The Real Reason You Should Never Order The Special At A Seafood Restaurant

There are plenty of dirty secrets when it comes to the restaurant industry. Don't order your meat well done, for example, because certain chefs may be tempted to grab the worst cut they have, and proceed to burn it to a crisp, with the diner none the wiser.

Or, when it comes to seafood, there's the sage advice from Anthony Bourdain not to order fish on a Monday because depending on where you go, there's a decent chance it was part of a seafood order for the weekend that wasn't eaten on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. It goes without saying that fish is better fresh, and four days is well past the point of a fresh filet.

Given the potentially-dreadful effects of ordering something "off" at a seafood restaurant, it pays to educate yourself about the best ways to avoid ordering anything that should be tossed rather than pawned off on an unsuspecting customer, and the special may fall into that category.

The reason chefs run seafood specials

Gordon Ramsay said that, "Specials are there to disappear throughout the evening" (via Modern Restaurant Management). What he says is true, generally. Chefs typically run specials to get rid of certain products. Executive Chef Silvia Barban, who has been featured on Top Chef, backs up Ramsay (via Bravo). "Specials are tricky in restaurants," she said. "It could be the most fresh and delicious special, but in some restaurants, specials are the way to clean up the fridge" (via Insider).

The chef can be trying to get rid of certain ingredients for a number of reasons. With some restaurants and chefs, this is a perfectly innocent action. The special might simply be something that the chef ordered too much of, and there's nothing wrong with it. A chef could be forward-thinking, and realize that if they don't go through a particular amount of seafood, it will go bad soon.

However, some more unscrupulous chefs might try to offer a special once an ingredient that they had too much of has already passed its prime. So, while some seafood specials might be completely fine, do you really want to take the risk?