I cannot keep silent any longer.

Listen, restaurants. I really, really need you to recognize the city of Brussels. It’s the capital of Belgium. It’s got a capital B, because it’s a name. It ends with an “s”. It’s famous for, among other things, the humble Brussels sprout. Yes, the sprout and the city have the same name.

I can’t emphasize this enough: there is no such thing as a “brussel sprout.”

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about, from the menu of Cacao Lane:

Cacao Lane needs an 's'

Look, it’s not like this is the first time I’ve seen this mistake. I’ll forgive an error here or there from food bloggers. They’re just home cooks. They can’t be expected to do research into how things are spelled. But you, you’re professionals. Food is your career. You should at least spell food-related words correctly.

Even Bryan Voltaggio, celebrated chef on TV, couldn’t get it right on his menu at Family Meal:

Family Meal needs an 's'

Oh, Bryan. Your menu features far more complicated words, like sorghum, bolognese, bearnaise. You don’t capitalize anything else, so I’ll forgive you for the lowercase “b.” But just do me a favor: stick an “s” at the end of your brussel.

(By the way, I was wowed by everything we ate at Family Meal except for the Brussels sprouts, which is weird because I’m generally a huge Brussels sprout fan. It might just be me, though; others at the table loved them. I’m just not a big fan of nasal pungency (I don’t like wasabi or horseradish either), and the mustard or whatever it was in the sauce coating the sprouts was a bit strong for me. It’s okay. Everthing else was fantastic — incredibly moist fried chicken, really flavorful rockfish, and oh, absolutely extraordinary chicken pot pie fritters, crunchy outside with molten pot pie filling in the middle (how does that even happen?). They were tiny and cost $1 apiece, but they were totally worth it. Just be careful not to burn your mouth.)

Family Meal's brilliant chicken pot pie fritters

And while I’m at it, let me pick the scab off another pet peeve. After a great dinner with the in-laws at Family Meal, we went to Kloby’s for carryout the next day. They made me wait half an hour, even though they told me the wait would only be 15 minutes, but it’s okay, I forgive them for that. Their barbecue is totally worth the wait.

This is what I couldn’t forgive (and was stuck staring at for an extra 15 minutes):

Kloby's does y'all a disservice

It’s a contraction of “you all,” right? The letters that are elided are the “o” and “u”; since those letters are taken out, the apostrophe is inserted in their place. The proper rendition is therefore “y’all.”

(My college roommate, from North Carolina, informed me that when addressing larger groups, one may even use the delightful phrase “all y’all.” But that’s for advanced users only. Me, I’ll be happy if you just stick the apostrophe where it’s supposed to be.)

I know it’s a minor nitpick. But I have to stand up for what’s right.

6 thoughts on “I cannot keep silent any longer.

  1. i’m SO with you on misspellings and improperly placed (or omitted) apostrophes. i just do not understand why anyone would choose NOT to double check something they’re publishing for all the world to see; do they really want us to think what we’re going to be inevitably thinking about them? and yes, i do intentionally not capitalize and choose to use “they” instead of “he or she.” oy veh…

    • Beth, I knew you’d have my back!

      The thing that bothers me most about the situation is that I can’t confront the menu writers in question. Instead I’m faced with the waitstaff, who are pleasant and blameless, and do not deserve my peevishness. I think restaurants need comment cards or something.

  2. You didn’t even comment on the fact that they capitalized “Ya’ll” for no apparent reason and failed to use the always-required comma. You must be suffering from some serious grammar-outrage overload.

    • I have no shortage of outrage! Actually, the sheer wrongness of the “Ya’ll” blinded me to the mat’s other grammatical shortcomings.

      I suppose that, optimistically, one could view the “K” logo as a representation of their name, therefore making the mat “Kloby’s Thanks Y’all.”

  3. The Grammar Police at MyGrammarGuru.com ARE watching, and thank you for your post! If I ever go to a restaurant that does NOT have at least one typo or incorrect usage on its menu, I may fall down flat. And don’t even get me started on signs, blog posts, just about anything that requires people to write, there will invariably be some stupid (and I use the word advisedly) error.

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