Ask the Critics: Can I Take Leftover Food From Another Table Once the Party Has Departed?
beefaficionado/blogspot.com The luscious Wagyu flat-iron steak at WD-50
Here's the second installment of our new feature Ask the Critics. (Find the first installment here.) If you have a question for Sarah DiGregorio or Robert Sietsema, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Seth G. writes--
My girlfriend and I are having dinner at WD-50, and there's a rather uncomfortable drama going on at the table next to us -- a couple in the throes of a breakup, it seems.
Their entrees arrive and the man simply sits there silent and reserved, staring at the floor, and not touching his food, a beautiful Wagyu flat-iron with coffee gnocchi and coconut sauce, one of my favorite plates that Wylie has ever produced. The woman eats her entree, calls for the check, pays, and then they get up and leave. But the man's entree is literally untouched. His fork was right where they put it to begin with. His appetite was gone, I guess, given the situation.
My question: At that moment - they're gone, food's paid for -- that Wagyu flat-iron is a great dish, and neither of us had had it that night for our entrees -- could we have reached over and snagged it? Swap one of our now-empty entree plates with it and act like nothing happened? Or should we wait for the waiter to come clear the table and say, "Hey, he didn't even touch that, we won't let it go to waste." -- or would it be weird to even ask that? It seems like we'd come off a bit grabby by asking.
As we're kind of regulars at WD and didn't want to risk a faux-pas, we didn't do any of the above, or say anything implying we'd eat it -- we just noted to the waiter that it hadn't been touched, and what a shame, so if anyone in the kitchen wanted it we could vouch it was cootie-free.
But could we have? Just curious. Or is this more of a "Dear Abby" question?
Next: Robert Sietsema's response