Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
#1
Old 11-09-2000, 10:06 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: austin, tx
Posts: 1,449
once again, i ordered a pasta dish last night that had shrimp in it and they left the tail shells on the shrimp.

why do they do this? i have to pick them up and get sauce all over my fingers to take the shells off so i can eat. shrimp pasta dishes are almost always served this way. do chefs like sticking their fingers in the linguini when they eat? wtf?

does anyone prefer shrimp served with the tail shells in pasta?
#2
Old 11-09-2000, 10:13 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 13,398
that's one of my pet peeves. It's semi ok with shrimp cocktail and fried shrimp but totally wrong wrong wrong with pasta and sauces. yeck. I'm with you on this.
#3
Old 11-09-2000, 10:14 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 678
Where do you live? Maybe it is a regional thing. I have never had shrimp pasta with the tails on. I would hate it too though.
__________________
Allegorical Cats, Metaphorical Cats
Statistical Cats and Mystical Cats
#4
Old 11-09-2000, 10:24 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 13,398
Michigan, but have had the tails left on in chain restaurants as well as local ones (like Olive Garden, Red Lobster etc.)
#5
Old 11-09-2000, 11:47 AM
Guest
Join Date: May 1999
Posts: 781
I find it annoying, too. But one little etiquette tip: You're not supposed to pick them up and get sauce on your hands. You're supposed to hold the shrimp down with your fork and slide (or cut) the tail shell off with your knife.
#6
Old 11-09-2000, 12:48 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 8,807
The shrimp lose much flavor and dry out if cooked without shells, more so than you would think.

I suppose you could ask the chef to remove the shells after cooking, but that would be nasty.
#7
Old 11-09-2000, 01:02 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: austin, tx
Posts: 1,449
Quote:
You're supposed to hold the shrimp down with your fork and slide (or cut) the tail shell off with your knife.
if that is the intended procedure, then the shrimp should be served to one side so i can do the necessary pre-meal prep. don't mix them in with the pasta so i have to dig through and find each one and cut the tails off before i start eating. and i don't like to stop and prep on the fly as i encounter each shrimp - part of the fun of a seafood pasta dish is the spontaneity of random forkfuls containing different types of seafood interlaced with the pasta.
#8
Old 11-09-2000, 01:15 PM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Texas
Posts: 456
I always make a mess trying to eat the shrimp when they do this. Maybe Chef Troy will know.

Quote:
Originally posted by Lamar Mundane
The shrimp lose much flavor and dry out if cooked without shells, more so than you would think.
Why would leaving just the shell on the tail end of the shrimp help keep it from drying out though?
#9
Old 11-09-2000, 01:46 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 1999
Posts: 781
<b>zwaldd,</b>

so ask for your shrimp on the side next time. I'm not arguing with you that it's totally stupid to leave the tails on when the shrimp is mixed in with pasta and sauce, but if that's the way the restaurant does it, then please, for the sake of you fellow diners, use the fork method rather than sticking your hands into your food.

Also, try a better restaurant. If the shrimp are of decent size, it's really not at all difficult to spot them and shell them. At a better restaurant (as opposed to Mom & Pop's seafood trough), the shrimp should be larger and there will only be a few in the dish anyway.
#10
Old 11-09-2000, 02:18 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: austin, tx
Posts: 1,449
lucky - thanks for the advice. you've raised some issues that i hadn't considered. can you recommend a better restaurant? the one last night was 'asti' in austin, tx on duval.
#11
Old 11-09-2000, 02:46 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 8,807
Quote:
Why would leaving just the shell on the tail end of the shrimp help keep it from drying out though?
I guess I misread the OP. This wouldn't make any difference at all. Probably they are leaving you something to hold on to??
#12
Old 11-09-2000, 03:21 PM
lee lee is offline
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Cook County, IL
Posts: 4,682
I hate this practice. I also hate it when they cook whole shimp, shell, legs, and all and put lots of delicious sauce on the shell. What are you supposed to do with that?
__________________
If you don't want to know the answer, don't ask the question.

"Yes, just 31 days after the OP was made by Lee, Cecil responded with a column."--whitetho
#13
Old 11-09-2000, 03:44 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 3,996
Leaving the shells on stinks. It's just laziness on the part of the chef/preparer, IMO. Shrimp should be peeled and "deveined" (there's a thread on that somewhere but I can't find it now.) Other than "peel and eat shrimp" I can't think of any dish where the shells should be left on.

I ordered shrimp fajitas once in a somewhat pricey mexican restaurant, and I got the shrimp back whole and unpeeled. What the @#%$ am I supposed to do, use my bare hands to unpeel the red hot shrimp that are sitting there smoking on the cast iron fajita plate? (Never going back there, that's for sure.)
#14
Old 11-09-2000, 03:58 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: austin, tx
Posts: 1,449
Quote:
I ordered shrimp fajitas once in a somewhat pricey mexican restaurant, and I got the shrimp back whole and unpeeled.
i would've sent that crap back to the kitchen. only once did i think to ask that they take the shells off when i ordered and they did comply. this was at a place in houston. hopefully after this discussion i'll remember to ask more often.
#15
Old 11-09-2000, 04:53 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 57,935
Quote:
I hate this practice. I also hate it when they cook whole shimp, shell, legs, and all and put lots of delicious sauce on the shell. What are you supposed to do with that?
and
Quote:
Other than "peel and eat shrimp" I can't think of any dish where the shells should be left on.
Well... There's "salt and pepper shrimp" at Chinese restaurants. They are cooked whole with the head, legs, eyes, etc. You don't peel them because all of the seasoning is on the outside. It is intended that you eat the crispy-cooked shell. I usually eat the head first, as I like the taste of the tails better. It's also good with the sliced jalapenos (or the Chinese analog) they serve with it.
__________________
'Never say "no" to adventure. Always say "yes". Otherwise you'll lead a very dull life.' -- Commander Caractacus Pott, R.N. (Retired)

