An appetizer sets the tone for a restaurant meal. Choosing your dishes carefully can prevent a Cactus Blossom from ruining your meal.
Just as there are items to avoid at buffets, pizzerias, and Indian restaurants, there are dishes to skip from the appetizer section at most restaurants.
Steakhouse salads and tartare are among the best starters. Even while some cooks disdain mozzarella sticks at Italian restaurants, there are some good ones.
Some appetizers are awful. Seasonal no-nos, inauthentic dishes, or dishes you might prepare at home better are lousy first impressions. Unseasonal or insincere ones are off-limits, say chefs.
As the chef of a rigorously seasonal restaurant like Chicago's Longman & Eagle, Brian Motyka is particularly peeved by out-of-season produce.
Out-of-season vegetable appetizers are my number one no-go. When it's winter, I avoid Caprese salad and asparagus in hollandaise.
Why order a Caprese salad in fall when you can get Motyka's delicata squash with goat cheese and salsa macha? Local produce tastes finest.
Raw oysters and shrimp are also freshness-dependent. Given how many illnesses these goods cause, it's good advise. Chefs recommend skipping them as appetizers.
JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa's chief chef recommends avoiding pre-shucked oysters. "These oysters are generally kept chilled.
Observe oyster red flags. Local Jones pastry chef at Denver's Halcyon hotel advises against $1 Monday oysters.
Since seafood companies are closed on weekends, this restaurant is selling old fish. Chefs don't like shrimp cocktail.
Yulissa Acosta, an avid seafood lover, agrees. Hearth '61 at Mountain Shadows resort in Paradise Valley, Ariz., serves seafood as an appetizer "lighter.