Dispelling 6 Myths About Fine Dining

I LOVE going to nice restaurants.

Before my wife and I had kids, going to nice restaurants was our thing. When my wife was getting her doctorate, there was one restaurant in town that became our spot. We went there every week for our Friday (and sometimes Saturday) date nights.

Going out to nice restaurants is the space in which I first started experimenting with classic menswear.

Now, I know that going out to really nice restaurants isn’t for everyone. For plenty of guys, the local diner is just fine, thank you very much!

And I will not argue with that for a second! I adore small, inexpensive, local diners. Give me a cup of coffee and a plate of eggs and hash and I am happy as a clam!

Fine dining gets a bit of a bad rap among men, especially. They think it’s pretentious and overly expensive. They think of fine dining as doilies and delicate china or snooty sommeliers and miniscule portions. Fine dining seems almost womanly to some! Many men feel uncomfortable at a fancy restaurant, especially if they spend their days in a manual profession or if they live in a rural area.

They feel like they just don’t belong. They might feel like they don’t WANT to belong because it feels inauthentic in some way.

I get it if you aren’t thrilled with the idea of going out to a fancy restaurant.

However, there is one person who I know for a fact DOES like the idea of going out to a fancy restaurant.

Your wife.

There are many archetypes of masculinity. You have the warrior. The lumberjack. The farmer. The athlete. The hunter. More broadly, you have the provider and the protector.

I am sure your wife is passionately attracted to all the masculine elements that make up the specific combination of you. She loves to see you working outside or exercising or fixing something or crushing it at work or socializing at a party.

But stop to think for a second about why every woman since 1962 has drooled over Sean Connery in a dinner suit. It’s not just how he looks, although that certainly helps.

The ability of a man to skillfully navigate a nice dinner or fancy event is extremely attractive to women. It shows confidence. It shows worldliness. It shows that you have experience in all areas of culture and are comfortable wherever you are. When you are at ease, you put others at ease. That means people want to be around you.

That is why I encourage you, if you are able, to give fine dining a try. Your wife will love it!

That being said, I would like to dispel some myths that I feel keep many men from really being open minded about fine dining.

Myth #1 – It’s unnecessarily expensive.

A lot of men feel that the high expense of nice restaurants isn’t warranted. No one can really put a price tag on value. Yes, the cost will be higher than you’re used to. But in the vast majority of cases, the cost compared to a regular restaurant is justified.

The ingredients the chef is using are more expensive. The dishes are more complicated. The servers and bartenders have a higher level of expertise. The alcohol served is of higher quality. The ambiance is different. The restaurant has to pay for those higher paychecks and pricier ingredients.

So, yes, the cost will be fairly high. But you really do get what you pay for. That brings me to…

Myth #2 – There’s no bang for your buck.

People who aren’t familiar with fine dining think that, sure, they’ll pay more for better quality ingredients and better service… but they don’t feel like they really need all of that. Is the higher expense really worth it?

Let me reassure you that MANY nice restaurants give all sorts of extras. Usually, restaurants will put a basket or plate of bread with oil or butter on the table for you while you look over the menu. Less commonly, but certainly not unusual, a restaurant might include a salad with your entrée.

Remember that nice place my wife and I went to all the time many years ago? If you ordered a bottle of wine, they would give you a small plate of cheese and chocolate to go with it.

Oh, if you’re dressed well and especially friendly with the staff, don’t be surprised if they offer you a complimentary appetizer or after-dinner drink.

If you’re overly concerned with cost, know that there are always lower-cost menu options, like pasta dishes, that are just as delicious as anything else on the menu. Trust me, the restaurant doesn’t want there to be ANYTHING on the menu that isn’t up to their standard so even if you order the pasta primavera, it’s going to be amazing.

Also, if you know you and your wife are going to have at least a few glasses of wine between you, order a bottle instead of by-the-glass. Don’t be afraid to order the cheapest one. Literally no one cares because everyone knows that the restaurant marks up the prices on wine so much. A $40 bottle of wine on the menu is probably $15 (at most) at the liquor store. However, each glass might be $14. So just buy the bottle and you’ll be saving money if both of you have two glasses over the course of dinner.

