I want nutrition and great taste. If I can't have both, I might as well cook for myself at home. I am constantly disappointed at what I pay money for in restaurants; if an entree is listed as "healthy" ten to one, it IS flavourless and boring. (Is it that customers don't feel they've really eaten something good for them unless they've suffered? :confused: )If I look at something promising, and ask for even relatively minor alterations to make it acceptable to me, I get some weird, thrown-together thing... as though the cook, taken away from the familiar and the known, has not a clue about even the slightest bit of improvisation.
I think it's important to recognise that eating out is NOT an occasion for the vast majority of customers any more; it is a necessary fact of over-busy lives. Decadent entrees are all very well -- for the three tables in the restaurant holding birthday parties and anniversarian couples -- but most of us are there because we're either miles from our kitchens, or have an hour and a half between Daytimer Slot A and Daytimer Slot B, and don't feel like washing dishes.
There are a lot of restaurants I just don't go to, because honestly, everything on the menu is loaded with cheese and cream and butter, and there is no way to "lighten it up." After years of eating low-fat and low-processed in my own house, I don't even find this greasy stuff appealing as a treat any longer. It leaves an unpleasant oil slick in my throat on the eating, and lingering physical after-effects the next day.
I don't know what the answer is. When I have people over for dinner, I don't tell most of them what's in whatever I'm serving (though most of my friends and family know by now that anything they get in my house will be "good for them.") Back when I used to proudly announce the fat grams or the tofu or the general whole-grainity of it all, my guests would give the tentative pokes and nibbles, and sometimes even refuse things on spec! Without forewarning, though, they eat what's on the plate and praise it to the skies.
For my own part, though, I think it should be mandatory, as with all other sold food, to have nutrition information on menus. With the prevalence of nutrition and recipe software, it should be easy as pie to input recipes and yields and get an approximation. Chances are, too, that this would change consumer demand for "bigger, fatter, creamier." I'm betting that the number of orders for yer standard Fettucine Alfredo, for instance, would drop dramatically if the punters knew that they were about to devour, in some cases, over a thousand calories, more than half of them from fat.