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Restaurant/Bar Annoyances


Rosie
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Reaching across the table is only acceptable if there is no way for the server to get into the space at a better angle. Otherwise, no.

My biggest pet peeve is the auctioning of dishes to the diners by the waitstaff. "Who gets the salmon" is not hospitality. Please use position numbers and put the plates down where they go. Please.

I also cannot stand an obvious upsell, most usually done on water.

Lately I've noticed this one (in NY restaurants only so far) - when my "change" arrives, it actually contains no change (coins). I haven't noticed it when dining at tables, only at the bar, and it would bother me less at a table (I realize that servers on the floor may not have access to a register as easily, but a bartender should). I don't really care about 75 cents and that's not what it's about - to me, it smacks of entitlement and laziness. Not a fan.

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Pretty much all the above bug me, at least a bit.

I also hate when waiters show up to ask whether everything is fine when you have your mouth full; even if everything is awful, all you can really do is duck your head and nod sheepishly, hoping they'll go way. If the food is fantastic, nodding while looking like a wild-eyed hamster isn't the most effective way of communicating that.

Any sort of hovering makes me think about sneaking out through the bathroom window before the first course even appears.

I find forced perkiness really disturbing. That sort of fakery just makes me imagine that, once the waiter goes through the swinging doors, he or she goes out back and does a little primal screaming, or bursts into tears.

Edited by Mjx (log)

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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First off, Weinoo: I'm shocked your list is so short! You are my favorite curmudgeon!

You've all hit on the majors: How's that tasting for ya?, hard butter.

What's always struck me as ludicrous is people asking, "Is the fish fresh?" No, actually we're really really worried about getting you sick and we need to move that mushy salmon, so you would please order it?

I can see asking, what came in today, if you are at fish restaurant. But, do you seriously expect your wait person to tell you the truth or tell you what he needs to move?

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My complaints are mostly semantic.

Don't tell me something is artfully prepared. THE WORD "ARTFUL" DOES NOT MEAN "FULL OF ART"! It means "deceptive". Remember the Artful Dodger in Alice and Wonderland? I will not eat something that is deceptively prepared.

Sorry for yelling.

Also, I don't like when words are used so far away from their original definition as to render everything meaningless. Example: carpaccio of watermelon. Really? Because I was thinking of having the tenderloin of yam with some leaves of veal. And I'll have a stalk of San Pellegrino.

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My complaints are mostly semantic.

Don't tell me something is artfully prepared. THE WORD "ARTFUL" DOES NOT MEAN "FULL OF ART"! It means "deceptive". Remember the Artful Dodger in Alice and Wonderland? I will not eat something that is deceptively prepared.

Actually, I think you'll find the Artful Dodger is from Oliver Twist. Moreover, my dictionary gives "skilful, clever" as the first definition for "artful," and "crafty, deceitful" as sense 2.

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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Lately I've noticed this one (in NY restaurants only so far) - when my "change" arrives, it actually contains no change (coins). I haven't noticed it when dining at tables, only at the bar, and it would bother me less at a table (I realize that servers on the floor may not have access to a register as easily, but a bartender should). I don't really care about 75 cents and that's not what it's about - to me, it smacks of entitlement and laziness. Not a fan.

I do this almost every time I give change but in my defense I always round in favor of the guest. A check presenter full of dimes and nickels is a metallic shower waiting to happen when it get picked up before being opened.

I do use quarters usually, if it is not close to a whole dollar amount.

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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Lately I've noticed this one (in NY restaurants only so far) - when my "change" arrives, it actually contains no change (coins). I haven't noticed it when dining at tables, only at the bar, and it would bother me less at a table (I realize that servers on the floor may not have access to a register as easily, but a bartender should). I don't really care about 75 cents and that's not what it's about - to me, it smacks of entitlement and laziness. Not a fan.

I do this almost every time I give change but in my defense I always round in favor of the guest. A check presenter full of dimes and nickels is a metallic shower waiting to happen when it get picked up before being opened.

I do use quarters usually, if it is not close to a whole dollar amount.

Sorry, I should clarify: I have no problem with rounding on change. But what's happening here - it's now happened several times at different places - is rounding in the house's favor, not in mine. (For example, the bill is $21.40, I put down $30, and I get back $8.) Again, this is not about the money, and I am far from cheap (really, I swear, I am not cheap). I don't need or want more coins or my 60 cents back. It smacks of presumption on the part of the server to round in their own/the house's favor.

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My complaints are mostly semantic.

Don't tell me something is artfully prepared. THE WORD "ARTFUL" DOES NOT MEAN "FULL OF ART"! It means "deceptive". Remember the Artful Dodger in Alice and Wonderland? I will not eat something that is deceptively prepared.

