This Chef's Reaction To A Steak Tartare Complaint Has TikTok Divided

The customer is always right ... right? Chef Dominick Purnomo seemed to honor that fact of restaurant life after a customer sent their steak tartare back to the kitchen because it was raw. The chef and owner of dp: An American Brasserie in Albany, New York posted a TikTok video that shows him dumping the plate of tartare into a hot pan with oil, dutifully "fixing" the dish. But at the beginning of the video, underneath text that reads "When they send back the steak tartare because it's raw," Purnomo is shaking his head as if to say, "I do not approve."

Steak tartare, after all, is raw steak. Not everybody knows that, clearly, but would you order something if you didn't know what the words on the menu meant? That was the attitude, anyhow, written into some of the thousands of comments on the chef's viral video. "God forbid my meal comes out how I ordered it," one TikTok user said, his comment dripping with raw sarcasm.

Should a customer have steak tartare explained to them, even if they don't ask?

Some commenters on chef Dominick Purnomo's viral steak tartare TikTok sided with the customer who returned the dish because it was raw. "I guarantee they didn't have a short description on the menu saying it's raw," @welderdude99 commented. TikToker "Welder Dude" is right. The Times Union reported how that night's menu read: "Steak tartare: beef tenderloin, shallots, capers, olive oil, sambal, mustard, Feather Ridge Farm hen egg yolk."

"It would never dawn on me to say on the menu that the steak tartare is raw," Chef Purnomo told the Albany newspaper. "That's the definition." As one TikTok commenter put it, "No different than sending back mashed potatoes because they're mashed." Another commenter noted that sushi restaurants don't announce that their menu items are raw.

The chef also defended the server who did not explain to the customer what they were ordering. "Personally, if my server told me, 'Oh, by the way, you do know the tartare is raw,' I would feel like they were talking down to me," he said.

In other words, chefs and servers in a finer-dining establishment should assume customers are food savvy, unless they speak up and ask a question. To one TikTok commenter at least, all of this sounded a little snobbish. "I'm just wondering why it is called tartare and not just call it as it is, 'raw beef,'" @funnimie said. "They give food fancy names that mislead people."