or Connect
Styleforum › Forums › Culture › Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel › US waiters' worst conduct
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

US waiters' worst conduct - Page 16

post #226 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by iammatt
I was at Taillevent in Paris and the (American) couple next to us ordered their wine. The sommolier suggested that they might not want the wind that they selected as it was a very particular wine. They (rudely) said that they wanted it, and disregarded his suggestion. When the wine came, they decided that they did not like it after all, and sent it back. The sommolier took it back, but the whole exchange was really ugly.

I agree that you should not send a wine back unless the condition of the wine is poor.

I agree with your take on the above story. The couple should have taken the sommelier's advice. That's what he's there for, after all.

However, the flip side is that people are often intimidated by wine selection in restaurants. They will suffer through a bad bottle rather than say something to the sommelier or waiter (for fear of ridicule or being labeled "unsophisticated"). If you think a bottle is bad, you should [politely] say something to your server, even though this can be embarrassing.
post #227 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by Violinist
Why do you still present the cork? It's pretty useless to smell it, and won't all corks have some bit of moisture?

You don't smell the cork. That's one of those old wives tales regarding wine, it won't tell you anything. You check for moisture because if it isn't, the wine might have been stored improperly, leading to leakage and bad wine. Doesn't happen as often these days, but there is a risk. Ideally, the wine should be laid on its side, turned periodically.
post #228 of 538
in october 04 there was a good thread discussing wine tasting. I have no idea how to find it, but if anybody who is more techonologically abled wants to try, it may be fun.
post #229 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by life_interrupts
You don't smell the cork. That's one of those old wives tales regarding wine, it won't tell you anything. You check for moisture because if it isn't, the wine might have been stored improperly, leading to leakage and bad wine. Doesn't happen as often these days, but there is a risk. Ideally, the wine should be laid on its side, turned periodically.

Put it up to your ear, shake it a litlle and put on a look of concentration. Then smile at the S. and say "Sounds good to me!"
post #230 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by life_interrupts
You don't smell the cork. That's one of those old wives tales regarding wine, it won't tell you anything. You check for moisture because if it isn't, the wine might have been stored improperly, leading to leakage and bad wine. Doesn't happen as often these days, but there is a risk. Ideally, the wine should be laid on its side, turned periodically.

I disagree. Smelling the mirror of the cork might not tell you every time a wine is bouchonné or has been subjected to a number of diseases and bacteria, but it can give you a pretty darn good indication a good deal of the time, at least in my experience. That pretty much stands to reason.
post #231 of 538
Most of the wines I have found worthy to be sent back were discovered through smelling, not tasting. Best to do make a decision after a sniff, too, as the nose acclimates to TCA fairly quickly.
post #232 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by matadorpoeta
this was discussed toward the beginning of this thread.

Oh, several times.

Oddly enough, that hasn't stayed the flood of complaints about the same "waiter offences".

Has it?
post #233 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fabienne
Wow, i had never thought of that, thanks for clearing things up for me.


No problem!

But do feel free to keep right on complaining about those pushy waiters.

