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Dress for a 'fine" dining experience in America

kennethpollock

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My wife and I went to Bacchanalia on July 7 to celebrate our anniversary. It is Atlanta's most popular "fine" restaurant; the only one that is full every night. Both Seeger's and The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton of Buckhead are considerably better, but are not well known, perhaps because they cost about 1/3 more. We went to Baccanalia because we had been to Seeger's and The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton more recently. Dinner for two at Bacchanalia, with a modest bottle of wine, runs about $250.
There has always been something about that place that I have not liked; maybe it is the California "attitude." Both owner/chefs, a married couple, are from there. The hosts dress very badly, as in California. More disturbing to me is the appearance of the place; it is in an old warehouse, which in many respects still looks like an old warehouse. The yellow tiled walls make me shudder; too much like my old high school cafeteria from the 1950's.
The dinner was pretty good; the cheese from the cheese board was excellent, as was the plate of charcuterie. Desserts were weak. The waiter was quite chatty, like he was waiting on very inexperienced dinners at first, but at least he did not tell us his name. The wine list was quite short, but most around us seemed to be drinking wine by the glass. The sommelier was surprised by my silver plated French wicker wine basket, but pleasantly so. He remarked that it made the wine much easier to pour and was quite elegant. When we finished our wine, he took the basket away briefly to show it to some others.
Overall, the experience just lacked something for me. I am 90% sure it was mostly the dress of the other men. Of the 45-50 men there, I was the only one in a coat and tie. Two wore ties, but no jacket (weird). About 5-6 wore jackets, but no tie [corrected] (a look that I personally detest). The rest were in open collar shirts, about 50-50 between long and short sleeves, with about 1/2 of the short sleeves being knits. When I told my friend E*****t (banned) about this, he asked if I made several trips to the men's roon to vomit. I did not. I am gertting used to this look in America. At least there were no caps.
As usual in such places, however, about 40-50% of the women were quite well dressed, in cocktail dresses.They certainly did not "match" their dates. I am not sure of the reason for this.
The waiter asked if we wanted champagne to begin, but I passed as the guy at the next table was in short sleeves. Champagne just seemed wrong in such an atmosphere.
Comments?
 

Violinist

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Originally Posted by kennethpollock
My wife and I went to Baccanalia in on July 7 to celebrate our anniversary. It is Atlanta's most popular "fine" restaurant; the only one that is full every night. Both Seeger's and The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton of Buckhead are considerably better, but are not well known, perhaps because they cost about 1/3 more. We went to Baccanalia because we had been to Seeger's and The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton more recently. Dinner for two at Baccanalia, with a modest bottle of wine runs about $250.
There has always been something about that place that I have not liked; maybe it is the California "attitude." Both owner/chefs, a married couple, are from there. The hosts dress very badly, as in California. More disturbing to me is the appearance of the place; it is in an old warehouse, which in many respects still looks like an old warehouse. The yellow tiled walls make me shudder; too much like my old high school cafeteria from the 1950's.
The dinner was pretty good; the cheese from the cheese board was excellent, as was the plate of charcuterie. Desserts were weak. The waiter was quite chatty, like he was waiting on very inexperienced dinners at first, but at least he did not tell us his name. The wine list was quite short, but most around us seemed to be drinking wine by the glass. The sommelier was surprised by my silver plated French wicker wine basket, but pleasantly so. He remarked that it made the wine much easier to pour and was quite elegant. When we finished our wine, he took the basket away briefly to show it to some others.
Overall, the experience just lacked something for me. I am 90% sure it was mostly the dress of the other men. Of the 45-50 men there, I was the only one in a coat and tie. Two wore ties, but no jacket (weird). About 5-6 wore jackets, but no coat (a look that I personally detest). The rest were in open collar shirts, about 50-50 between long and short sleeves, with about 1/2 of the short sleeves being knits. When I told my friend E*****t (banned) about this, he asked if I made several trips to the men's roon to vomit. I did not. I am gertting used to this look in America. At least there were no caps.
As usual in such places, however, about 40-50% of the women were quite well dressed, in cocktail dresses.They certainly did not "match" their dates. I am not sure of the reason for this.
The waiter asked if we wanted champagne to begin, but I passed as the guy at the next table was in short sleeves. Champagne just seemed wrong in such an atmosphere.
Comments?


