It started when we stopped at a seemingly authentic seafood restaurant on an authentic stretch of Atlantic coastline.
The special was twin lobsters for a reasonable price.
We ordered those and some other stuff, and when the two crustaceans arrived , I split them with my partner. One lobster each, we reasoned, was enough.
The waitress came bustling over virtually wagging her finger telling me there was “no sharing allowed..that I’d have to pay a “plate fee” if I wanted to split the meal, blah, blah, blah
I argued it was my money, my lobster, my meal. I paid for it and I could what I wanted to with it.
It wasn’t a pleasant scene. The logic was lost on the staff.
They lost a customer, I lost a great day.
Recently I ordered a bowl of soup in another restaurant. It came, minus a roll or bread.
When I asked for some, I was told the soup doesn’t come with bread, but I could buy a basket for something like $1.75.
I didn’t want a basket of bread and I didn’t want to pay for one. I wanted a roll, so I offered to pay twenty-five cents, and they would have a happy customer. “Sorry, Sir. We can’t do that.”
So again, a perfect lose-lose situation for no good reason whatsoever.
So when Zagat came out with its Ten Most Annoying Restaurant Trends and included paying for a bread basket as one of them, I cheered.
As the review powerhouse said, they don’t care how skilled the artisans are who make the bread. Or how many wheat-scything bakers it took to make it, there is no reason to pay for a bread basket.
That got me on a roll, no pun here.
Recently I had dinner at a well-known Italian restaurant chain and had a nice house Chianti with my meal. I asked if I could have half of a second glass.
They shouldn’t have wanted me to have another full glass, given the driving I had yet to do.
And I knew I shouldn’t have a full second glass.
You’d have thought I made the world’s most complex request. After much back and forth, the final answer was “the computer isn’t calibrated to account for a half glass of wine!”
So how dumb is that?
Either I drink too much and they incur a liability. Or I go away as an unsatisfied customer.
And please, if a major restaurant chain can’t calibrate a computer to accommodate something as “odd” as a half-glass of wine, they shouldn’t be in business.
What else annoyed Zagat?
* “Comfort-Food Menus
They’re talking about pretentious, overpriced no-better-than-home “mac and cheese” or a simple breaded pork chop for something like $28.00
• Chalkboard Menus
The acerbic-tongue reviewers at Zagat ask why diners should have to squint at a barely legible chalkboard menu after staring at a computer screen all day. Is it an attempt to fuzzy-up the prices?
• Wyatt Earp Type Bartenders
Zagat has nothing against beards or mustaches, But the fedoras, the mustaches, the suspenders or bartenders are just too much for them.
While we’re at it, how about being in an up-scale food market and asking to use the toilet, only to be told it’s not “for the public.”
Never mind I’m carrying fifty bucks worth of groceries and stuff.
When I explain I’m not a “public,” I’m a customer, there is no recognition, or yielding.
So, I put the groceries back and find the nearest gas station.
Still nothing beats the Village Voice story of the New York chef who, upset that a diner complained that his lobster was raw, stormed out of the kitchen, threw a live lobster on the diner’s table and threw the guests out.
If you want to hear what Zagat says about iceless table water and other gripes, go to the site.