I really hate when restaurants don’t provide salt on the tables.
After dining at one of the fancier restaurants in town, I was annoyed when my meal tasted under-seasoned and there were no saltshakers on the tables. I searched online for explanations as to why chefs would withhold the salt and how other diners felt about the issue.
Some chefs do believe they season their food perfectly or that their customers could ruin the integrity of their dish by adding more salt. I was surprised to find a thread on Chowhound where even certain diners were bothered by the presence of salt shakers. Some complained about the nerve of those who add salt and/or pepper to dishes before they even taste them.
I was left wondering why on earth anyone should anyone care how a paying customer wants to enjoy their food? So what if a diner, or, even a dinner guest adds salt to a dish before he or she tastes it. I could care less if one of my dinner guests asked for salt or seasoned their food with 50 cracks of black pepper. Are my guests respectful? Are they having a good time? These are the questions with which I’m more concerned.
Some diners and chefs feel it’s fine to only provide salt and pepper upon request, but I think the act of having to ask for salt serves to intimidate diners. It can make customers feel bad for asking for salt out of fear they will insult the restaurant staff, or cause them to second guess their own taste and wonder if they don’t recognize good food. I always provide salt and pepper for guests so they don’t have to feel sheepish about asking for it and consider it part of hospitality.
No salt on the table can feel like, “I dare you to ask for salt.
No cook or chef is perfect and it’s arrogant for anyone to believe he or she is above human error. We are not culinary gods. And don’t make me ask for the salt.