Do you mean 5-6 wore jackets without ties?

In a place of fine dining, that is a bit uncouth, but not a major offence. It wouldn't have bothered me so much.
 

tiger02

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Originally Posted by kennethpollock
About 5-6 wore jackets, but no coat (a look that I personally detest).
I think we all know where this thread is headed, so I'll just ask about the above comment. Isn't July in Atlanta a bit warm for a coat worn over the jacket?
 

Stax

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Originally Posted by kennethpollock
The waiter asked if we wanted champagne to begin, but I passed as the guy at the next table was in short sleeves.
You're joking, right?
 

Bouji

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Tiger02, I assume KP means coat as in the jacket part of the suit; if you mean a coat as in a full length or 3/4 length coat, I cannot see where he is coming from because having a coat in addition to one's suit jacket is NOT a step up in formality.
Whence KP says "About 5-6 wore jackets, but no coat (a look that I personally detest)." I can only assume that he means a jacket without lapels, i.e. not a suit jacket, but I'm just speculating, as this seems the only logical answer. Correct me if I'm wrong KP.
Now my comments on KP's original post, which are based on the above assumptions.
It seems, Mr. Pollock that it is another case of what I said to you last time, which is, if you expect something, the least you can do is do it yourself. In this I am referring to the fact that you wore a short sleeve shirt. I know everyone has their own preference, but short sleeve shirts are something I hate with a passion, with ties, now that's sartorially malignant. Personally, I could not care less that the person on the next table is wearing it; it’s just something I’d never wear. I think this comes down to preference, but for me a shirt with no tie is much less offensive than a short sleeve shirt with a tie. A short sleeve shirt with no tie, now that’s vile… but it gets worse, a polo shirt with a suit, I cannot stand this.
Another thing I find odd in what you say is that you want people to wear a tie, now personally, with the exception of the Ritz Palm Room (and I mean this as the only exception, not even Clairidge’s or the Dorchester come into this category) I would not wear a standard tie to a social dinner (for example with a date or friends – if I’m with clients or colleagues, it’s a different matter altogether), perhaps if it was a particularly formal restaurant, such as Gordon Ramsay on Royal Hospital Road, Drones, or Mirabelle, I am likely to wear a cravat or bow-tie, but a standard tie, I think is so ill fitting to the situation, and really makes the person look like a fool, again not that I really care what other diners are wearing – though my servers, that’s another matter. Moreover, due to the lack of air conditioning in many places in the UK, the other types of tie would become optional in the summer, their use (or not) depending on my mood.
Most of all, I would like to re-iterate that I really don’t care what other diners are wearing, within reason, of course ‘a cap’ or sportswear are unacceptable in my opinion.
 

Tomasso

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Originally Posted by Violinist
Do you mean 5-6 wore jackets without ties?

I'm guessing KP meant jacket without a collared shirt, worn with a t-shirt.
 

kennethpollock

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Originally Posted by Stax
You're joking, right?


Not really. I love champagne, but when I eat out at an expensive place, my attention is not fixed entirely on my plate or my guests, alone. I do not think think of eating as taking on fuel, or even good quality fuel, in the company of friends. I look rather outward and aspire to find a degree of grandeur in the entire experience; beautiful surroundings, proper service, beautifully dressed and well-behaved guests, etc. It all adds to the over-all aura I am interested in achieving; unfortunately, more and more an impossible dream. Champagne fits in perfectly with the experience I am seeking. It is ridiculously expensive ($15-18 and up per glass), but worth it when I see a chance for a perfect or near-perfect evening. When its VERY obvious to me that I am not going to come even close, such as seeing the guy at the next table in short sleeves or sandals, I usually omit it.
Sorry for the error above, I meant jacket and tie.

