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"We're not ready for our entrees yet..."

Is it okay to say that? We were at a casual place, service a little frenzied. Our appetizers and salads were served before the drinks. As we started, our entrees were served and the person (not the server) put the plates down, which was awkward w/ limited space on the table (lots of moving plates/appetizers/condiments around. She asked, "Oh, you just got started on your salads?" so she did notice. Our dinners sat, getting cold, while we finished our appetizers and salads (no drinks yet). It was so unexpected that I didn't say anything, but in hindsight, is it better to let it go, or ask that they take it back until we're ready. What's a better option: asking them to bring the food back later with it under a hot lamp (especially pork chops) or keeping the food to get cold/warm on the table w/ limited room? FWIW, we finally received our drinks midway through dinner and had to chase down the server to pay because we never saw him again. I'm also wondering if we had sent back the meals, how long it would have taken to get them back. This isn't a tipping question, or a treatment question--just what is a better option for an optimal meal given the situation?

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  1. JMO but I have worked in restaurants where things like this happened more often than I would have liked, meaning middle of the road chain type restaurants. The best choice is to leave the food on your table and eat it whenever you get to it. Taking it back will make it tougher as it will sit under the heat lamps for sure. If they brought it out after heat lamps and then everything was overdone and you complained and needed a re-fire, you'd be sitting there waiting while they hurried up and recooked your stuff so that would be even more frustrating.

    When things like this happen, I re-examine what I'm eating to determine how many calories I really need at that meal. Sometimes I might just stop eating the app/salad right then and ask for what's left of both to be boxed or thrown out so I could eat my entree while it's hot. Or I might have the entree boxed and continue to enjoy my apps/salads at a leisurely pace.

    7 Replies
    1. re: rockandroller1

      That's a good idea--I don't know why I was fixated on finishing my iceburg lettuce anyway. That can sit and be eaten after the main course. This is a small family run place and I really wanted to live it so I was kind of bummed. The food wasn't good enough to put up w/ the waits. I think a couple of the dinners would have suffered under the heat lamps but it's not like we could ask for two to be put under. Or, maybe we could have.

      1. re: chowser

        In Italy, it is customary to eat the salad at the end of the meal, so you would have been fine I think in leaving your salad until the end. The issue is the weirdly fast service -- appies/salads before drinks, fast entrees...I wonder what the rush was. I suspect it would have gone under the heat lamps had you asked to hold it back so in this case, it kind of comes down to a value judgement about how good the food would be with 10 minutes under the heat lamps.

        1. re: freia

          ...and in English (or at least "Colonial British" ) manner the salad often accompanies the mains - or at least I grew up eating Western meals in that fashion - even though I wrote in an earlier post here that I was annoyed when my main dish was brought out while I was still eating my salad. However, that was in the context of a hamburger in a USAmerican eatery and I fully expected and wanted to have my salad first.

          In fact, at times when I have been in the mood for eating salad with my mains ("English style" - see above) I have had difficulty sometimes in getting some places to bring out my entree (more of a USAmerican term, isn't it? :-) ) with my salad; or sometimes have not been quick enough to stop the busboys from whipping away my partially eaten or untouched salad (at a moment of inattention) prior to my entree arriving. Heh. At other times I have cradled my salad right next to me, "guarding it", as it were, to stop them from grabbing it! :-)

          1. re: huiray

            STEP AWAY FROM MY SALAD....LOL the image is too funny! Interesting how cultural factors have a huge play in what we expect or do in dining situations. Heck, I've had trouble replacing a main with 2 appies, as in I can't eat an appetizer plus a main (I'd be, like 500 pounds if I did that regularly) so I've ordered 2 appetizers in place of a main to be served at the same time as the other mains. Usually I'll get the 2 appetizers first, whilst my group is foodless waiting for their mains. THEN it becomes a struggle to hang onto the appies til the mains are served (Ma'am, we have to CLEAR the table before we bring out the MAINS)...sigh...

