RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – A trip to a Carytown restaurant left one woman with a bit of a bad taste in her mouth this week.
Dorsey McFadden said she is usually adventuresome when it comes to trying new foods, but that she got more than she bargained for after ordering the bleu ball pizza at BlowToad.
“It had a funny name but didn’t think too much about it. Later, I came to find out that the steak was bull testicles,” said McFadden.
She admits she didn’t specifically ask what was in the pizza, but when she saw the words swing steak listed on the menu, she didn’t imagine that her topping would be coming from that part of the bull.
“I was more astonished that they wouldn’t just tell you,” explained McFadden. “It’s not a question of allergies for me, but it’s a question of full disclosure. Certainly I think there are some people who for religious reasons or personal reasons just wouldn’t want to eat that.”
However, she said when she asked the waiter about the name, he chuckled and said their staff came up with the name together and just thought it was appropriate.
In addition, McFadden said the waiter never explained to her that the swing steak on the menu is poached bull testicles.
“I found out later through some friends that went there and ate the pizza and then found out what it was. Also, there are people on Twitter talking about it and that’s how I found out that I wasn’t the only one,” McFadden added.
BlowToad’s General Manager Chris Simons said he understand McFadden’s concern.
“We do put on the menu that it’s swing steak. That’s another name generally used for it,” said Simons. “We definitely put the burden of explaining on our servers as opposed to the menu. We don’t try to purposely hide it, though.”
Simons also said in fact, he said when they were creating the menu and researching how other establishments prepared bull testicles, they learned it is the most popular dish at Bronco Stadium in Denver.
In fact, Simons said the pizza is one of BlowToad’s most popular dishes.
“It’s a great flavor. It does create a buzz when our servers explain what it is. People ask about it and we even send out samples to their tables and they try it. It’s mental for some people. If they can get past the mental aspect of it, the flavor is fantastic,” added Simons.
Chris Gordon, an environmental health manager for the VA. Department of Health said that people do need to know what they’re eating when they go out to restaurants because of possible allergens.
“Restaurants must disclose the major allergens and say whether or not there are food items that can be safely prepared,” said Gordon.
However, Gordon said he would have to see the menu at the restaurant to provide more analysis.
Gordon also said there is a standard in place that requires restaurants to honestly present what’s on their menu. They have to present the food in such a way that the customer isn’t misled about what they’re eating.
“I think everything else was good about the restaurant,” said McFadden. “The beers were excellent. The waiters were good. I just want to know what I’m eating. They weren’t saying what part of the animal it was. I don’t think they were trying to be dishonest, but I do think it was misleading.”
The next time McFadden is in a restaurant, she said she will ask more questions.
Managers at BlowToad said they will continue to do all they can to make sure customers are informed and walk away satisfied.