Bouji said:
It seems, Mr. Pollock that it is another case of what I said to you last time, which is, if you expect something, the least you can do is do it yourself. In this I am referring to the fact that you wore a short sleeve shirt. QUOTE]

Is this a joke? I do not wear short sleeve shirts with a suit. I was wearing my A&S DB navy pinstripe suit, a pale blue Lewin (okay, clearly not the best) "luxury edition" cutaway collar shirt, "Dunheel" links selected by you know who, a T&A tie, and very lightweight-looking semi-brogues I bought at Cleverley two years ago (not C&J; I think they are EG).
 

kennethpollock

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Bouji said:
Another thing I find odd in what you say is that you want people to wear a tie, now personally, with the exception of the Ritz Palm Room (and I mean this as the only exception, not even Clairidge’s or the Dorchester come into this category) I would not wear a standard tie to a social dinner (for example with my wife or friends – if I’m with clients or colleagues, it’s a different matter altogether), perhaps if it was a particularly formal restaurant, such as Gordon Ramsay on Royal Hospital Road, Drones, or Mirabelle, I am likely to wear a cravat or bow-tie, but a standard tie, I think is so ill fitting to the situation, and really makes the person look like a fool, again not that I really care what other diners are wearing – though my servers, that’s another matter. Moreover, due to the lack of air conditioning in many places in the UK, the other types of tie would become optional in the summer, their use (or not) depending on my mood.
QUOTE]

Is this serious? I have eaten at the Gordon Ramsay in Claridges (where nearly everyone wore a tie) and but not at the Gordon Ramsay on Royal Hospital Road or at Mirabelle.
Drones (opened by David Niven's son but taken over by Marco Pierre White) did not seem especially dressy. When we ate there, we sat next to a local couple. The woman was talking loudly on her mobile phone. Her husband wore jeans; no coat, no tie. The woman's outfit showed 3-4 inches of bare middrift, which was made even worse by the fact that she was 6-7 months pregnant.
 

matadorpoeta

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Originally Posted by kennethpollock
Not really. I love champagne, but when I eat out at an expensive place, my attention is not fixed entirely on my plate or my guests, alone. I do not think think of eating as taking on fuel, or even good quality fuel, in the company of friends. I look rather outward and aspire to find a degree of grandeur in the entire experience; beautiful surroundings, proper service, beautifully dressed and well-behaved guests, etc. It all adds to the over-all aura I am interested in achieving; unfortunately, more and more an impossible dream. Champagne fits in perfectly with the experience I am seeking. It is ridiculously expensive ($15-18 and up per glass), but worth it when I see a chance for a perfect or near-perfect evening. When its VERY obvious to me that I am not going to come even close, such as seeing the guy at the next table in short sleeves or sandals, I usually omit it.

i'm with you on this. however, didn't you say you had been there before? you knew what to expect there, no?

i wouldn't expect a restaurant with a warehouse ambience to require a jacket and tie.

btw,
a friend of mine moved to seattle a few years ago and was fired from his job within a few weeks. the boss said he had a "california attitude." what does this mean?
 

stach

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Originally Posted by matadorpoeta

btw,
a friend of mine moved to seattle a few years ago and was fired from his job within a few weeks. the boss said he had a "california attitude." what does this mean?


Seattle people have an intense dislike for Californians.
 

kennethpollock

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Originally Posted by matadorpoeta
i'm with you on this. however, didn't you say you had been there before? you knew what to expect there, no?

i wouldn't expect a restaurant with a warehouse ambience to require a jacket and tie.

btw,
a friend of mine moved to seattle a few years ago and was fired from his job within a few weeks. the boss said he had a "california attitude." what does this mean?


I had been there 8-10 times before, but the dress had never been this bad. Usually, in the past, about 1/2 in coat and tie. Things are sinking. Not a single restaurant in Atlanta requires both any longer. The Ritz and Seegers reccomend a coat, but do not require them.
Like pornography, I recognize the California attitude when I see it, but it is hard to describe it, other than for the terrible dress (flipflops with a suit), the dyed blond hair and overuse of the word "awesome."
 

