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Restaurant/Bar Annoyances


Rosie

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I don't think it's really about free speech or not

but ugh that would leave a bad taste in my mouth - I wouldn't visit that restaurant again

I prefer to dine out without politics or religion being introduced uninvited!

Then there is a swath of fast food joints that no longer fit the bill. What I can't understand is the restaurant owners alienating such a large portion of their market. I'm Mr. Lefty Liberal, but when I open my place, I'm not going to call it the "Gun Control, Socialized Medicine, Free Speech, Gay Rights, Sex-Ed, Tax-the-Rich Bar and Grill for Atheists and Agnostics." If you want people's business, make your place as uncontroversial as possible. I'll bet Papa John's, Chic-Fil-A, Darden Group and all the rest are feeling the pinch of a ticked-off market.

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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A sort-of complaint would be servers who decide to confide in me while I'm eating. I'm talking about complete strangers, here.

It's happened several times, usually when the restaurant was very quiet. And while I'm always glad to hear all about your private life/personal philosophy/that your disease yielded to treatment/turned out not to be an STD, maybe at least wait until bringing the coffee to unburden yourself? Some of these revelations do not really enhance the experience of eating actual food. Over coffee, I'm cool with hearing all about your happily resolved impetigo.

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

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Had a server last night who demanded that I not look up the on-line drink menu on my phone, because the one I was handed was completely different from the one I'd looked at before I arrived, and the on-line one had an ingredient that intrigued me so I wanted to ask about it. His shitty attitude ruined the entire evening for me (and the cold, dried out pork belly and uninspired ghocchi served without a change of silver didn't help). But then, this pretentious place was empty on a Friday night, so I guess that tells me all I need to know.

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

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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Mine is this. They say to me "Would you like a drink before dinner?" I order my cocktail and get it and right away they want me to order. I do and before you know it I get an app. yes, I like my drink BEFORE dinner. I love my manhatthan but don't really like it while I am eating. Before dinner, means before dinner. If they are in that big a hurry to turn the table don't aske me about a drink before dinner, ask me if I want it WITH dinner

Wow, I could have written that, your experience (including the drink ordered) and reaction would match mine *exactly* in various places!

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It's a fair question in restaurants where the menu structure is not intuitive. I've eaten in many restaurants, but even still, I find menus where, for example, there's no clear division between appetizers and mains, and so I have to ask the service staff for guidance on putting together a meal that will be neither too big nor too small. (I'm looking at you, Black Hoof.)

Obviously, if the menu is structured like most menus, this question can certainly come across as patronizing. Then, at the high end, you've got restaurants where the computer system can tell them whether or not you've been there before, so they can greet you appropriately with "welcome" or "welcome back". wink.gif

I wonder if people who have never eaten at, oh let's say Eleven Madison Park (and have not extensively researched it or read about its idiosyncrasies) would know exactly what to do when presented with the "menu" without another word from the server. :smile:

http://eater.com/archives/2010/09/08/eleven-madison-parks-new-minimalist-menu.php

http://willtravelforfood.com/2011/05/24/eleven-madison-park-new-york-restaurant/

http://www.mission-food.com/2012/04/eleven-madison-park-quintessential-new.html

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I'm in China and last night I went out alone for a late supper in my local restaurant.

.

.

(lots of wondrously bad experiences)

.

.

I pay and leave.

Wow, that's pretty bad.

Still, I think the "standing by the table waiting for your order" scenario is not uncommon in various Chinese cuisine type restaurants in SE Asia too, especially the more informal/"dai pai dong"/"dai chow" type of places. (Have you observed the same in other places in China?) At least at one time. The idea was that the server would answer questions you had while you read the menu (or looked at the menu on the walls) and would take your order as soon as possible etc. There were also places where there *wasn't* a formal menu as such and the server was the conduit to whatever was available that day.

But, of course, that did not seem to be the case for you. Was this at a "high-end" place?

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Bartenders that don't know how to strain a drink. Using the two parts of a boston shaker to strain my drink, allowing large chunks of ice to plop into my drink that is supposed to be served up is annoying as shit.

...Or bartenders who don't understand what I mean (or refuse to remember) when I specifically request "stirred, not shaken". I've sent drinks back before (and gotten death stares) when I get a practically fizzy and completely opaque (with bubbles) Manhattan, for example, that's actually foamy on top.

Edited by huiray (log)
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I don't think it's really about free speech or not

but ugh that would leave a bad taste in my mouth - I wouldn't visit that restaurant again

I prefer to dine out without politics or religion being introduced uninvited!

I would view it as proselytizing being forced on me. I don't have a choice to refuse the piece of paper on which this is written, I *have* to accept it (the check) and read it to settle my legal financial obligations with the dining establishment, as opposed to refusing the literature some corner evangelist or door-to-door Jehovah's Witness person tries to hand to me.

Oh, don't forget that hamburger chain called In-n-Out...

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(edit): P.S. Restaurants that allow - and in fact encourage - patrons to eat dinner at the bar. The bar is for drinking, and ideally for having a drink while you're waiting to be seated. It's often not appetizing to be having a cocktail while two people are chowing down next to you, and it seems to force the bartenders to play dual roles that don't go well together.

