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Sep 14, 2007 12:01 AM

New silverware for each course?

I am headed to a very expensive and formal restaurant that services a 7 course dinner. Do these types of high-end restaurants usually give you fresh silverware with each course?

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  1. I certainly would think that they would give you fresh silverware.

    1. It drives me nuts when even inexpensive, informal restaurants expect me to use the same flatware from course to course. Especially if the waiter/busboy picks up my soiled flatware from my soiled plate and places it on the table/tablecloth so that it will be there for the next course.

      An expensive, formal restaurant should provide proper service. Flatware planned for a meal should be properly laid on the table as part of a place setting or brought out with each course, as would be done with specialty flatware. All unused flatware is left on the table until dinner is concluded but removed before the dessert course.

      1 Reply
      1. re: MakingSense

        Agree about inexpensive/informal restaurants - especially when there is no tablecloth, the table is just wiped down with a nasty wet towel between customers! Ew!

      2. They must give you fresh silverware for each course that requires silverware. Any place that doesn't may not consider themselves high end. I'm talking to you minibar of DC.

        1. it really depends on the "show" the restaurant wants to put on. if it is as formal as you say then yes, the silvers should be changed at every new course. but it all depends. let up know how it goes...

          10 Replies
          1. re: DesperateChefsWives

            DesperateChefsWives: "it really depends on the "show" the restaurant wants to put on. if it is as formal as you say then yes, the silvers should be changed at every new course. but it all depends. let up know how it goes..."

            MY RESPONSE: The restaurant is Antrim 1844 in Taneytown Maryland - rated 27 for food on Zagat. I figure we will spend in the neighborhood of $250. for dinner for 2 with tip - if that helps to give you an idea of the type of place it is.

            1. re: Whitemarshjohn

              Yes, they should and will give you new silverware for every course. Ideally silverware will be replaced and not all set up on the table.

              1. re: jpschust

                Yes, they should and I would expect it.

                Harrald's of Stormville, NY, before it changed hands and deteriorated, used to offer a six course meal (for $65., those were the days) and Harrald would have had apoplexy if the silverware were not changed. It was, he didn't, I miss Harrald's.

                1. re: jpschust

                  A restaurant should have the flatware "all set up on the table," jpschust. A proper table setting is a sign of respect for diners. It's not a question of "ideally" as this is simply not debatable. The diner should never be placed in a position of having to request clean flatware or remind staff to replace something that was removed or provide something he needs.
                  How hard is it for a restaurant to set a proper table? My children could do it by the time they started school.

                  1. re: MakingSense

                    Oh I agree, in the initial setting, though in reality if you're eating at a 10-20 course place, it's just not practical. The current trend is to pre-set with chargers and sometimes to pre-set all silverware and then to be removed except for what you need, hence no need to confuse the diner, and also more room on the table.

                    1. re: jpschust

                      I was speaking of dinner service. In that case, chargers should be removed and specialty flatware should be brought with courses that require it. Wine glasses are removed if diners are not having wine. Otherwise, the flatware remains at the place setting until the table is cleared before dessert.

                      Obviously, in the case of restaurants offering tasting menus, it would be confusing to diners to set tables with implements for multiple courses. This again fits into the "specialty flatware" rule and the flatware should be brought out with each course and removed with the soiled dishes from each course. I know you have posted about Minibar asking you to "Hold on to that fork, Sir, you're gonna need it," which is inexcusable.
                      Tasting menus are a trendy challenge to the world of etiquette, but if restaurants think through their service, they can still present them graciously. If they're going to serve 20 courses, they have to plan on 20 dirty plates and the dirty flatware that was used.

                        1. re: MakingSense

                          What exactly is a "dinner service", why do they call it that?

                          1. re: Whitemarshjohn

                            There's a standard way of laying the flatware for a Western (as opposed to Asian or other culture) meal, assuming that courses will be served in a certain order. The flatware is used from the outside most pieces moving in toward the plate. Whoever sets the table knows what's for dinner and sets those out, or in the case of restaurants, a simpler assortment of implements is laid out. There are a limited number of courses, not nearly as many today as in the past.
                            As jpschust mentions, some places now offer tasting menus which don't use the standard array of flatware. It would be silly for them to set out 10 or 20 forks and spoons of various sizes and types.

                      1. re: MakingSense

                        I think they meant that the proper silverware would be placed on the table prior to each course, not "all set up" before the, presumably, multi-course meal began.