Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Miss a question? Go here.
In the wacky world of restaurants it seems only fitting that at times, customers make some pretty wacky requests. Naturally, I wondered what those might have been for Valley chefs and restaurateurs. Here are some of their answers.
Jason Alford Chef, Roka Akor
Shellfish allergy, nut allergy, gluten allergy, soy-free, dairy-free, and no red meat -- then they ordered omakase.
Justin Beckett Owner and chef, Beckett's Table
"Can I get the chocolate-dipped bacon s'mores without the bacon?"
Michael Stebner Chef, True Food
We have a raw foodist in Santa Monica that orders the Bison Burger raw.
Eddie Matney Owner and chef, Eddie's House
I was taking apart a fish and cleaning it and somebody asked what the insides were. It was salmon liver and they wanted me to sauté it.
Julie Kossak Owner, The Pink Spot, Z Pizza
We once had a delivery driver go to a house in the Coronado neighborhood and when he arrived, the customer was sunning herself outside in the front yard -- topless. She asked him to bring the food in the house and while her husband was standing there, she grabbed our delivery driver's crotch and invited him to a three-way. He declined and was pretty freaked out.
Christopher Nicosia Chef, Sassi
"Can I just order half a steak and have the other half when I come back next week?"
Shin Toyoda Sushi master at Sushi Roku
Someone asked me to make a sandwich for them behind the sushi bar. We get creative back there, but there are limits!
Eric Flatt Co-owner, Tonto Bar & Grill/Cartwright's Sonoran Ranch House
We had a customer who ordered ahi tuna rare but said that they were allergic to anything red. Uh, can't help you here, ma'am.
Joshua Hebert Owner and chef, Posh
I had someone pay me a lot of money to do a private, in-home dinner complete with lobster deconstruction for his girlfriend. When I arrived and started cooking, it was clear that she was not into it at all -- so I sped things up and got out of there as fast as possible.
Robert Morris General manager and sommelier, Cork Restaurant
Gluten-free crème brûlèe -- a very common question. And the response is that there is no gluten in egg yolks, sugar, vanilla extract or heavy cream.
Chef Brian Feirstein Cask 63
A two-pound lobster served live, sashimi-style. Still moving when it reached the table.
Brian Kingdeski Owner, The Spot
I had a guest who was celebrating his anniversary with his wife and asked for a bottle of Dom. We didn't serve Dom, but I got in my car and went and purchased a bottle for him. Needless to say he was happy! Never say no.
Romeo Taus Owner and chef, Romeo's Cafe
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There is a long and distinguished list of requests that have been politely ignored. Some people believe that the only prerequisite for a Ph.D. in a culinary palate is to have eaten before. Needless to say, I do not get invited for dinner that often.
Meggie Miller Marketing manager, Twin Peaks
I can't say I've ever heard a request qualifying as "outrageous" or even very "demanding." Since we make nearly everything fresh in-house, it's never a big deal to customize an order for a guest.