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Oct 18, 2007 02:48 PM

Servers---how should this be handled?

Recently my husband & I were at a very nice restaurant to celebrate our 25th anniversary. Our server was friendly, but, well.... Here's what happened: We shared an appetizer that required the use of my knife. When the appetizer plates were cleared, my knife went with them. My soup, DH's salad, and a basket of warm bread with a small dish of butter soon came. When I took a slice of bread, I realized then that I didn't have a knife to butter it. OK, so we'll mention it to the server as soon as she comes by. SEVERAL minutes pass, then we finally see her taking a beverage order at a table a few away from ours. As she passes our table on her way to the kitchen, we stop her and ask for a knife. Then we waited. And waited. DH graciously butters a slice of bread for me. Delicious! Great garlic butter which really complimented my soup. Just as I'm spooning up the last spoonful of my soup, the server swings by----with the other table's completed beverage order---and drops off a napkin-wrapped full silverware setting. Sigh.
OK. I know I shouldn't have stood up in the middle of the restaurant and shouted, "HEY YOU! NEED SOME SILVERWARE OVER HERE!" But, clearly there is a better way to get an essential item without waiting 15-20 minutes. Should I have just swiped one off a neighboring table? Am I wrong to think the server should have gotten me a knife BEFORE she filled the other tables' drink order? DH & I felt this was a poor choice on her part---and let our tip reflect it. Because we chose to get on with our special occasion, we didn't mention this gaffe to either the server or the manager (who wasn't visible, anyway). Damage done, IMO. So, what's the best way to get a replacement knife/fork/spoon in a REASONABLE amount of time should I find myself in this situation again?

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  1. I would've swiped a knife from a neighboring table.

    Assuming nobody was already seated there, of course.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JacksonH

      Me too. Swipe, but at some point let server know so the next person at that table doesn't have the same problem!

    2. Ask a busser. If you need stuff like an extra glass, plate, silverware, water refill etc bussers are the best people to ask.

      1 Reply
      1. re: hrhboo

        Ask the busser. Still waiting? Swipe away.

      2. I would have taken a knife from an empty set table, or asked ther busperson. But it wsa romantic to have your DH butter a piece for you, no? That's a good memory to keep.

        1. Upscale restaurant I would ask the busser for a clean knife.

          Medium to lower end, swipe one off another table.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Scott M

            In an upscale restaurant, the server would *know* the knife was removed with the plate (heck in low scale chinese buffets, the servers know this) and replaced it right away.

          2. First things first- Happy 25th! And a H that butters your bread is certainly a keeper!

            But I'd do a little from column A, a little from column B. If it's apparent that your waiter is ignoring your request, I'd swipe one from an empty table, or grab a convenient busboy. Or... all else I'd get up and ask anyone that appears to be willing to assist.

            In good service, you waiter should have recognized that your knife had been removed (as it should be, if dirty), and immediately replaced. And for that reason, I'd send a note to the "very nice" restaurant about how to train their staff.