How many times have you ordered a dish and expected one item and received something totally different? Wait, I’m not talking about what it tastes like, but how it looks. Yes, we eat first with our eyes. Then we may or may not taste.
Maybe when we order a restaurant meal we have an expectation of all the sensory clues working together. That is after all how we prepare a meal when we cook at home. Sure, we anticipate the outcome, but we also consider the steps we need to follow in order to get there. The same process should work when dining out. We read a description of an item and often we ask the server for additional details or we add vital information such as inquiring whether a particular dish could be prepared without fish sauce. Or, for example, do you do a vegetarian Pad Thai? We need to keep the restaurant in the loop of any special food requests so that when an item arrives, the surprise value does not translate into major disappointment.
Case in point: When you order a carefully detailed menu item, and you receive an entree with a heavy brown sauce atop it, your eyes go into a dizzying downward spiral. Displeasure hits first. Even when someone tries to explain away a food, it might be a conversation that is lost on you as the visual clues have gone into high gear. Eating out is about more than just price or price point. Everything has to jell; food needs to be fairly priced, prepared well, and served properly. It almost doesn’t matter what we order. It’s what we are presented.
Not only five-star or top-tier restaurants needs to adhere to the eye principle, but everyone preparing a meal must pass the eye-appealing test. What we order matters little in comparison to what we receive! We first eat with our eyes and then we taste.