Parmesan crisps

Parmesan cheese crisps prepared by Nathalie Dupree for a quick snack or appetizer. Should Parmesan cheese be automatically placed on the table at an Italian restaurant? File

There are two sides to every story, including those posted to Yelp and the like. And for those disputes, court is now in session.

The Post and Courier Food section weekly features a complaint that first surfaced online, along with testimonies from the patron and restaurateur.

You, the readers, are the jury. Join us in our Facebook group to weigh in on whether the customer is indeed right, or if the case should be resolved in the restaurant’s favor. Let’s enter the courtroom.

THE PLAINTIFF

No H. doesn’t confine her reviewing to restaurants. The Goose Creek resident has posted her opinions of a North Carolina waterfall, a Wisconsin Dells hotel and Topgolf in Myrtle Beach. But when it comes to dining, she says “We love trying out new places and small mom-and-pops.”

THE DEFENDANT

“Lidi” means shores in Italian, but in the case of Daniel Island’s Ristorante LIDI, it doesn’t refer to the banks of the Cooper or Wando rivers. Instead, it’s an acronym for Little Italy Daniel Island. The 5-year-old restaurant serves red sauce standards such as spaghetti-and-meatballs, ravioli, lasagna and veal Parmesan.

THE CLAIM

When The Post and Courier contacted No H., she immediately recalled “the Parmesan story,” which was a low point of a weekday lunch with co-workers.

According to No H., their server supplied a plate of oil-and-vinegar when she brought them a bread basket. But when she dropped off their entrées, she neither left behind a shaker of Parmesan, nor asked if one was needed. It was up to No H. to ask for cheese.

“Come on, this is an Italian restaurant,” she says. “The pizza guy even asks if I want extra cheese. And this is supposed to be a nice Italian restaurant?”

THE DEFENSE

As the introduction to this column says, there are two sides to every story. But this is the first time in the feature’s short history that representatives of the restaurant declined to share their perspective. Messages sent to the restaurant via e-mail and Facebook, as well as a phone call, weren’t returned.

But the contentious topic of Parmesan was broached by Brooks Reitz in The Post and Courier’s recent video series, Restaurant Business 101. The owner of Melfi’s (who has no connection to LIDI or say in its cheese choices) pointed out that the costs of giving away Parmesan can mount quickly. In an Italian restaurant, he said, “People expect to have the opportunity to ask for Parmesan cheese.”

He continued, “A tiny little ramekin of Parmesan Reggiano may not seem like that much. But let’s say that ramekin cost 7 cents. Not a big deal to that table, but if that happens 50 times in a night, times seven days in a week, per month, per year, all of a sudden you’ve given away $15,000 of Parmesan. Huge deal. That’s a raise for someone. That’s a profit share.”

THE VERDICT

Who’s right in this situation? If pasta’s on a restaurant table, should Parmesan automatically be placed on the table, too? Or is it incumbent upon patrons in the mood for more cheese to make their needs known? Join the discussion at bit.ly/PCfoodFBgroup.

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Reach Hanna Raskin at 843-937-5560 and follow her on Twitter @hannaraskin.