Arts & Culture
Fine Dining is Never Flawless
Once again food is on my mind this time vis-à-vis restaurants. I love going to restaurants. I am more comfortable eating out than I ever am eating in someone’s home. This is probably because, having grown up at a large … Read More
Once again food is on my mind this time vis-à-vis restaurants. I love going to restaurants. I am more comfortable eating out than I ever am eating in someone’s home. This is probably because, having grown up at a large resort hotel as a member of the Grossinger family, ordering off a menu is second nature. I once thought that was how everyone got fed. Now I eat out at least three times a week, which leads me to today’s musing: Why is it that over 70% of those who respond to Zagat surveys register complaints about service or the restaurant itself? I still remember how at Grossinger’s the service was always attentive and guests always came first. Things change, however, and over the years I’ve kept lists and written about dining experiences that irritate me most. Here are a few:
- Lights so dim that you can’t read the menu. I want to see the person I’m sharing a meal with. If I order beef rare I want to see if it’s rare. Sight enhances what is placed on the plate. Dancing in the dark is appealing; eating in the dark, unless you’re in bed with someone you love and don’t mind the crumbs, is NOT!
- When you can’t be seated until your full party arrives.
- When main dishes are served before appetizers are finished.
- Dishes reaching the table at different times and/or being removed at different times.
- Glasses of bottled water refilled without asking permission. Those prices, especially in today’s economy, add up!
- Overstuffed sandwiches you can’t get your mouth around.
- Cell phones; need I say more?
In all fairness, diners don’t always conduct themselves with the same consideration they would like servers to accord them. Here is what some restaurant owners wish customers wouldn’t do:
- Make multiple reservations without cancelling those they can’t use.
- Show up without reservations on a busy night, claim to be friends of the owner (whom they’ve never met) and then make a fuss when no table is available.
- Eat more than half a dish after they have complained they don’t like it and then refuse to pay for it.
- Sneak out for ‘smokes’ without paying the bill.
- Let children run amok in upscale restaurants.
On both sides, unfortunately, these are but the tip of the iceberg and those who work at restaurants and those who own restaurants should be more aware. That said, however, please continue to support your favorite eateries, the ones where you treat each other well; they need all the help they can get!
Want a free, autographed copy of Growing Up at Grossinger’s? Participate in this week’s giveaway contest! Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and at the end of the week we’ll choose five winners. Good luck!