Actually, I think you'll find the Artful Dodger is from Oliver Twist. Moreover, my dictionary gives "skilful, clever" as the first definition for "artful," and "crafty, deceitful" as sense 2.

But... it still has nothing to do with art :wink:

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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First off, Weinoo: I'm shocked your list is so short! You are my favorite curmudgeon!

You've all hit on the majors: How's that tasting for ya?, hard butter.

What's always struck me as ludicrous is people asking, "Is the fish fresh?" No, actually we're really really worried about getting you sick and we need to move that mushy salmon, so you would please order it?

I can see asking, what came in today, if you are at fish restaurant. But, do you seriously expect your wait person to tell you the truth or tell you what he needs to move?

Hathor - I am indeed referring to fish restaurants. We've been touristing Destin for 9 years, and it is amazing how some places that claim to have local fish/seafood will sell you crap (even if you ask). I've learned to always ask.

"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" 

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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My complaints are mostly semantic.

Don't tell me something is artfully prepared. THE WORD "ARTFUL" DOES NOT MEAN "FULL OF ART"! It means "deceptive". Remember the Artful Dodger in Alice and Wonderland? I will not eat something that is deceptively prepared.

Actually, I think you'll find the Artful Dodger is from Oliver Twist. Moreover, my dictionary gives "skilful, clever" as the first definition for "artful," and "crafty, deceitful" as sense 2.

But... it still has nothing to do with art :wink:

Maybe not, but I'm sure runwestierun has nothing against eating food that's skilfully prepared. :wink:

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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Isn't the question "Is the fish fresh?" also designed to find out whether the fish is frozen or if it's actually fresh fish?

Also, I've only ever had change rounded in my favour, not the restaurants. A couple of times in India when the change is Rs.5 or less and they don't have a coin, I have been given a sweet. It kind of annoys me a little, not because of the money, but just because I don't really want a sweet!

My main pet peeve is waiters who are too clingy and ask you how you are every two seconds, especially when you're in the middle of a conversation or if you have your mouthful. I also hate it when someone tries to clear the table when someone at it is still eating.

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From our recent trip to Florida, where I ask every server the same question: which fish or seafood item is the most local and amazingly fresh. Wrong answer #1: "I like . . . ." Wrong answer #2: "We sell a lot of the . . . . ". I want to know what's fresh and local - not what you like to eat and not what you sell a lot of.

Similar pet peeve--at one of my favorite local restaurants, I was stuck between two menu items and asked the server's opinion (on the assumption that the servers have tasted the menu items). She responded with "x item is really popular." I made the mistake of ordering the popular item, which was quite uninspired, and spent the rest of the meal envying my companion's order (which he kindly shared). I love the rest of their menu, but didn't consider the difference between "good" and "popular" until this incident.

Also, the tendency to ask a question on the quality of the meal while everyone has just taken a bite. Do people train servers to do this? It stifles the actual response into a quick nod, getting rid of any potential sharing of information.

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My complaints are mostly semantic.

Don't tell me something is artfully prepared. THE WORD "ARTFUL" DOES NOT MEAN "FULL OF ART"! It means "deceptive". Remember the Artful Dodger in Alice and Wonderland? I will not eat something that is deceptively prepared.

Actually, I think you'll find the Artful Dodger is from Oliver Twist. Moreover, my dictionary gives "skilful, clever" as the first definition for "artful," and "crafty, deceitful" as sense 2.

:wub: <----I am totally pretending that this is the "blushing" emoticon.

I mixed up the Artful Dodger and the Mad Hatter. Wasn't that artful of me?? :laugh:

I don't have any dictionaries here, I only have the web, and we all know you can't believe everything that's written on the web, especially apparently what I write. :wub: <----blushing again.

I thought that even when artful meant skillful or clever, it meant it in the negative sense, skillful as in a skillfully executed con, clever as in deceitful. And the word has ties to the old timey definition of artist, which is closer to con-artist than the meaning of the word today. But it seems I am wrong, and that's what I get for hollering online. :laugh:

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She responded with "x item is really popular."

Mc Donalds is popular. TGI Friday's is popular. Subway is popular.

Maybe popularity is a marker for junky food.

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Lately I've noticed this one (in NY restaurants only so far) - when my "change" arrives, it actually contains no change (coins). I haven't noticed it when dining at tables, only at the bar, and it would bother me less at a table (I realize that servers on the floor may not have access to a register as easily, but a bartender should). I don't really care about 75 cents and that's not what it's about - to me, it smacks of entitlement and laziness. Not a fan.

I do this almost every time I give change but in my defense I always round in favor of the guest. A check presenter full of dimes and nickels is a metallic shower waiting to happen when it get picked up before being opened.

I do use quarters usually, if it is not close to a whole dollar amount.

