Graphic: Nicole Antonuccio

Dear Salty,

When I am at home I use one fork for my salad and one for my entree. Many places I go do not provide a salad fork and a dinner fork. So they collect my salad bowl and ask me to keep my fork. I really don’t want to use that same fork, is it awful for me to ask for new silverware?

Thanks,

Claude

Hey Claude,

Can I come for dinner at your house sometime? I can go an entire few nights without using silverware at place—cold pizza for the win—so I am impressed by your mealtime sophistication. It’s like one step away from Downton.

To your question: Whether or not servers replace your flatware varies from restaurant to restaurant. I worked at an upscale French bistro where the chef/owner insisted on flatware changes, even if a guest clearly hadn’t touched his bread knife during the appetizer portion. It was just one of the moves to make every course feel very fresh. (We also used the near-forgotten crumb scraper in between courses, très chic.)

I get that some more casual places don’t swap out forks or knives in between courses, but I very much understand your desire not to mix your salad’s poppyseed dressing with your entrée’s tomato-vodka sauce. It’s not at all unreasonable to ask for another fork, provided you do it politely. It shouldn’t take too much time for your server to snag a clean version for you.

Asking politely is always preferable, I think, to “accidentally” knocking your fork to the floor.

Advertisement


Got a question about dining out etiquette? Or are you a server/bartender with a horror story the world needs to hear? Email us: salty@thetakeout.com.

The Salty WaitressSalty Waitress is The Takeout’s advice column from a real-life waitress that will teach you how not to behave like a garbage person while dining out—and maybe in real life.