Hey, if they were worthy of your consideration they wouldn't be waiting tables, would they?
post #234 of 538
Thread Starter 
It appears to me that some of the posters on this thread, mainly ex-waiters, really do not have much knowledge as to this topic, other than their own limited personal ones, because they have not been fortunate enough to have eaten in many of America’s grandest restaurants, nor have they traveled outside this country much.
So to sum up this disagreement between the two “camps,” it appears that there is basic agreement that the service at the finest USA restaurants (French Laundry, Jean-George, Le Bernardin, etc.), along with many ethnic establishments where use of English is limited, is pretty much like all European restaurants, in that waiters do not exhibit the behavior I have complained about. It also seems pretty much admitted that my claim that 30-40 years ago, any other type of behavior was virtually unknown here, too.
So, it seems that it is acknowledged that the behavior that I dislike stems from “studies” that giant restaurant chains have done about what appeals to, or could be fostered upon, middle-American and lower types of customers (not the French Laundry, Jean-George, Le Bernardin, etc. type of patron), to put them at ease to some extent, but perhaps most importantly, get them to order more and out more quickly (increase “volume”), and thereby increase profits.
We are down to a disagreement as to whether the former type of service (at the finest USA restaurants, European restaurants and in all USA restaurants in former times) which I will hereinafter call the Old-Europe Service (“OES”) is right and whether the treatment that giant restaurant chains foster on everyone, because they assume them to be terrified hicks, which I will call giant chains’ hick service (“GCHS”) is wrong.
I am not kidding. I submit that it is wrong to offer GCHS to the giant restaurant chains’ customers. More money usually buys better things and better service. Since French Laundry, Jean-George, Le Bernardin, etc. cost more, it is apparent that the OES that they offer is “better” service. So why cannot everyone get the OES treatment? If you think that the middle-American and lower types of customers do not deserve the OES treatment that the richer and more sophisticated customers at French Laundry, Jean-George, Le Bernardin, etc. receive, I submit that you are a snob. Giant restaurant chains deserve to be continually criticized for putting increased “volume” and increased profits ahead of having their waiters give everyone the OES treatment that the richer and more sophisticated customers in this nation receive.
I wrote the BOR to try to end this problem. If thousands would copy it, or something similiar, and leave it behind at restaurants that offend; or orally complain to management, things might improve.


DINERS’ BILL OF RIGHTS
I promise to show up at the restaurant promptly at the time of my reservation, to dress impeccably, to use proper table manners, to talk softly and to pay my bill. I will also use appropriate dining customs. This means, among other things, that I will not order “blush” wine, will not eat from my companion’s plate, or ask to take the leftovers home (ill-mannered, shocking and the most boorish thing which Americans commonly do in restaurants). In return, I ask that the staff of the restaurant also behave properly. This means that:

a)\tNo one will tell me my waiter’s first name. This is never done in sophisticated countries. It is too familiar and smacks of hyped phony friendliness and the “hard sell” techniques taught by Amway and Tupperware.

b)\tNo one will address my guests, or me, as: “folks,” nor my female companions as “guys.” “Folks” means commoners and is demeaning to the guest, even if he or she is common. The term “guys” simply does not refer to women. To inquire if the guest is "still working on that” is contemptible.

c)\tNo one will ask if I have any questions about the menu. Waiters, unless told otherwise, should assume
the guest to be a regular patron and/or knowledgeable about food. To assume otherwise is demeaning.

d)\tWhile we are on the subject of menus, fine restaurants, in sophisticated countries, do not offer green
salad. Obviously, one should not visit a fine restaurant, with a skilled and inventive chef, to order such an extremely simple dish. Instead, an experienced diner selects, as an appetizer, one of the more challenging and unusual dishes the chef prepares. Grand restaurants offer luxury items like foie gras, truffles, caviar, lobster, etc., among the appetizers. Additionally, sophisticated diners drink wine with their appetizers. The vinegar in salad dressing ‘fights” with wine. However, if one just must have a salad, it is incorrect to eat it at the beginning of the meal, when the diner is hungriest and his palate is already fresh. Instead, it is acceptable to eat a salad, after the main course, but before the cheese course, to refresh the palate.

e)\tAgain, while we are on the subject of menus, the word “entree” is a French word, meaning to “come in” or “enter.” It is also used on the menu in France, and in every other country, except this one, to mean, obviously, the “entering” dish, or the appetizer Doubt this? See over for bills from two Paris restaurants. Long ago, someone simply made a mistake in this county, in thinking “entree” meant the main course. Now we seem to be stuck with the improper use of the word. It is not feasible to try to correct the entire American public as to its error. Nor is it possible to try to explain this American mistake to the rest of the world. However, now that we get a few foreign visitors, restaurants should avoid the confusion that the use of the word results in. Restaurants should simply leave the term “entree” off the menu. Waiters should be instructed to use the words “appetizer” and “main course” or “main dish,” instead of mentioning the word “entree.”

