What about pacing?
I was just talking to friends who went out for their anniversary dinner last night. My friend complained that as soon as they had finished their appetizers, their entrees appeared. I know that, in many instances, this is what diners want. Is there a way, though, to indicate to your server, that you would prefer a more leisurely pace toy your meal?
I recommend the latter approach, do not recommend ordering entrees after apps arrive. Doing so means you're sitting around with menus in the way when your apps come, but more importantly, some entrees take longer to cook -- say, a steak done mw or other meat dishes -- and not ordering until later means that you will have a much longer pause between courses. Probably longer than you would like. I've always found letter the server know to be the best course of action.
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This reminds me of a mildly-related story. For our 6th wedding anniversary, we went to Campton Place in SF for dinner. I was 8 months pregnant - sort of tired, hungry, and grumpy. We booked the earliest reservation available for when they first open and got there about 10 minutes prior. They are still having a meeting, so we left - they all saw us (Asian couple, one very pregnant lady, hard to forget). We finally got seated. No menu. Another table seated after us got their menu. Finally about 10 minutes later and not knowing why we didn't get our menus, I flagged down the waiter, who said that he wanted to give us time to get settled down first. I didn't say anything but thought... "pregnant woman shows up before the reservation, finally gets to sit down... probably wants to move on to dinner ASAP. I've already spent enough time chatting with my husband, thank you very much!" But I guess in hindsight, there's no way he would have known. That was the first time I was ever seated without the menu for a noticeable amount of time. Dunno if this is considered the norm in similar restaurants.
This is a pet peeve of mine. I went to Aureole in NY for an 8-course tasting menu about a year ago, and the courses arrived one after another with no time in between. We had to ask the waiter at least twice to slow things down. My feeling is that at fancy restaurants, the presumption should be that you want to linger--if I'm spending over 100$/person, I want to make an evening of it.
If you want to dine, inform the server. Likewise you can ive the server a pretty good head's up by the way you order. If you rush to the menu when you sit, call the waiter over immediately then he will assume you are in a hurry.
Likewise, if you want to dine, take your time ordering and when the server comes to ask if youare ready to order simply stae, "we're here for a nice leisurely dinner. if you could give us some time before ordering we'd appreciate it." Clue given in a nice friendly inclusive manner.
Once again communicate, do not assume.