Woman says to beware of servers' phrasings after being charged $18 for truffle butter

@joannestrand/TikTok LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe Stock (Licensed)

‘Our waiter played us hard’: Woman says to beware of servers’ trick questions after being charged $18 for truffle butter

'We had like one tiny little teaspoon of it.'


Phil West


Posted on May 6, 2024   Updated on May 6, 2024, 8:36 am CDT

A woman is offering sage advice for people who find themselves in restaurants being asked if they’d like to add truffle butter, or any similar additions, to their meals—especially when the server poses the ask as a trick question.

The tip comes from creator Joanne Strand (@joannestrand), getting nearly 38,000 views as of Monday morning on a video posted Saturday. In it, Strand, who typically fashions lifestyle tips on her TikTok account, tells the story of a trip she took with her now-husband to the Phoenix area.

“If a waiter ever asks, ‘Oh would you like to add blah, blah, blah on top of your dish?’ Ask them how. much it costs,” she starts her video.

She says that her and her beau, John, went to a Scottsdale restaurant called Toca Modera. Judging from the menu, which doesn’t have prices listed, it deals in upscale Mexican fare and uses truffle flavoring in several of its dishes.

She explains, “So we got margaritas, drinks were flowing. We got tacos … I mean, we had a lot of food, and we knew it wasn’t going to be cheap. So one of the main dishes we got was a big steak, and it was yummy. But then as we’re eating it, the waiter comes over and checks in.”

She says that he suggested truffle butter for the steak. “‘Oh, would you like some truffle butter?'” Strand recalls the server asking.

“‘Uh yeah, obviously we want some truffle butter,'” she says.

She says they figured it would be $5 a most. “He said, ‘Hey, do you want some truffle butter on your steak?'” she repeats. “And we gladly accepted thinking it would be free or like $5.”

The waiter delivered what Strand describes as a “knob” of truffle butter, and the couple pretty much instantly regretted it.

“To be honest, it didn’t add that much flavor to the steak,” she observes. “It didn’t taste that truffle-y, so that was a mistake. And then an even bigger mistake is when we got the check, and we saw the price of the truffle butter. It was $18!”

She notes, “We didn’t say anything. We didn’t complain because John I just aren’t like big complainers at restaurants.”

However, on reflection, she says, “We didn’t even finish it. We had like one tiny little teaspoon of it,” before chalking it up to being a “live and learn” experience and advising others that it’s not weird to ask about prices for extras you’re offered “in this economy.”

@joannestrand Dont get the truffle butter especially not in this economy #scottsdale #arizona #restaurants ♬ brazil – ☆☆

Why are truffles so expensive?

A Reader’s Digest article from March 2023 delves into why truffles—and the truffle oil and truffle butter made with them—command such a steep price.

First, the article explains, “Truffles are rare, edible subterranean fungi in the genus Tuber. Like mushrooms, they belong to the Fungus kingdom. But unlike mushrooms, which grow aboveground, truffles live beneath the earth and grow in the dark.”

Then, it notes, “People pay serious money for truffles because they prize the fungi’s aroma and flavor. Still, not all truffles are equal. Black truffles are more affordable because they have a longer season, are freezable and are more common than other varieties.”

It goes on to say, “In 2021, the rarest black truffles, like the Burgundy black truffle, went for nearly $900 per pound, while more common truffles, like the Chinese black truffle, ran for less than $100 a pound. Meanwhile, European white truffles can sell for as much as $3,300 a pound!”

Servers weigh in

Commenters were alarmed with the situation. Servers shared that they try to avoid upselling to customers and thought Strand’s waiter was shady for not being upfront about the additional charge.

“As a server, girl he PLAYED you that’s vile. I always try to say would you like to add _ for _ more?” one server shared.

“I KNOW … our waiter played us hard,” Strand responded.

“That’s pretty messed up,” another added. “I also disclosed it when I was a waitress.”

Strand responded, “You’re a real one.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to both Strand and Toca Madera via online media form.

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*First Published: May 6, 2024, 10:00 am CDT