Are you a beer drinker? Order a double IPA with a higher alcohol content if you want to stretch your money. Also, for the cost, a cocktail is a better bet. A beer might be $8 or $10, while a cocktail (which is at least a few ounces of hard liquor) will be maybe $12 or $15.

Also, don’t be bashful about packaging up some of the food and having an excellent meal for the next day! I used to eat my leftover steak the next morning with eggs and coffee, so I essentially got two meals out of one!

What I’m saying here is, you have a lot of options to make it so that you aren’t going nuts cost-wise.

Myth #3 – The portions are too small.

This one drives me nuts! This one always comes from people who don’t actually have any experience with fine dining.

Let me tell you… I am six feet tall and at my heaviest (when I was weight-lifting) was about 220 pounds. I’m not a small guy. I have NEVER left a nice restaurant hungry.

The last thing a restaurant wants is for their patrons to leave hungry. Because then those people will go on social media or leave bad reviews on Yelp and the restaurant will get a bad reputation.

If a portion looks small at first glance, it’s only because the dish is so rich that a normal person wouldn’t be able to eat more than that!

The chef knows exactly how much food to put on the plate. If they put a small amount of food, it’s because that’s how much should be there given the dish being served. Trust the chef. He or she is a high-level pro who knows what they are doing!

When my wife and I were in Paris, we ate at a restaurant that put truffles in everything (even the drinks). My goodness, was it decadent! My dinner was a tiny little bowl of pasta. Even though the quantity was small, there was NO WAY I would have been able to eat more than what was given to me. It was just too heavy. The portion I was given was perfect for what I was eating.

I promise you that you won’t be hungry after dining at a nice restaurant.

Myth #4 – The service is snooty or rude.

Totally false. The servers are just regular people like you. If they are rude to you, it’s probably because you were rude to them first!

At a nice restaurant, the servers are usually even MORE attentive and polite given the usual clientele. I have never encountered a rude server at a nice place.

Myth #5 – The food doesn’t taste good (or I won’t be able to find anything I like to eat).

Again, comments like these are from people who haven’t actually ever been to a fine dining establishment.

Will the food be different? Maybe. Will it be completely different from what you are used to? Maybe.

But to think that EVERYTHING on the menu will taste bad or that you won’t be able to find ANTYHING you’ll like is just a childish way of thinking.

If someone is so immature that they only like Kraft mac & cheese and chicken nuggets then they should definitely not go out to a nice restaurant. But if someone possesses even a modicum of maturity, then there will definitely be SOMETHING for them on the menu.

The items on the menu will be the BEST versions of whatever that item is. Do you like lasagna? Well the lasagna you see on the menu will probably be the best version you’ve ever had.

So, don’t be afraid to expand your gastronomic horizons for a few hours. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Myth #6 – Too quiet. Can’t have a good time.

Many men think that nice restaurants are for small, quiet women speaking in hushed voices while being careful not to clink their cup and saucer too loudly.

They think that a big, boisterous man has to dull down his personality in order to “fit in” with the ambiance of the restaurant.

Now, while it’s certainly uncouth to be an unnecessarily loud boor anywhere you go, a nice restaurant is usually hopping with animated conversation and rollicking laughter. That’s because everyone is having a great time!

Now that you’re on board with trying a nice restaurant, here are some tips to ensure you have a good time.

First, make sure you dress well. You knew that one was coming! But it’s true. If you’re dressed well, you’re more likely to get a good table. You’re more likely to get served quickly at the bar. You’re more likely to get free stuff. You’re more likely to have a chat with the owner (who can then give you free stuff). You are also improving the atmosphere of the establishment on the whole and that helps everyone have a good time.

Second, make sure you smile and are nice to everyone. Most importantly, TIP WELL! Be overly generous with your tipping. Servers have a hard job. If you’re going out to a nice restaurant, you’re going to be spending a good chunk of change. Don’t cheap out on the tip when the bill comes. That’s just sucky.

Trust me, if a restaurant recognizes you as an individual who is well-mannered, well-dressed, and tips generously, you will be treated like a king!

So, make your wife happy and take her out to a nice restaurant once in a while. I promise, you’ll have a good time!

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