What Happens If You Tell Your Server: “Surprise Me!”

For the first time ever at a restaurant, after I ordered, I had absolutely no idea what the server was going to bring me for dinner.

I was hanging out with a few friends at a local restaurant called The Kitchen Sink. It’s not a fancy restaurant, but their food is awesome–lots of Cajun-inspired dishes. I’ve eaten there about 10 times at this point, and the worst dish I had there would be a decent dish at most other places.

I ordered something I had tried before, and the last person to order asked about something on the menu called “IDK.” It stands for “I Don’t Know.” The server explained that if you order it, the chef will make you whatever he feels like making, and you have to eat it. You can’t send it back.

I don’t like surprises, but something washed over me in that moment. For some reason, I really wanted to have no idea about what I was getting. At the very worst, I’d have a good story to tell and I’d eat something at home later. Plus, I’ve tried so many dishes at this restaurant that I figured the odds of me getting something I didn’t want were really low. And they don’t have olives or sauerkraut in any of their dishes, pretty much the only two things I absolutely won’t eat.

15 minutes later, this appeared in front of me. And it was AWESOME.

Kitchen Sink


It was some kind of steak burrito with a little bit of kick in the Cajun spices and peppers, along with some Cajun rice. It was SO good. And it lasted two meals. I love it when restaurant dinners leave me with leftovers.

Have you ever ordered blindly at a restaurant? Would you? I definitely think I’ll order this way from The Kitchen Sink from now on unless I’m really craving something specific.

12 thoughts on “What Happens If You Tell Your Server: “Surprise Me!””

  1. That looks amazing! I need to try the IDK route next time I visit The Kitchen Sink…do you have any say in the matter, like if you really hate onions can you request a meal of their choosing without them?

    There’s another restaurant in the St. Louis area (Maplewood I think) called Home that I visited last summer and on Mondays it’s “Menuless Monday,” where you fill out a sheet listing any allergies/foods you won’t eat, and some other random food related questions, then the chef whips up an appetizer, entree, and dessert based on your answers. It was pretty cool and the food I received was delicious from what I remember.

    • Katy: The server said that you can’t make any requests/restrictions at all, including dietary and allergenic. It’s a total crapshoot. 🙂

      I like the Home idea a lot too–I’ve heard good things about that place.

      • Even though the uncertainty of possibly getting a plate full of onions scares me a little, I’ve been impressed thus far with TKS and might have to try the blind ordering option next time I visit there… And the worse case scenario is that I’ll just be stuck picking them out of my meal. 🙂

  2. I’ve done something similar to this, where I close my eyes and point to something on the page. It’s even more interesting if you do it in a place where the cuisine is largely alien like Ethiopian or something of the like.

  3. I’ve never heard of The Kitchen Sink, definitely going to have to check it out! Home Wine Kitchen is confirmed as delicious and wonderful, especially the no menu Monday feature. They used to have a “surprise” dish at the Stable too, which is sadly no more. I haven’t thought of doing it where the menu/structure doesn’t invite it though, that might be fun too!

  4. I do this all the time at many restaurants where I feel I can trust the server or kitchen. I say, bring me an appetizer and two entrees, or whatever. I always have the best meal. (Oddly, my IDK experience was only ok. Not nearly as good as Humble Pie)

  5. I really enjoy ordering like this! I enjoy all kinds of food and many times it’s difficult for me to pick just one. So, I tell the server to surprise me and I’ve never had to return the food. There has been many times I’ve gotten something that wasn’t on the menu or a server remix of an item that they like better. I would love the idea of having a restaurant that has that as a menu item!


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