            1. re: freia

              "THEN it becomes a struggle to hang onto the appies til the mains are served (Ma'am, we have to CLEAR the table before we bring out the MAINS)"

            2. re: huiray

              Ha! One of my pet dining peeves is when the waitstaff reaches for my plate without asking me for permission to take it first. If I get cranky in my old age, they could well pull back bloody stumps when attempting it!

            3. re: freia

              If I were in Italy, I wouldn't complain about anything!:-) I don't think they were rushing us, as much as it was ill timed. If they were rushing us, we wouldn't have sat there for close to 30 mins after and then have to chase down our server. I'm sure it would have gone back under the heat lamps. This was a very casual family run Greek place. If I have that experience again, I'll just eat the salad last, which now seems almost "duh" obvious.

        2. So there were appetizers AND salads but no drinks and they brought the main. I think I would have said no and faced the consequences later. I find this to be an ongoing problem at lots of restaurants where people seem to want fast, fast service. If I don't want that, I make a point of telling the server that we are in no hurry and want the meal at a leisurely pace. If that doesn't work, but I like the restaurant otherwise, then we just order as we go so there's nothing to rush and get on the table since we haven't ordered it yet. Some places don't like that, but it certainly slows down the service and that works for us.

          5 Replies
          1. re: escondido123

            I operate similarly to escondido123. We go out to relax and chat with each other. Some of our regular places remember our style, some are so trained to rush, rush, rush that we order as we go so we can manage the flow of food. Interestingly, there are rush-rush places at the higher end of the restaurants in my area. I think it is because they are so popular, management tries to get as many turns as possible at the expense of the customer's pleasurable dining experience.

            1. re: cleobeach

              I'm actually okay w/ fast turn overs, or at least understanding about them, as long as they're accommodating if I don't want to be rushed out, as you said. That wasn't the case here and I wonder if it's the standard business practice there. If so, they need bigger tables because it was all very awkward, trying to find room for everything on the table. It was like real life Tetris.

            2. re: escondido123

              I've never experienced that before--at least, not with so little time. They weren't interested in getting us in and out quickly, or in our wanting to get us in and out quickly. I think it was just poorly executed. A good 45 minutes passed, after we received our food that we had to leave our table to chased down the waiter. We only saw him once when he brought drinks. Have you had ever problems asking them to hold the dinner (I felt bad for the runner because she brought out a lot of entrees and didn't want to ask her to take them back--it wasn't her fault)? I wonder about the quality of the meals. I realize they do sit under the heat lamp until all dishes are ready to go but I'm not sure how well food holds under them w/out drying out.

              1. re: escondido123

                I'm with you. I would not have ordered my food at all till my drinks came as I don't like being rushed like that.

                1. re: wincountrygirl

                  If my first experience with a restaurant is hurried service, but good food, we'll go to this method on our subsequent visits. For example, one time at a local place, we ordered a bottle of wine, our app and our main at the same time. App came our long before the wine showed up. So we order our drinks, wait for them, then order the rest of the meal at this place. Works fine.

              2. Forcing you to wolf down your apps/salads or let your mains get cold on the table is NOT good service in ANY restaurant. I would not leave the situation to the runner or even the server. I'd ask for a manager to come to the table and let them figure it out for you. At the VERY least, I'd mention it to someone in management on the way out. It's your money (for one thing) and, for another, they need the feedback.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Midlife

                  We have endured this problem of service a few times before we learned a couple valuable lessons. The first coming at a phenomenal Canadian restaurant; Sooke Harbor House just outside of Victoria where we took a break after appetizers for a private tour of their world class wine cellar. While we were away from the table the entrees arrived and apparently sat unattended until we returned. Our server apologized when he learned the sommelier had given us an unexpected tour. A minute later the chef came out and asked if we would mind waiting another 15 minutes while the kitchen prepared 2 new entrees. Now we apologized and said it wasn't necessary but the chef insisted stating his food was meant to be enjoyed at service temp and he simply took them away and disappeared. While we waited he sent out a plate of cold seafood that they used in a salad course which we enjoyed while waiting for the new entrees. There was never any doubt that he was cooking complete new meals and the results were phenomenal. A second lesson we learned was dining in NYC's theater district on the day of matinee performances. Our waiter assumed we had tickets for a show and needed to be expedited so food piled on food until the table groaned and we knew we were being rushed. When we stayed for coffee and dessert our waiter asked if we were going to risk being late.

