I had the same experience at Smokin' Al's! I had gone there a number of times with friends and we would order a few items for the table, the food IS bountiful and delicious. However, the last time I went, 5/29/2009, I was informed of Smokin' Als new policies: a $5 seating charge and a $5 sharing charge. I was offended that I was expected to know abut the new policy, when it is all the way on the back of the menu on the bottom, so we needed a minute. That wasn't the only thing I was offended about either!
If the portion sizes in a restaurant are so big that four people, with hearty appetites, can be full after splitting two appetizers, then perhaps the menu should offer 1/4 and 1/2 portions. I mean really! In this day and age, where over consumption is clearly the path to our demise, why is Smokin' Al's forcing their customers to decide between over-eating or paying to sit or share. It comes off as a punishment, OFFER "HUMAN SIZED" PORTIONS!!! CEASE AND DESIST WITH THE WASTE!!!! I mean really, guilty customers lug home huge bags of left-overs that are inevitably thrown out. An even worse outcome: the already over-stuffed patron, feeling guilty, might eat three days worth of food in one sitting just to avoid being wasteful. Their aren't ANY earth conscious or healthy otions offered at your irresponsibly WASTEFUL establishment. In the figurative sense of the word, you people are "PIGS!!!"
I think this sounds like a job for ABC's "What Would You Do?" or "Eye Witness News". I think I'll compile one or two more restaurants, like yours, Ciao Baby , etc., and write them.
I for one will be going to Bobbique in Patchogue, the food is better, portions are normal and they are more ethical and economical. Also, their Collard Greens do not taste like sauerkraut like those at Smokin' Al's.