'Do not act incautiously when confronting a little bald wrinkly smiling man.' -- Lu-Tze
#16
Old 11-09-2000, 08:49 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,021
I don't mess around with the shells and tails...just eat 'em, and kwitcherbitchin'!
#17
Old 11-10-2000, 03:47 AM
Guest
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Sacred Tomato, CA
Posts: 1,657
At one Chinese restaurant I used to frequent, I asked the same question regarding shrimp (tails on) served deep fried in tempura-style batter. The cook said "Without the tail shell left on it it would look like a white slug. Who would want to eat that?" I explained that I knew perfectly well the difference between a cooked shrimp and a slug, that the batter disguised the appearance of the shrimp meat anyway, and that I would would prefer to not have to deal with the shells during the course of my meal. She didn't seem convinced, giving me that "Poor misguided fool" look.

This is the same restaurant that, when the cook ran into the dining area to announce that the kitchen was on fire and that everyone had to evacuate, I took my plate and chopsticks with me and watched the excitement from the parking lot -- the food was that good. When they reopened I was a much-appreciated regular. They'd point me out to other customers and tell them when the building caught on fire I wouldn't leave without my sweet-and-sour shrimp. It was very good!

~~Baloo
#18
Old 11-10-2000, 05:58 AM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Los Angeles County
Posts: 2,617
Quote:
Originally posted by zwaldd
Quote:
I ordered shrimp fajitas once in a somewhat pricey mexican restaurant, and I got the shrimp back whole and unpeeled.
i would've sent that crap back to the kitchen. only once did i think to ask that they take the shells off when i ordered and they did comply. this was at a place in houston. hopefully after this discussion i'll remember to ask more often.
That expensive Mexican restaurant served those shrimp as they would have been served in Mexico--whole. As far as I know, the US is one of the few countries that seems to want its shrimp completely peeled.

The there are several reasons why the tails are left on:
1. It is actually expected that you're going to eat them, because there is meat in that little tail (and, yes, I mean that little fan tail), even though I can admit it's not that much meat. That is why a chef tends to leave them on--so you're getting your money's worth.
2. Peeled shrimp arrives to restaurants in that condition. The chef is only saving you money in labor costs by not sending some prep cook to spend the extra few minutes trying to ease off the tail without tearing the shrimp apart (if you've ever cleaned raw shrimp, you know it's tougher to peel than when it's cooked). Do you really want to pay the extra dollar for that prep cook to take off that bit of shell on six pieces of shrimp?
3. If you've got an artsy chef, then they're also going to want to keep the tail for its color and design possibilities.

You don't have to eat them--even though I may cook with them on, I still pull the tails off when I eat them. It never hurts to ask your server if the chef doesn't mind taking the tails off. More often than not, a chef will do it gladly (unless you're in a place like Red Lobster, where the most of the entrées come pre-prepared from a central kitchen, and your meal is microwaved to your order).
#19
Old 11-10-2000, 06:01 AM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Los Angeles County
Posts: 2,617
Quote:
Originally posted by JavaMaven1
The there are several reasons why the tails are left on:
That's what I get for posting after my bedtime.
#20
Old 11-10-2000, 06:45 AM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Starbucksistan
Posts: 3,157
EAT THE TAILS! THEY WON"T KILL YOU!

Hell, I've been eating the tails since I first ate shrimp. It's no big deal, just crunchy. I went to a local sushi place where, if you ordered ebi (shrimp) he would serve you the tail section, and then deep fry the rest and serve you THAT as well. Quite tasty, actually.
__________________
"Jazz isn't dead, it just smells funny!" - FZ
#21
Old 11-10-2000, 06:49 AM
BANNED
Join Date: May 1999
Posts: 5,768
:: stands up ::

My name is Satan, and I am a tail eater.

:: sits down ::
__________________
Yer pal,
Satan

TIME ELAPSED SINCE I QUIT SMOKING:
Seven months, one day, 8 hours, 50 minutes and 45 seconds.
8614 cigarettes not smoked, saving $1,077.05.
Extra time with Drain Bead: 4 weeks, 1 day, 21 hours, 50 minutes.

David B used me as a cite!
#22
Old 11-10-2000, 07:05 AM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Los Angeles County
Posts: 2,617
Quote:
Originally posted by Satan
:: stands up ::

My name is Satan, and I am a tail eater.

:: sits down ::
__________________
...and that's why Drain Bead is a very happy woman.




:::ducks and runs:::
#23
Old 11-10-2000, 10:13 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: austin, tx
Posts: 1,449
Quote:
It never hurts to ask your server if the chef doesn't mind taking the tails off. More often than not, a chef will do it gladly (unless you're in a place like Red Lobster, where the most of the entrées come pre-prepared from a central kitchen, and your meal is microwaved to your order).
as much as i hate to admit it, i happen to know that red lobster does not include the tail shells in its shrimp pasta. nor does romeo's, the best italian joint in town.
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:17 AM.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: [email protected]

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: [email protected].

Copyright © 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC.

Copyright © 2017
Best Topics: old saggy balls duffman quotes pt cruisers review fryer lid patton oswalt casino causeway meaning soldier patton slapped dingy towels quietus tinnitus falta in spanish polyurethane dangers does steak and shake have a drive-thru how do you pronounce general tso's chicken 9/10 dentists recommend found white powder how to identify chicago cloud gate souvenir south korea drinking age how do i unflag an email what is the opposite of irony what happens if you dry lularoe my name is eugene lyrics when to replace mirena iud mr jones counting crows meaning