‘Freshen’ the menu? Ugh.

Wayne MitchellWe had just started looking at the menus at our favorite Oxford restaurant when our son Joe said he couldn’t find the jambalaya, his favorite there.

I started looking for it. It was gone, except on a little list of daily specials. It was a Friday special; this was Saturday.

Then I noticed that the grouper I like to order was missing, too. It didn’t even make the daily-specials list.

I asked the waiter about them and he said the restaurant changes its menu regularly.
Jenny told us to get over it and order something else.

Of course, that was easy for her to say. The crab cakes that she likes were right there in the middle of the list, just where they have always been.

She says they are the best she has ever eaten, and it’s a reason we make the drive to Oxford a couple of times a year to go out to dinner.

(The other is that about once a year, we will get a gift card to the restaurant for Christmas or a birthday or something.)

I guess restaurants do need to change out menu items once in a while to keep regular patrons coming back. Or, at least that is what I hear on those restaurant shows on the Food Network.

Robert Irvine, the somewhat tiresome British chef, is always swooping into some small town and making over a restaurant in two days on “Restaurant Impossible.”

Along the way, he usually throws a bunch of items off the menu and replaces them with his choices. The discards, though, are usually store-bought, frozen, or microwaved.

He tells the owners of these restaurants that even if the food is good, they can’t always stick with the tried-and-true. People like change! (Do they? They haven’t met me.)

Well, that sort of thing might work for restaurants that are failing and have no place to go but up.
But somehow I can’t imagine walking into George Coleman’s place one day and finding that the chicken is still there, but my favorite bacon cheeseburger has gone missing because George decided to tinker with the menu.

Or Moises Lemus deciding to “freshen” up his menu by dumping the made-at-your-table guacamole at El Agave for something new.

Anyway, Joe and I found other entrees to order Saturday night. Joe had some sort of shrimp and ravioli concoction and I opted for a steak.

And our meals were good. Maybe not quite as good as the items that had gone missing, but we did follow Jenny’s advice and got over it.

And our experience won’t keep us from having another night out at the restaurant in a few months when we get another gift card.

Maybe next time we’ll go on a Friday, Joe says.

During grouper season, I added.

Well, we almost got over it.

T. Wayne Mitchell, publisher of the Gazette, can be reached by phone at 662-534-6321 or by email at wayne.mitchell@journalinc.com.

About Wayne Mitchell

Publisher of the New Albany Gazette