Don't you love tall food? Here's the steak my husband ordered last night -- on top of the mashed potatoes, and the green beans, and topped with the onion straws! It was a gorgeous presentation.
But then he took the steak off its tower and cut it open, and discovered that his "medium" beef was actually somewhere between "rare" and "medium rare," probably closer to the former than the latter. He didn't send it back, because he was starving and wanted his dinner RIGHT NOW, but was disappointed.
Coincidentally, on Saturday I had gone out to lunch with several people and we all ordered the hamburger, which came highly recommended. I ordered mine "medium well," which makes a lot of waiters and other foodies blanch. But that's the way I like hamburger. A healthy apprehension about e. coli plays a part here, but mostly it's just a question of taste. I don't like juicy, I don't like pink, call me a philistine but I still like it medium well.
I have noticed that often chefs will try to punish me by delivering hamburger the way they like it, not the way I order it. Sometimes I grin and bear it, but Saturday I sent mine back when the blood threatened to drown everything else on the plate. As did another in my party, who had ordered "medium rare" and still found hers way too raw to eat. Eventually both burgers found their way back to us, and we enjoyed our meals.
When we were getting our bills, the waiter announced that to express the kitchen's profuse apologies about getting our meat cooked wrong, they were going to give us our second beers free. That was fine, except that neither of us who sent back our meals had ordered a second beer.
So a couple of the other people at the table, who had found their burgers perfectly OK, got free beers, and the aggrieved parties got an apology. Sort of. Thanks a lot.