Diner Sends Back Steak Tartare Because It's Raw, Chef's Reaction Goes Viral

A video has gone viral of an Albany chef's reaction to a seemingly ridiculous reason to send an item back to the kitchen—the steak tartare was raw.

Dominick Purnomo, the co-owner of Yono's and DP: An American Brasserie, has amassed more than 5 million views of his TikTok video, which was shared on October 5. "When they send back the steak tartare because it's raw," he captioned the clip, which shows the chef cooking the sent-back dish in a pan.

With so many views, the post has split viewers on just how forgivable the customer's mistake was, and whether they would do the same.

Steak tartare is a dish made of raw beef with onions and seasonings, topped with raw egg yolk. "It would never dawn on me to say on the menu that the steak tartare is raw," Purnomo told Times Union. "That's the definition. And, personally, if my server told me, 'Oh, by the way, you do know the tartare is raw,' I would feel like they were talking down to me."

Although tartare is commonplace on many restaurant menus, the customer's hesitation to eat it raw isn't completely absurd—the USDA advises against the dish due to its risk of containing harmful bacteria.

"The dish is dangerous because it is uncooked, meaning it can still contain harmful bacteria that can cause foodborne illness, which are only killed by cooking ground beef to 160 degrees fahrenheit," it reports.

Eating raw beef runs the risk of Salmonella and E. coli among other bacteria, but it can sometimes be safely consumed if quality meat is prepared and provided from a safe source with correct protocols to avoid the presence of harmful bacteria, as reported by Esquire.

"This was a first for tartare in my 28 years in the business," Purnomo told Times Union. "The server said: 'She wants to know if you can pan-sear this?' I said: 'Yes, I can pan-sear that'."

TikTok viewers were split on just how bad an error it was.

"No different than sending back mashed potatoes because they're mashed," wrote one user.

"Why would the customer order something they're unsure of," noted another.

One user commented: "God forbid my meal comes how I ordered it."

While others rushed to defend the customer, explaining that they probably just didn't know. "Go ahead and back me, but ain't fancy over here so this is something i've never heard of," wrote one.

"As a long time server, I would always say to a table, 'Just so you're aware, tartare is prepared raw, is that ok?' Problem solved," commented another.

According to the chef, the restaurant has no plans to explicitly define that the dish is raw on the menu, but is more than happy to prepare it pan-seared again.

"We will gladly prepare it pan-seared again, should anyone want to try it," he said.

Steak tartare on dish
A file photo of steak tartare. Getty Images