You go out to a restaurant and have a side of veggies with your entree. You take a bite and notice an intense, incredible flavor? How are these vegetables so tasty when the ones we make at home seem so bland? There's actually an answer to this question...and many people will be horrified by the answer!
The secret to those delicious vegetables is that the cooks load them up with butter, sugar, and salt. These ingredients are staples in almost every restaurant dish as they are great at enhancing flavors. Line cooks almost always have butter and salt at their station to grease up pans and season menu items to taste. This doesn't take into account dishes that are prepared beforehand can easily contain two pounds of butter or more. This is especially important for restaurants that label dishes as vegan -- it's best to ask and ensure that no butter has been added, mistakenly or otherwise, to any dish.
Other additions that cooks use when finishing off vegetables could include bacon grease or large amounts of vegetable oil. Specific styles of cuisine, such as Asian, might add MSG or other seasonings that, while great flavor enhancers, aren't the greatest for your health.
Salt is the most abundant ingredient not only in the vegetable dishes but in every food a restaurant prepares. Salt is not only a flavor enhancer but also a preservative, meaning the food will taste better than usual and last longer. Even foods that are cooked beforehand get butter and salt added to them when they're prepared to order.
On top of this, sodium makes the body require more water. This means you'll be ordering more and more drinks, alcoholic or otherwise, which is what restaurants want you to do -- drink orders make up a large portion of the profit of most restaurants.
As more and more regulations come into play, sodium, sugar and fat contents will be monitored more closely, and nutritional information will be available to you. Even still, if you're worried that your food will be seasoned with butter, sugar, and salt, make it clear to any server at a restaurant that you don't want these ingredients in your food -- your vegetables won't taste as good, but your body will thank you for it!