A Pleasant Dining Experience
First table of the night walks in and the middle aged couple are seated in my station...
Many waiters use this first table as a barometer of things to come for the evening.
I certainly hope they enjoy their dining experience so I can enjoy my shift, yes I am one of those superstitious waiters indeed.
The waiter assistants aren't yet in from their requisite pre shift joint so I head over with water and the ever precious free bread...
"Well how are we doing tonight?" I ask, meaning the royal we.
The lady gives me that annoyed upper glance that so many librarians once gave me as a child...
So we're off to a good start.
The gentleman looks up smiling and responds with, "Great, how about you?"
Relieved that at least one of them has a soul I go right into my spiel.
"Well I'm doing great, would you care to try a nice glass of our new Pinot Noir to start off with this evening?"
The gentleman pondered for a moment and went with my recommendation.
"Miss, anything for you?" I ask.
"No! I want a lemon for my water." She exclaims.
Very well then.
As I return with the lemon and glass of wine I return to my spiel...
"Well tonight for our featured entrees we have a Mediterranean chicken angel hair tossed with pine nuts, sun dried tomatoes and topped with feta cheese and drizzled with an herb infused olive oil."
Continuing on, "As well we have a baked sesame seed encrusted Rainbow Trout served over a sobe noodle stir fry tossed with shrimp and porcini mushrooms with a cilantro lime oil to complement the entree."
The gentleman orders the trout, the lady responds with, "Don't you have any butter?" As she points at the bread basket.
Glad to see where her priorities lie.
"Certainly miss, would you also care to order?
She rolls her eyes, "What kind of soup do you have?"
"Well today we have cream of asparagus along with Italian wedding soup."
She wrinkles her nose, "I want to try the asparagus."
"Would you like a cup or a bowl?"
"I said I want to try it, not order it."
"Sure," I respond as I do an about face.
The other servers are all lined up like as if they're waiting to be shot, naturally their listening in.
I give them the raspberry and they all start cracking up.
I return with the lady's sample of soup, she tries it and promptly orders a cup.
"What kind of side salads do you have?"
I list off the variety that we offer and the homemade dressing that accompany each one.
She scoffs and asks, "Don't you have any regular salads?"
"How do you mean ma'am?" I ask.
"You know what I mean, lettuce and croutons?"
This warrants a glib remark, "like our caeser?"
"I'll have another wine sir," The gentleman interrupts.
Hell, he needs one alright.
"So no salad then ma'am?"
"I guess not."
So I leave the table with an order of a fantastic feature...
And a cup of soup.
Other tables start to filter in, and luckily the barometer seems to be broken tonight.
Bottles of fine wine abound and I rock out another four features.
Passing my first table I check back on how their dinners are
The gentleman's response, "Oh this is great, I've never had anything like this."
The lady is sitting there stewing with her cup of soup in front of her, "I want a Pepsi."
"Is a Coke going to be ok Ma'am?"
I thought her head was going to explode.
"I want a Pepsi," She repeats.
"Ma'am, we carry Coke products, do you want a Coke?"
Head back and arms wide with expression she exclaims,"Yah, yah, yah, whatever!"
"I'll be right back ma'am."
The gentleman gives me an apologetic look.
Hey, he's got to live with her.
I just get her as my adversary for forty five minutes.
Why a guest, customer or whatever has to take this approach I will never know.
I understand an iceberg salad with ranch and croutons has its place, alongside a club sandwich and the false antiques of a "shit on the wall" restaurant.
Why one would go to a nice restaurant and scoff at the menu is beyond me.
Maybe because it is different?
All I want is a pleasant dining experience for everyone involved.