Single Diner Brush-Off at Galatoire's!
I am in New Orleans for a few days. Ate a fantastic dinner at Dick and Jenny's last night (steak tip salad and duck two ways) and wanted to try for Galatoire's tonight. Called and asked for a reservation for a party of one upstairs in the bar area -- no dining in the bar, I was told. I asked for a reservation in the upstairs dining room. No reservations available for a party of one. "You can do a walk-in," the young woman informed me. I asked again if I could reserve a table for myself upstairs. "I don't think nobody wants to sit at a table by theyselves." was the answer. I thanked her and rang off. What gives? This is a first for me, in New Orleans or anywhere else for that matter. Did I do something wrong?
She didn't brush you off...she told you to come as a walk-in. G's is a place with its own rules, nay, its own culture. So go stand in line and enjoy your solo dinner downstairs. The double-negatives and improper pronoun useage don't make her a bad person, either. Long live the non-standard spoken vernacular...
Yeah, little did you know it, but that woman was trying to steer you in the right direction. Upstairs is just for tourists. Downstairs is the party. I always end up talking to people at tables around me. I assume that would be even more likely to happen to a solo diner.
I believe that until recently G's didn't even take reservations so it's not inconceivable that she just told you to come on by, especially since you were on your own. You should have taken her up on the offer. I just had an exceptional dining experience there last week with a party of 12. They're a little quirky but true pros.
Whether it was rude of her or not, I actually think it would be quite depressing to dine alone at Galatoire's. Normally I endorse the idea, but this is a different kind of restaurant, where the focus is on the social aspect and not exactly on the food. I think it would be like attending a wedding reception by yourself, not knowing anyone there, and having to sit at your own table. I would go somewhere else like Herbsaint or Stella for their delicious food. Save Galatoire's for when you've got a few friends to share a table with.
I agree with the other posters who say that the show is downstairs, not upstairs. Upstairs, Galatoire's resembles every other restaurant in the city--and the food, while good and solid, is not quite special enough to hold one's complete attention. Downstairs there tends to be a lot of distraction.
AmySue, I say go ahead and fly solo downstairs which, as noted, is where the action is. I wouldn't be surprised if a table 'adopts' you and you end up with a tableful of new friends.
I'm curious if you're English or European as I've never heard anyone from the U.S. say "rang off" insted of 'hung up". I've read that term in some Ian Fleming novels.
I wasn't intending to comment on the staff's English useage or in any way imply that she is a "bad person." I'm not sure how that idea got out there, but that's electronic communication for you.
Though I am a professor of English at a small college, I am no grammar nazi; I actually relish and appreciate this country's rapidly vanishing regional linguistic novelties and New Orleans is full of delightful dialects and charming coloquialisms (my favorites are "cornder" for corner and "zink" for sink). I quoted her only as a way of rendering the exchange as accurately as possible to get reader insights.
I asked for upstairs precisely because I thought I would feel awkward at the party downstairs, where I have dined often and well, but always with a companion. Alas, my dining companion will not be joining me until after July 1, when Galatoire's will be closed for the month. I had a hankering for a couple of Galatoire's dishes, that's all.
In any event, I will probably pass on Galatoire's this time around and go somewhere where I have eaten alone and been treated very well in the past: NOLA, Arnaud's, Irene's, Upperline, Tommy's -- any will be fine.
I'm not English or European, I just thought "rang off" was more accurate than "hung up," which seems sort of abrupt and rude.