Sorry, I should clarify: I have no problem with rounding on change. But what's happening here - it's now happened several times at different places - is rounding in the house's favor, not in mine. (For example, the bill is $21.40, I put down $30, and I get back $8.) Again, this is not about the money, and I am far from cheap (really, I swear, I am not cheap). I don't need or want more coins or my 60 cents back. It smacks of presumption on the part of the server to round in their own/the house's favor.

Agreed, that's bad form to say the least.

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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She responded with "x item is really popular."

Mc Donalds is popular. TGI Friday's is popular. Subway is popular.

Maybe popularity is a marker for junky food.

I think more than junky, "popular" menu items, be they foods or drinks, are more of a marker for "safe" items. When people ask me how a "safe" item is that I think is unexciting, I always tell them that it is in fact "popular" (and in all likelyhood artfully executed :raz:) but that I think items x, y, and z are more interesting.

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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My complaints are mostly semantic.

Don't tell me something is artfully prepared. THE WORD "ARTFUL" DOES NOT MEAN "FULL OF ART"! It means "deceptive". Remember the Artful Dodger in Alice and Wonderland? I will not eat something that is deceptively prepared.

Actually, I think you'll find the Artful Dodger is from Oliver Twist. Moreover, my dictionary gives "skilful, clever" as the first definition for "artful," and "crafty, deceitful" as sense 2.

:wub: <----I am totally pretending that this is the "blushing" emoticon.

I mixed up the Artful Dodger and the Mad Hatter. Wasn't that artful of me?? :laugh:

I don't have any dictionaries here, I only have the web, and we all know you can't believe everything that's written on the web, especially apparently what I write. :wub: <----blushing again.

I thought that even when artful meant skillful or clever, it meant it in the negative sense, skillful as in a skillfully executed con, clever as in deceitful. And the word has ties to the old timey definition of artist, which is closer to con-artist than the meaning of the word today. But it seems I am wrong, and that's what I get for hollering online. :laugh:

@Runnwestierun, I guess it's all in the personal interpretation of the word "artful". I would not hesitate to say that, eg. "dcarch's dishes are artfully prepared and presented." Craft as art, no?

(By the way, the :blush: emoticon will show up when you select "show all" at the bottom of the emoticon list.)%^) (that's a grin with glasses)

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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In the bar:

It annoys me when bar staff don't have a basic familiarity with their liquor stock. I can't count the number of times I've asked about their single malt or bourbon selection, only to hear the likes of Johnnie Walker Black or Jack Daniels on the list and frequently topping it. It would be better and faster if they just gave me a drink menu, instead.

I suppose I should stop asking for my whisky neat since a lot of the younger bar staff don't know what the term means. Some aren't even real sure about "straight" either and pour it over ice. "Oh, I thought you meant without Coke."

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Staff who haven't even tried the food and fall over themselves to admit it. I still remember a time over 15 years ago at a casual steakhouse, asking about an item on the menu. The waitress said, with no prompting at all, that she was a vegetarian and had not tried anything except the one lone vegy entree.

Even worse - "I don't like <x>, so I haven't tried it." Had that one thrown at me at a fish place once. "I don't like fish so I can't say!"

If you're going to work at a restaurant where you can't/won't eat the majority of the food, at least put some time into finding out about the various choices so you can answer questions. And if it's a high-end/pricey place? I want the waitstaff to try everything and have the ability to talk intelligently about the choices.

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. . . .

I don't have any dictionaries here, I only have the web, and we all know you can't believe everything that's written on the web, especially apparently what I write.

. . . .

What?! There are the dictionary.com, and Merriam Webster sites, all online. And many others, too, some hilariously inaccurate.

And I nearly forgot: In bars, I sort of hate it when I get the curling lip and hairy eyeball if I request a sweet liqueur. I know, I know, it's considered sort of gauche/tacky, but it's not as though I'm asking the bartender to drink the Mozart liqueur or Creme de Violette. And it's sort of freaky to be watched by bar/waitstaff while drinking, it too, as though I were a particularly unwholesome-looking vagrant drinking cheap cologne straight from the bottle.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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When you go to a casual restaurant, no reservations required, and it's almost empty and the host/hostess decides that all diners want to get cosy and everyone is guided towards the same corner of the restaurant. :wacko:

Edited to fix grammar - sort of.

Edited by Anna N (log)

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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When you go to a casual restaurant, no reservations required, and it's almost empty and the host/hostess decides that all diners want to get cosy and everyone is guided towards the same corner of the restaurant. :wacko:

Edited to fix grammar - sort of.

There is sort of a practical consideration here though--a place that empty is likely to have only one or two servers working, and having all their charges grouped together makes the service more efficient and makes you less likely to get forgotten or overlooked because they are having to detour to your table while the others can all be surveyed with a sweep of the eyes.

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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