Posted 22 March 2011 - 03:19 AM
Not a great deal bothers me, really. Little things will irk me. You know, it's a quiet night but it's still impossible to get served. Or hearing, every five minutes, 'Is everything okay?' Little things. Or the 'I don't know anything about that dish/We've sold out of that dish/I can't recommend you anything because I don't even know what cuisine they serve here' response. These are rare when you're paying nice restaurant prices, tho', so whatever. Get what you pay for and all that. You can't expect an indifferent overseas student being paid stuff all per hour, working in the restaurant because he can't get anything else or because his visa says he can't work more than x hours in an on-the-books jobs, to be up there with fine dining waitstaff. Enjoy your $10 curry and naan for what they are.
One that gets me at fine dining restaurants, tho', probably sounds odd and maybe even uncultured to a lot of you wine lovers--and it's a lack of a serious beer list. The other week a friend and I went to a restaurant with a nice list of local and imported beers. Not a mediocre mass produced beer in sight. It was all good quality stuff that'd been carefully and lovingly made. Thought had been put into whether it would work well with the kind of food this restaurant served. The waiter knew a lot about good beer and basically set me up with a menu of matching beers for the degustation. He--and obviously his employer--understood that beer is a complex drink. It's not all cheap lager from a can. It's equally as valid as wine as a drink for people who like nice things (and I'll say the same about spirits and everything else). This is very, very, very rare. Sure, most nice restaurants will have one or two truly nice local or imported beers, but mostly they stock the same old shit--probably in response to customer demand, but given the growing appreciation for beer and the fact these are restaurants for people who like nice things, I'm not sure if the restaurants are keeping pace with consumer demand or if they're a couple of years behind it. I hate it when the website or drinks list only shows wine.
I think that there's a certain elitism when it comes to wine. This notion that it's a superior product, somehow, to a nice beer (or cider or whisky or whatever). I think restaurants take that in, to a certain extent, from the community, but also fuel it and perpetuate it. And I'm sure, about here, them's fighting words and I'll be howled down because beer/cider/etc aren't anywhere near as valid a drink for matching with a nice meal as wine.