I second Ruby's suggestion of using a smartphone (if you have one) to look things up. I eat out with my parents A LOT, because they hate cooking. Not only does it take me forever to order, depending on where we go and if it's a new restaurant to me, but I NEVER make the decision of an appetizer or not. While I don't want the app, who am I to make a decision for the table?
I've also learned that most major chains have nutritional information available to you at the restaurant. If you have to wait for a table, why not ask the hostess if there is any information you can look over. I've also noticed that a lot of chain restaurants will at least have the calorie counts on the menu itself, it's not ideal if you're managing micros but it will give you a base line of your calorie limitations if nothing else. I've been to two big chains and have asked for nutritional info and the waiter/ress actually printed me out a copy of everything on the menu. Mom and Pop restaurants are my trickiest places to go, it's a crap shoot a lot of the time. I keep a little note of what I've eaten and then log it the best I can when I get home. If I'm unsure of something I've eaten I'll "build it" in my log. Meaning I'll break it down ingredient by ingredient and log those individually, making sure to always guesstimate on the high side just to be on the safe side. If I don't know if "fat was added in cooking" I'll always assume it was.
I've also become "the picky patron". I'll ask how something is cooked if I'm unsure. I'll ask what it's cooked in
. I ask if they can not grill the chicken in butter (called grilling dry), etc etc. Those little things add up. If a restaurant is unable to accommidate you, do you really want to continue eating there?
One last thought, cheat every once in a while. It'll keep you sane and you won't feel deprived while enjoying an evening out with family or friends. The foreboding appetizer? Eat ONE bite of it, but not half the app itself LOL! My parents' favorite restaurant is Outback. They LOVE LOVE LOVE the cheese fries. I would never make them feel as if they couldn't order the app just because I'm at the table. I'll nibble on a fry or two, but that's it (most of the time
When you have some free time, browse some menus online and build a little "database" of your own in your Custom Foods. It'll save time later when you've hit one of those restaurants.