What To Know Before Ordering Charcuterie At A Restaurant

Those who have steered clear of making charcuterie boards at home might still love to order them at restaurants. However, the boards, which consist of an array of meats as well as other nibbles like cheese, olives, fruit, spreads, or other items, can be quite pricey without good reason. While some restaurants offer great value for the selection of meats provided, others simply do not, according to Washington City Paper.

Before you order charcuterie at a restaurant, it is very important to know what meats are included and where they come from. Though some restaurants clearly state this information on the menu, many do not. And that's a major issue for customers because it doesn't reveal the value of the item — no matter the price. Washington City Paper equates it to ordering wine without knowing any information about it, which can obviously lead to a very good or a very bad bottle.

This is what you should look for at restaurants

Chris Johnson, a co-founder of charcuterie company Cured DC, told Washington City Paper that he is always shocked when he orders charcuterie at restaurants. "I don't think I've ordered a board that's under $25, and they're all kind of light in terms of meat," he said "There's a lot of accoutrements, but not a huge amount of actual charcuterie ... A lot of places are buying it from other places. The mark-up is pretty high." Despite the slim servings, the price really should only be justified by sourcing the meats from high-quality locations (via Open Table).

So, if the menu does not list what is included with the charcuterie board, ask the waiter to explain what the charcuterie selection entails and where it is sourced. The menu might change regularly, which can also explain why the selection might not be listed on the menu.

Another thing to look for before ordering charcuterie, according to Open Table, is whether it is made in house. When the charcuterie meat selection, even in part, is made at the restaurant, customers can count on getting a good value on a fresh menu item. It is still, however, a good idea to ask the waiter where the restaurant sources its charcuterie meat from.