                  Ever since then we have informed the maitre' d of any time constraints and repeated the same info to our waiter. On those occasions when dining with friends is expected to be leisurely and extended we tell that to the same people asking if that might prove a problem. Once seated we tell the waiter that we'd prefer to order our courses one by one to ensure they match our dining flow, pairing with wines, conversation etc. Only once have we been refused that request. But for the most part we control our destiny and our dinner timing. Even at the most humble trattorias and bistros food is meant to be enjoyed at serving temp; neither cold or dried out. It is your money and your right to demand satisfaction.

                2. I prefer this to the type of restaurant where the wait between apps/salad and the main course stretches on ad infinitum. There's a new Italian place in town where the food is quite good, but the chef is clearly overwhelmed. Entrees arrive haphazardly, with a 10 minute wait between invidual diners at the same table getting their main course. I think this is a worse offense.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: whs

                    A ten minute wait between individual entrees is ridiculous. I stopped eating at The Green Room in Carlisle PA because of this practice.

                  2. I've had this happen on enough occasions that I now change my ordering style.

                    If I want an app I may order it with the drink order. Most times I order it once the drinks arrive. They are better at getting out the drinks in a timely manner if the order hasn't yet been placed...If I'm ordering a salad I inquire about the timing. At some place where I know mains are served quickly I ask them to wait until the salad is served before they put in the rest of the order.

                    Doesn't always work, but 90% of the time it takes care of it. One particular chain can't manage it with salads - I have stopped ordering them at that place because of it.

                    1. l see this at most Chinese restaurants l frequent. To avoid the problem, l order one course at a time. If the restaurant does not permit this, l rarely return. My family history is based on my father, whose theory was ' if l can eat it, it is not hot enough'.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                        Are you specifically ordering one appetizer, then one entree/main dish, then maybe dessert (if any); or are you ordering several appetizers and several main dishes for your meal?

                        If it were me I would want to have my main dishes together, not one after the other, so they may be sampled by all (or even myself) simultaneously to accompany my rice. Only if I was ordering a noodle main dish would I want it separately from the other main dishes. Yes, soup should be seaparate but with the appetizers it would depend on what they are for me to want them separately or together. Just saying.

                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                          Unless it is a set banquet menu, what kind of Chinese restaurant will serve different "courses"?

                          Save the soup and perhaps the gratuitous bowl of sweet beans for dessert, the dishes are just plated and served haphazardly when the kitchen is done prepping them.

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            <<Well.Unless it is a set banquet menu, what kind of Chinese restaurant will serve different "courses"?>>

                            I'd guess that's exactly the point. The typical Chinese (all at once) service is, apparently, not universally enjoyed. I've never minded it but, I see the issue. I'm a rather fast eater so I get to everything rather quickly while it's still at least warm.

                            One other thing about serving by 'course' could be that not every dish is 'welcomed' by every diner, so there could be lapses for some. "All at once" solves that problem.

                            Just my 2ยข

                        2. I had this happen once. We ordered a (hot - not salad) starter each and a main and the main came about 30 seconds after the starter. Unfortunately it was just one of a string of crappy things so my dining partner and I did not have much patience left. We knew that if we told them we weren't ready, it would go to the kitchen and sit waiting until we had finished our starters, and then would either be brought out cold or reheated in the microwave. Still, I was so annoyed that I did ask them to take it back. Sure enough, after we had finished our starters the same plates came back looking a little bit congealed, and yep, they were cold. By this time I was basically fed up and would happily have left, but my dining partner was determined "to make the best of it" so he complained the dishes were cold. They were taken back and presumably reheated in the microwave. And it wasn't even good after all that. I kept telling my dining partner that the staff had almost certainly spat in our food or something similar and that he shouldn't have made a fuss! Since the food wasn't good anyway, we never went back.

