Frank Bruni, restaurant critic for The New York Times, offers several pieces of advice for restaurant goers in his final column. Amongst them is the best, safest way to navigate a menu:
Scratch off the appetizers and entrees that are most like dishes you’ve seen in many other restaurants, because they represent this one at its most dutiful, conservative and profit-minded. The chef’s heart isn’t in them.Pretty sound advice, although I have had several great dishes that incorporated truffle oil. I have one of my own to add here as well: Look at the menu. If it has pictures of the dishes printed on it lay it back down on the table, get up and go to a better restaurant. You're welcome.
Scratch off the dishes that look the most aggressively fanciful. The chef’s vanity — possibly too much of it — spawned these.
Then scratch off anything that mentions truffle oil.
Choose among the remaining dishes.