f)\tTypical American mistakes concerning wine should be avoided:
1)\tIn the U.S., white wines are usually served too cold, and red ones too warm. Fine red wines are served at room temperature, but the room in question is the wine cellar, which is not more than 55 degrees. Young, lighter reds, like Beaujolais, are always served slightly chilled.
2)\tThe wine cork is never placed on the table or given to the guest. After checking it, the waiter should put it in his pocket or drop it into the ice bucket.
3)\tWines bottles are properly held at the bottom. Waiters should avoid placing the palm of their hand against the side of the bottle, as that warms it.
4)\tFine red wines are decanted or are served from a wine basket or a wine rack. The bottle is not simply placed upright on the table. A napkin is never tied around the neck of the wine bottle.

g)\tIn civilized countries, coffee after dinner means espresso, never weak American-style coffee. Cappuccino or coffee with milk is only properly served early in the day. Expresso, being too strong to accompany food, is always served after the guest has completed his dessert, neither before, nor with the dessert.

h)\tThe bill or check is not presented with the dessert, or with the coffee, or at any time before the diner requests it. To do otherwise, is to make the guest feel rushed.


YOUR MISTAKES HIGHLIGHTED IN YELLOW; YOUR SCORE ____________________
post #235 of 538
The very best service I have received anywhere in the world was at Don Alphonso 1891 in San Agata dei Due Golfi on the Amalfi Coast of Italy. It's not even close--they went out of their way to seat operationexpat and me when we showed up underdressed () and without a reservation, brought us into the library after the meal for a spot of homemade limoncello, invited us to their jazz bar in Positano, drove us to the bus stop on the edge of town, and then went back and picked up the shopping bag we had forgotten. This is a Michelin 2 star restaurant, second most expensive meal I've eaten. The hostess, manager, and waiter all introduced themselves by name; the sommelier did not. The specials were all printed in the menu and the waiter was happy to answer all questions--genesis and minutiae of ingredients, complementary dishes, translation of fish names. My memory is a bit hazy but I believe they referred to us as 'amici.'

That's my ideal of service.
Tom
post #236 of 538
How comfortable do Americans in general feel about complaining, though? (Re: post before Tom's)
post #237 of 538
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiger02
This is a Michelin 2 star restaurant, second most expensive meal I've eaten. The hostess, manager, and waiter all introduced themselves by name;

I simply do not believe this. Michelin would strip it of the stars if it knew this.
post #238 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiger02
The very best service I have received anywhere in the world was at Don Alphonso 1891 in San Agata dei Due Golfi on the Amalfi Coast of Italy. It's not even close--they went out of their way to seat operationexpat and me when we showed up underdressed () and without a reservation, brought us into the library after the meal for a spot of homemade limoncello, invited us to their jazz bar in Positano, drove us to the bus stop on the edge of town, and then went back and picked up the shopping bag we had forgotten. This is a Michelin 2 star restaurant, second most expensive meal I've eaten. The hostess, manager, and waiter all introduced themselves by name; the sommelier did not. The specials were all printed in the menu and the waiter was happy to answer all questions--genesis and minutiae of ingredients, complementary dishes, translation of fish names. My memory is a bit hazy but I believe they referred to us as 'amici.'

That's my ideal of service.
Tom

Italian restaurants can be amazing that way, a mixture of what one might term familiarity and professionalism. We were recently in Italy and, with a young child, you can just imagine how gaga they all went over him. We also had other customers come over to our table to talk to the kid.
post #239 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennethpollock
I simply do not believe this. Michelin would strip it of the stars if it knew this.
I don't remember the others, but the manager's name is Mario; he is Don Alphonso's son. He ties the greatest four-in-hand on the face of the planet.
post #240 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennethpollock
I simply do not believe this. Michelin would strip it of the stars if it knew this.

That level of "family atmosphere" is certainly not unheard of in French 2 star restaurants, and Michelin lets them keep their stars...
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
Styleforum › Forums › Culture › Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel › US waiters' worst conduct