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I Bought a Rack of Lamb - Did I Get Ripped Off?


Al Dente
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I'm not sure whether or not I got burned at a fairly expensive restaurant the other night. This joint was fine-dining, albeit suburban strip mall fine-dining, with white tablecloths, nice china and stemware, and prices to match. I ordered rack of lamb as an entree and received a miniscule 1/2 rack, or four ribs, for $28. It was not very well "Frenched" as well over 1/2 of it was fat (excluding the bones). Once I cut away the fat and bone from each rib, I was left with a tiny medallion of meat-- about 2 bites.

In the past, I've been served half racks that were a good deal larger and felt satisfied with what I received. I've also had full racks with the kind of meat content I received last night. The menu said "rack of lamb", not "1/2 rack of fat-laden lamb fetus". I know this is a rather subjective question, but do you think I've been had?

I might have spoken up about it, but the entire meal pretty much sucked sheep's taint, so I felt it would be a lost cause to complain.

[someone should, of course, add the obligatory "rack" double entendre in their reply]

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Al Dente said:
I know this is a rather subjective question, but do you think I've been had?

Yes, and I want to know where this place is that can't butcher meat correctly and doesn't have the sense to buy it already frenched.

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[someone should, of course, add the obligatory "rack" double entendre in their reply]

It ain't gonna be me. ;)

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I'm not sure whether or not I got burned at a fairly expensive restaurant the other night. This joint was fine-dining, albeit suburban strip mall fine-dining, with white tablecloths, nice china and stemware, and prices to match. I ordered rack of lamb as an entree and received a miniscule 1/2 rack, or four ribs, for $28. It was not very well "Frenched" as well over 1/2 of it was fat (excluding the bones). Once I cut away the fat and bone from each rib, I was left with a tiny medallion of meat-- about 2 bites.

In the past, I've been served half racks that were a good deal larger and felt satisfied with what I received. I've also had full racks with the kind of meat content I received last night. The menu said "rack of lamb", not "1/2 rack of fat-laden lamb fetus". I know this is a rather subjective question, but do you think I've been had?

I might have spoken up about it, but the entire meal pretty much sucked sheep's taint, so I felt it would be a lost cause to complain.

[someone should, of course, add the obligatory "rack" double entendre in their reply]

Is lamb fetus and sheep's taint considered to be a "Turf and turf" or just a typical "Duo"?

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Why the hesitancy in naming names, Al? Or would you feel better if some of us stumble into this place to get equally suckered, er I mean served. ;) Perhaps the menu had a typo and should have read "lack of lamb."

Name to be named soon in the appropriate restaurant's existing thread. I honestly wasn't sure whether I was being blatantly ripped off, or whether I should just expect small portions in some restaurants. By starting this thread (in addition to providing a space for similar experiences), I was trying to get a feel for how badly I should lambast the place, as it were.

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[someone should, of course, add the obligatory "rack" double entendre in their reply]

When we added a rack of lamb to the menu, I described it to a table as "a full rack, absolutely amazing" and one of the women piped up as she cupped her rather impressive breasts and said "Thanks you! I just didn't have the guts to say that they were juicy and lots of fun to nibble on!

And you were had. A rack is a rack. 4 chops is half a rack at best.

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Same thing when you order 12 wings, only to find that they are 12 wing pieces, not the entire 3 part wing. Then again at the Hitching Post the 1/2 of chicken is more like a whole chicken with three legs. Maybe the world does even out over time.

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True enough. But if you were served 4 ribs that looked something like this would you feel ripped off? What I had was more like this...

Be it a Ferrari or a Fiat Punto, a half a car ain't going to get you to the end of your drive. If the menu says Rack of Lamb, it should be a rack. So in either case, I would feel ripped off. Happier with the Lobel's I presume, but still feeling like I was duped.

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I'm going to play devil's advocate here and say that, to me, ordering "rack of lamb" would be similar to ordering "leg of lamb," "beef tenderloin," "brisket," or even "tuna belly" - it speaks to me more about what cut of meat it is, rather than whether or not I'm going to get the whole thing. I'm not saying Al Dente didn't get hosed on the portion size; just that I don't see this, in and of itself, as any high culinary crime.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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I'm going to play devil's advocate here and say that, to me, ordering "rack of lamb" would be similar to ordering "leg of lamb," "beef tenderloin," "brisket," or even "tuna belly" - it speaks to me more about what cut of meat it is, rather than whether or not I'm going to get the whole thing. I'm not saying Al Dente didn't get hosed on the portion size; just that I don't see this, in and of itself, as any high culinary crime.

Cheers,

Rocks.

So to take your argument to an extreme, if they gave you one chop from the rack, they are just using the term generically? I think that with a rack, to use it for a lesser amount that the full rack is misleading when there are precise terms available to describe what you are getting.

The other examples you offer, and to add things like Salmon, Pig etc, are never sold whole of if they are, they are typically listed as "Whole Pig" or "Whole or Side of Salmon", seem to be of a different nature since again, these cuts are never, in my experience, sold whole in a restaurant. If I go to a restaurant and order Leg of Lamb I get slice(s) and if I go to a butcher counter and order a leg I get the whole thing.

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DonRocks said:
I'm going to play devil's advocate here and say that, to me, ordering "rack of lamb" would be similar to ordering "leg of lamb," "beef tenderloin," "brisket," or even "tuna belly" - it speaks to me more about what cut of meat it is, rather than whether or not I'm going to get the whole thing. I'm not saying Al Dente didn't get hosed on the portion size; just that I don't see this, in and of itself, as any high culinary crime.

You're right, "rack" refers to the cut, and not the portion size, although what Mike was served is usually (and less misleadingly) called "lamb chops." I'd be more pissed about the crappy prep job.

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You're right, "rack" refers to the cut, and not the portion size, although what Mike was served is usually (and less misleadingly) called "lamb chops." I'd be more pissed about the crappy prep job.

The rack has two halfs, one has the fat cap and one doesn't. Some restaurants buy the part that doesn't.

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On 7/3/2007 at 1:56 PM, Al Dente said:

I'm not sure whether or not I got burned at a fairly expensive restaurant the other night. This joint was fine-dining, albeit suburban strip mall fine-dining, with white tablecloths, nice china and stemware, and prices to match. I ordered rack of lamb as an entree and received a miniscule 1/2 rack, or four ribs, for $28. It was not very well "Frenched" as well over 1/2 of it was fat (excluding the bones). Once I cut away the fat and bone from each rib, I was left with a tiny medallion of meat-- about 2 bites.

In the past, I've been served half racks that were a good deal larger and felt satisfied with what I received. I've also had full racks with the kind of meat content I received last night. The menu said "rack of lamb", not "1/2 rack of fat-laden lamb fetus". I know this is a rather subjective question, but do you think I've been had?

I might have spoken up about it, but the entire meal pretty much sucked sheep's taint, so I felt it would be a lost cause to complain.

[someone should, of course, add the obligatory "rack" double entendre in their reply]

Mike, are you ever going to tell us where this was?

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