This comment opens a big can of worms. There are plenty of people who when dining alone, like to dine at the bar. The bar is for drinking, I agree, but when it's in a restaurant, it's for eating too.

A fairly recent development though, wouldn't you agree?

For solo diners, I guess I see the point. Filling up the whole bar with eaters, as if it were an extension of the restaurant, really kills the vibe in most instances.

A truly great restaurant would make a solo diner at a two-top feel at home. In France, it's never been a problem... and frequently been the rule.

I'm not sure it's that recent a development.

In the US it is a very common tactic, both willing and unwilling, and on either the part of the restaurant or the diner. In many cases the restaurant even refuses to seat solo diners except at the bar. I've had all sorts of experiences with dining-at-the-bar and/or dining-at-a-table in various places both high-end and mid- to low-end as I eat as a solo diner very frequently. I can see the issue from your point of view but in many cases your gripe should be with the management, not the diner. Solo diners at bars also run the whole range from sour-and-dour to lively conversationalists with others at the bar - so perhaps you may have only come across the sour-and-dour ones?

Edited by huiray (log)
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Not much more to add to the extensive lists of pet peeves about restaurant/bar experiences. Heh.

Nevertheless, one thing that I haven't seen called out is making out at a table in the restaurant. I don't mean a quick caress or a simple kiss. I mean full-on snogging. I have seen this before and it was all I could do to repress the urge to go over to the table and tell them to "find a room". One particularly bad occurrence I observed was at a table in the middle of a (mid-range, Chinese) restaurant where said snogging was being conducted largely by a young lady who did not appear to be the wife of the gentleman diner who did not seem to mind the attentions being lavished on him. Ick.

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Its just a kid doing something she felt was important. Nobody but the restaurant was injured.

My blood pressure did rise a bit when I saw it, but I ended up coming down on the side of "mild annoyance" rather than taking real offense. The girl was very young - maybe it was her first job. And the restaurant is one where I've been a regular for years, and nothing like that has ever happened before. I ended up writing an email to the management, suggesting that they mention to her that preaching via cash register slip is inappropriate.

"There is nothing like a good tomato sandwich now and then."

-Harriet M. Welsch

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Still, I think the "standing by the table waiting for your order" scenario is not uncommon in various Chinese cuisine type restaurants in SE Asia too, especially the more informal/"dai pai dong"/"dai chow" type of places. (Have you observed the same in other places in China?

..

Was this at a "high-end" place?

Yes, it is the norm in China. Doesn't make it any less irritating, though.

It is a middle of the road kind of place, although they do this at all levels..

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

"No amount of evidence will ever persuade an idiot"
Mark Twain

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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  • 2 weeks later...

Mine is this. They say to me "Would you like a drink before dinner?" I order my cocktail and get it and right away they want me to order. I do and before you know it I get an app. yes, I like my drink BEFORE dinner. I love my manhatthan but don't really like it while I am eating. Before dinner, means before dinner. If they are in that big a hurry to turn the table don't aske me about a drink before dinner, ask me if I want it WITH dinner

Wow, I could have written that, your experience (including the drink ordered) and reaction would match mine *exactly* in various places!

Yes, yes, yes. Same for me as well. Including the Manhattan!!! With such a civilized beverage order you'd think it would be easier to back the pace off one notch, but then the marching orders probably aren't written by the wait staff...

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Restaurant/Bar Annoyances?

After so many bad experiences, I stay away from restaurants and bars.

~Martin

~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

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Its just a kid doing something she felt was important. Nobody but the restaurant was injured.

My blood pressure did rise a bit when I saw it, but I ended up coming down on the side of "mild annoyance" rather than taking real offense. The girl was very young - maybe it was her first job. And the restaurant is one where I've been a regular for years, and nothing like that has ever happened before. I ended up writing an email to the management, suggesting that they mention to her that preaching via cash register slip is inappropriate.

Why would the waitress giving you a blessing make your blood pressure rise? Would you object if the setting were different? More ethinic or some such?

I'd certainly rather have a nice young lady wish me a blessed day than listen to servers throwing around swear words within earshot of the guests.

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So you'd be hunky dory with a restaurant server writing on your check, "There is no God but God and Muhammad is His Prophet"? That wouldn't make you raise an eyebrow? I don't care to be preached to in any venue, and I certainly don't think it's appropriate to write religious messages on a restaurant check. I'm not one of those folks who holds it against people when they wish me a Merry Christmas, but particularly at this time of year being part of a religious minority is... well, kind of tiring.

"There is nothing like a good tomato sandwich now and then."

-Harriet M. Welsch

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It's not a question of being secure. This person was not telling me to "have a blessed day". She was instructing me to be faithful in prayer, which since I have no faith and do not pray is hardly relevant to my situation.

Would you be all mellow and hackle-free if a restaurant server had, in early November, scrawled on the top of your check "Vote Obama!" I mean, it's just someone sharing their beliefs, something they think is important, how could that be inappropriate?

"There is nothing like a good tomato sandwich now and then."

-Harriet M. Welsch

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