Dept. of Wha...?

Menu Cleverness

Sometimes it works, sometimes it…doesn’t

By Kathryn Robinson May 26, 2010

Menu photos! Why didn’t I think of that?

Just back from lunch at Delicatus where I hoovered a sandwich called, inexplicably, the Mudd Honey.

Creatively-spelled reference to the seminal Seattle grunge band, Mudhoney? Evocation of the muddy-looking goo—horseradish aioli meets barbecue sauce, a not-exactly-inevitable flavor curiosity that was nevertheless oddly alright—oozing from between the flaps of roast beef, turkey, slab bacon, and white cheddar?

Not at all sure…but Delicatus—the only good thing to happen to Pioneer Square in years—is fond of the cutesy nicknamed menu item, as evidenced by sandwiches named the B.L.F-ingT., Fists of Fury, and The Activist. (The last, which includes roasted eggplant, squash, and herbed goat cheese, includes the explanatory caveat: “May feel the urge to tie yourself to a tree.”)

Indeed, most of Delicatus’ sammies feature names that, upon consideration, make a certain kind of goofball sense.

But lately, I’ve been to a bunch of restaurants with menus that don’t. The list at Blueacre, for instance, is divided into categories with headers like The Craggy Moor and The Hunger. Wha…? (The titles appear to signify meat dishes and cooked seafood apps, respectively…but with a breathtaking lack of intuitive sense.) Reminded me of that Wallingford jewel, Joule, whose menu is divided into inexplicable sections like Crisped and Sparked.

All of the above feature thorough dish descriptions, however—which is always critical. Joints that don’t—Wallingford’s Avila, to name one whopping example—will suffer.

Why? Diners want to know what they’re getting. Simple as that.

Filed under
Show Comments