Omnivore - Annoyance of the week

Specials menus without prices

We dined at Carroll Street Cafe Tuesday night. I enjoyed my fish stew and Wayne swallowed his Kobe burger whole. Both of these were specials and, as usual, no prices appeared on the specials chalk board. I had the same experience at Anis last week.

"How much is that crab cake?"

"Oh, I'm not sure. Let me find out for you. Let's see, I've got it written down somewhere. OK, it's like $17...I think."

What weird logic possesses any restaurant during our Great Recession to make diners ask how much something costs? The obvious hope is that diners will order without asking, which many people find embarrassing. After all, if you have to ask, you can't afford to eat it, right?

Why stop there? Why not remove prices from the regular menu the way some restaurants used to do with "ladies' menus"? Why not ask diners if they want "still water" and then hit them with a charge for bottled water, since nobody specified "tap water"? Oh wait, some restaurants are already doing that.

Honestly, put the damn prices on your specials boards, people.