles, duos, fivers, and parties of six or more that usually pour in on match day. And you don’t force them to adhere to a fixer of a menu.
In conclusion, f$&% Prix Fixe Menus, Happy Valentines…..
Elsewhere on CHAR: Pistachios are Dominating 2023