Dear Salty: We went out with friends for dinner last week. I ordered a dish of short ribs that was delicious, super rich, and cost $28. It took me a long time to go through it, and even when everyone else at the table was clearly done, there was still a decent chunk of short rib left on my plate.
The server was clearing the table, glanced at me and said: “Do you want to finish this last piece?” I didn’t, as I was stuffed, and all my dinner companions also refused the piece, saying they were full as well. It seemed awful to waste such an expensive dish, so we took more time than was necessary. In the end I begrudgingly stuffed the last piece in my mouth.
In the future, is there protocol for who should offer to take the last piece of a dish so the server can clear the table? Would it be okay to pass the plate to someone who was already done with their meal so they could finish my last piece?
Thanks for writing in but hooooo boy what a spectacularly dumb question. Eat the last piece if you want, or don’t. Just don’t leave your server hovering there for hours while you decide.
Got a question about dining out etiquette? Or just a general question about life we can help you with? Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org