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Where have all the spoons gone .....

SLO Feb 3, 2008 01:37 PM

Has anyone else noticed that it is rare to get a spoon with your coffee in "nicer" (tablecloth) restaurants?
Just back from brunch at XO on the Hudson in Yonkers, NY. $100 for two for brunch (food was delicious, service was AWFUL at every opportunity) ... there was not a spoon to be seen when coffee was served, not at any table. Couldn't even get a wait-person's attention to ask for a spoon. Guess we were supposed to stir our coffee with the knife? Couldn't use the dessert spoon as we had already finished our desserts and the plates had been cleared (even though the wait-person asked if we wanted coffee with dessert).

Anyone else notice this?

  1. k
    k_d Feb 6, 2008 11:08 AM

    Great thread. But must tell you, at first I thought it was about spoons disappearing from the silverware drawer ... kind of like sox from the dryer.

    1. sebetti Feb 5, 2008 08:19 AM

      I read a book a few months ago about a professional waitress (Waiting: The True Confessions of a Waitress by Debra Ginsberg) who mentioned that frustration with dealing with cost cutting owners and the inevitable decreasing amount of silverware available to servers that would never be supplemented because the owners were always convinced that the wait staff was stealing it. It was a problem she had to deal with her entire 20 year+ career.

      edited to add: Although she never mentions names, she does indicate that you'd be surprised at some of the med to high end restaurants who struggle with the above issue.

      1 Reply
      1. re: sebetti
        jfood Feb 5, 2008 10:24 AM

        There was a restaurant in Brooklyn that jfood remembers rom the early 60's (think sheepshead bay) where the waiters "owned the silverware. It was counted before the meal and then after. They were responsible if any disappeared.

        Then one night a fight broke out between to waiters aver some forks and spoons. Dining room cleared out. Do not know the end result because dad never took jfood back again.

      2. jfood Feb 4, 2008 04:48 AM

        Wow, Jfood cannot remember the last time he did NOT receive a spoon with his coffee, espresso, cap or tea.

        1. Cheese Boy Feb 3, 2008 09:56 PM

          I frequent restaurants where TABLESPOONS are treated with such high disregard,
          so much so, that they are always absent from the table setting. IMO, the table setting should have at least *one* of each of these: a cloth napkin, a knife, a tablespoon, and
          a fork. It's become customary for me to ask for a spoon many times, but I've gotten very used to it by now. (It still doesn't explain why many places don't place spoons in their normal rotation. I think the answer lies with the dishwasher).

          2 Replies
          1. re: Cheese Boy
            Linda VH Feb 4, 2008 04:42 AM

            I frequently ask for ice "on the side" with white wine (I know, I know but I like it really cold) and it never seems to come with a spoon.

            1. re: Cheese Boy
              MMRuth Feb 4, 2008 05:33 AM

              It doesn't surprise me that they wouldn't put a tablespoon on the table in a restaurant, unless a dish called for it.

            2. p
              Panini Guy Feb 3, 2008 07:26 PM

              There are so few restaurants where we'd order coffee (quality of coffee is terrible at 99%, quality of espresso/cappuccino terrible at 99.9%) so we don't normally notice this. However, when we're served espresso at a good coffeehouse, it always comes with a demitasse spoon in order to mix in the rich crema or spoon it for savoring separate from the coffee. It also usually comes with a petite glass of water (2-3oz).

              Lemon rind seems a metro NY thing?

              3 Replies
              1. re: Panini Guy
                dolores Feb 4, 2008 03:35 AM

                Panini Guy, a petite glass of water with espresso???? Never, ever, in all my years of dining out.

                What is the purpose of the water? It sounds like a nice touch.

                1. re: dolores
                  MMRuth Feb 4, 2008 03:39 AM

                  That's typical in Europe, I believe, and they do that at Cafe Sabarsky at the Neue Gallerie in Manhattan.

                  1. re: dolores
                    Panini Guy Feb 4, 2008 12:55 PM

                    Note I didn't say "all coffeehouses", merely "good coffeehouses". It is common throughout Europe. As I understand it, the purpose of the water is both a refreshment/palate cleanser and something to help dilute the caffeine.

                    Then again, it could merely be good service...

                2. r
                  RicRios Feb 3, 2008 06:12 PM

                  Nope. But I have actually suffered from the opposite syndrome: a spoon too many. In "nicest" places, beware of the dreadful "sauce spoon", the one with a notch on the side. Product of an incestuous crossbreed between a fish knife and a soup spoon. Really intimidating.

                  BTW, I hate spoons with my expresso. And the lemon peel as well. But that's me. I understand your point, SLO.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: RicRios
                    MMRuth Feb 4, 2008 02:56 AM

                    Actually, I find those sauce spoons helpful - since they are shallow enough to get the sauce onto the fish.

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