Two courses of the same ingredient. Weird?

Had an odd dining experience last night. Walked into an empty restaurant, told the two guys in chef wear behind the counter I was really hungry, the one in charge said ‘let me put a meal together for you’. I was never offered or saw a menu, just gave a couple of generalizations that I like spicy food and don’t eat much beef or lamb and was overdue for some vegetables. “Whatever is delicious”, I said. I was tired and hungry so just rolled with it, figured a sampler plate of various specialties would be forthcoming.

The first dish was jerk chicken wings. Three full wings, tender and savory. I was excited for the main. But then the main showed up and it was chicken curry with rice and lentils. Different flavor profile but chicken after chicken? And no veg except some parsley in the rice and a few peas in the curry? Who eats like that?

Would you expect or want two courses of the same thing? Especially chicken?

(To be honest, I did order two courses with prosciutto a few weeks ago, asparagus and pizza, but felt silly once I realized and anyway prosciutto is better than chicken.)

I don’t see a big problem here. I guess it depends what kind of restaurant you were at. You did say no beef and lamb, and he did avoid those. You also said you like spicy foods, so he made two dishes with some heat in them.

Many chefs pride themselves using meat from the same animal throughout a three meal courses. Therefore, unless you specific your limitation, it is not automatically clear that they need to avoid the same ingredient.

Generally speaking, I wouldnt want two courses of the same thing.

On the other hand, I’ve never walked into a restaurant and agreed with the chef that s/he will just serve me whatever is thought to be delicious. On an “empty” night, you were their ideal customer. More fool you, I reckon

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Never order a Peking Duck meal–you’ll get three courses of duck: the skin with hoisin sauce and scallions rolled in a pancake, duck meat with vegetables, and then a soup of the bones.

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I was too tired to think straight. I wish I’d asked for a menu!

I like duck and wouldn’t mind that if I planned on it and knew what I was in for.

It was African/Caribbean. The guy in charge (American) was not the actual chef who made the food. He was going on and on about how they had been prepping all night for a festival and had so much food in house, that’s why I was surprised to receive so little variety. It wasn’t nose to tail cooking, just heating up what was made earlier. But yeah maybe those were his idea of their two best dishes.

Plus, a skin course and a meat course and a broth course might be redundant in flavor but I think that’s much less so as far as the eating experience of meat with one set of spices then more of the same meat with slightly different spices.

Nah. They were his idea oif what needed to be got rid of quickest on an empty night


Yeah, I was thinking something like that, this is quiet common for Asian fish course as well. Fish meat can be eaten raw (like sashimi), stir fry, deep fry, stew, steamed and the fish head and bone for soup.

Thanks. I wonder if he wasn’t thinking about meat variety. Jerk chicken and jerk pork are most traditional and popular, and jerk chicken is definitely more popular in US than jerk pork. So maybe he just didn’t have jerk pork. As for curry, I suppose he could have given you Jamaican curry shrimp as oppose curry chicken.

Chicken is a popular meat in Jamaican cuisine, so maybe they prep-ed a lot of chicken dishes for the previous customers.

A little strange but not “crazy strange”. More so because of your caveats though.

I would agree that no veggies would have been a surprise to me given you said you were over due.

But you did rule out beef/lamb and who knows he may have done you a favor with not serving you “fish” if their fish wasn’t particularly good that night. It wasn’t like you called a few days ahead for him to plan a menu, this was a spur of the moment “give me what’s good” kind of request. So I’ll cut them slack and say you got what was the freshest/best that night. Again, I would have expected them to have some fresh veg so omitting that seems strange.

It wasn’t actually my request, he offered to put together a meal for me instead of offering a menu. A lot of unnecessary song and dance, but if they had been cooking all night they were probably even more delirious than I was. Food was good enough, just not balanced as a meal.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold

Market stall in Lima
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