Bouji

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kennethpollock said:
Not really. I love champagne, but when I eat out at an expensive place, my attention is not fixed entirely on my plate or my guests, alone. I do not think think of eating as taking on fuel, or even good quality fuel, in the company of friends. I look rather outward and aspire to find a degree of grandeur in the entire experience; beautiful surroundings, proper service, beautifully dressed and well-behaved guests, etc. It all adds to the over-all aura I am interested in achieving; unfortunately, more and more an impossible dream. Champagne fits in perfectly with the experience I am seeking. It is ridiculously expensive ($15-18 and up per glass), but worth it when I see a chance for a perfect or near-perfect evening. When its VERY obvious to me that I am not going to come even close, such as seeing the guy at the next table in short sleeves or sandals, I usually omit it.
Sorry for the error above, I meant jacket and tie.

Originally Posted by Bouji
It seems, Mr. Pollock that it is another case of what I said to you last time, which is, if you expect something, the least you can do is do it yourself. In this I am referring to the fact that you wore a short sleeve shirt. QUOTE]

Is this a joke? I do not wear short sleeve shirts with a suit. I was wearing my A&S DB navy pinstripe suit, a pale blue Lewin (okay, clearly not the best) "luxury edition" cutaway collar shirt, "Dunheel" links selected by you know who, a T&A tie, and very lightweight-looking semi-brogues I bought at Cleverley two years ago (not C&J; I think they are EG).


It is certainly not a joke, and untill you edited your 1st post, it read that you were wearing a short-sleeve shirt, so what else am I supposed to think?
 

Bouji

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kennethpollock said:
Originally Posted by Bouji
Another thing I find odd in what you say is that you want people to wear a tie, now personally, with the exception of the Ritz Palm Room (and I mean this as the only exception, not even Clairidge's or the Dorchester come into this category) I would not wear a standard tie to a social dinner (for example with my wife or friends - if I'm with clients or colleagues, it's a different matter altogether), perhaps if it was a particularly formal restaurant, such as Gordon Ramsay on Royal Hospital Road, Drones, or Mirabelle, I am likely to wear a cravat or bow-tie, but a standard tie, I think is so ill fitting to the situation, and really makes the person look like a fool, again not that I really care what other diners are wearing - though my servers, that's another matter. Moreover, due to the lack of air conditioning in many places in the UK, the other types of tie would become optional in the summer, their use (or not) depending on my mood.
QUOTE]

Is this serious? I have eaten at the Gordon Ramsay in Claridges (where nearly everyone wore a tie) and but not at the Gordon Ramsay on Royal Hospital Road or at Mirabelle.
Drones (opened by David Niven's son but taken over by Marco Pierre White) did not seem especially dressy. When we ate there, we sat next to a local couple. The woman was talking loudly on her mobile phone. Her husband wore jeans; no coat, no tie. The woman's outfit showed 3-4 inches of bare middrift, which was made even worse by the fact that she was 6-7 months pregnant.


First of all, I cannot understand why you tell me who Drones is owned by. I was born and brought up in this part London, so I don't know whether you are trying to sound like a smart-alec, or belittle me, but I'm well aware of it.
Second, the word 'dressy' in London at least, eshews an huge desire to fit in, and basically that's what you are doing by wearing a tie - trying too hard to fit in, when actually the only people wearing ties are tourists (especially American ones) or people on business, esp. at places like Clairidge's. Real Londoners rarley go to such tourist dungs, that's not to say Claridge's is bad, but Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's is nothing but a cheap rip off of Royal Hospital Road - you'd do better eating at Boxwood.
I don't know why I bother actually, you praise us Europeans, but when a native tells you how things actually are, you shun me... that's fine by me, but don't make sterotypes about us, which do not exist. It is true that in Europe our wait staff do not introduce themself, they know how to pour wine, and things are a little different. However, when you say that we wear ties for things other than business, I'm lost...
 

Bradford

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Wait - you brought your own wine basket? Why?
 

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