Unsettling practice at Aqua
- Mrs. Smith
At a recent visit to Aqua (I will never willingly go back because I didn't like the food, though I know there are many adherents) I watched two of our party at our table of six became victims of a strange waitstaff policy. Mr. Smith ordered the lobster pot pie and had to lean out of the way to have the server unmold the pie and arrange it on the pastry for him. I had never seen this done in any restaurant, at home or abroad. I'd seen this sort of at-the-table-prep done at a small stand by the table, but never at the actual place of the person eating the entree. Another guest at our table had some sort of salad chopped up and arranged on his plate. It was very uncomfortable, to have to lean out of the way like that, and be bumped by elbows. Is this sort of thing done in the nicer restaurants regularly? I have no problem with final preparations made near table, but right at-table? Also, where we were situated (at a huge round table right in the middle of the room) there was enough room for a small table to be put up nearby. Possibly it could have been space considerations, I don't know, or is it a new trend/old custom of which I'm just not aware?
This seems to be normal at Aqua. The two times I've eaten there, there were at-the-table preparations done (mixing quail egg with sauce and chunks of fish in my case, along with a couple of souffle presentations). Since I was at a two-top, this wasn't a big deal -- no leaning required, with the waiter standing at the side of the table. With guests seated around the table, I could see this sort of fussy presentation getting in the way.
I suppose that's Aqua's style. As for the food, I don't know what to say. I rate Aqua in my top 3 restaurants, so I guess you know what my feelings are on the matter. :-)