                          I think we handled the situation completely wrong and should just have accepted the food when it came. Very few places are likely to make an entirely new dish in this situation, so you may as well just try and eat it whilst it's fresh.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Muchlove

                            I was sure they wouldn't be making another entree so I was afraid of what happened to you, if I told them I wasn't ready yet. I didn't think of the microwave part but I can't imagine pork chops after that (not mine). If it ever happens again, I'll just take the entrees, as we did and make it work.

                          2. This can happen in some ethnic restaurants (say Indian sub-continent or eastern Mediterranean)where the difference between starters and main courses is blurred.

                            I cannot recall it happening in a "western" restaurant setting. It just seems odd as I wouldnt expect the kitchen to be finishing off the main course until the server had told them the starter plates had been cleared. Certainly, I would not be wanting to accept the main course plates in the circumstances described in the OP. A very poor service experience and I wouldnt be really wanting to return there.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Harters

                              I have had the problem on more than one occasion in "western" restaurant settings, especially here in Southern California where people seem more interested in getting their food and eating it than in enjoying the whole dining experience. Servers have sometimes been surprised that we actually want to take it slow and keep worrying that we're going to have to wait for our next course. They may not like it when we therefore order course by course, but after the first time they get used to it seeing as how we usually run up a pretty good bill.

                              1. re: escondido123

                                Re: "Western" restaurants - Yes, indeed. In many casual places where they have a salad bar, say, it is a constant issue in my experience unless I very clearly and specifically tell the waitperson to HOLD OFF on asking the kitchen to fire up my entree until i'm nearly done with my salad (taking account of any second helpings of salad I may have) or until I tell her to proceed with the rest of my order.

                                On one occasion in this place (a Ruby Tuesday, in fact) my burger arrived barely a few minutes after I sat down with my salad plate and I told the waitress to take the burger away and keep it warm - of course, when I was ready for it the burger was "warm" but now overcooked/drying out. I considered telling them to re-do it but passed on it. Ditto in this Mediterranean bistro near my place - geez, the soup, salad, fried calamari and lamb kebabs w/ rice came out practically on top of each other - the kebabs were sent back to wait, they came back out later dried and blackened, the waitress was nowhere to be seen and I (like the OP) had to hunt her down (the other waitperson I could locate did not want to deal with my bill - and did not even offer to look for my waitperson - huh?) to pay. No tip was left. I have never been back.

                                Sometimes a waitperson may actually keep an eye on me and ask me if I want the entree fired up at a suitable moment - s/he gets a good tip. :-)

                            2. How I would respond would depend on just how "casual" the place is. In a coffee shop, Olive Garden, Red Lobster or similar type of place (which I rarely frequent), I'd just suck it in and accept it. However in anything even a bit more upscale, unless we were dawdling excessively, this would be unacceptable. The second course should not be served until the first course is completed and the dishes cleared away. Now, if the second course is something that will be ruined by keeping it under a heat lamp (perhaps a rare steak, or even delicate fish), it's the restaurant's responsibility to deal with it and replace it if necessary. At a good restaurant, the server will keep close tabs on the progress of the meal, and fire each course at the appropriate time.

                              1. In my experience this happens in mid- to low-level Chinese restaurants but it can be a desired thing depending on what one orders. In Japanese restaurants (ditto) the same also happens not infrequently and here I mind more because I order stuff that ought to have a natural progression. I yelled at the manageress at one place once for this. :-\ I dislike it when I get my agedashidofu after my nigirizushi and/or my zarusoba at the same time too, and permutations thereof. At least I've always got my soup first.

                                1. I think the phrase " service a little frenzied" is key to your post. The degree of "casual-ness" would be another factor.
                                  Frenzied service would indicate a server "in the weeds" and unable to keep up. Standard, casual place would take drink order while you peruse menu, deliver drinks while you give your order or very soon after, then bring apps, entrees, etc.
                                  What probably happened is the server was overwhelmed and failed to pick up your drinks for starters. Then, they were late picking up your apps and salads which were probably sitting in the window. At this point, everything is domino-ing in a bad way. This place probably has an auto fire system that has the kitchen fire entrees a set time after the apps. Unfortunately, the apps weren't served when ready but the entrees were. Your drinks were probably sitting at the bar the whole time with the ice melting as well.
                                  Now, what to do? As others have stated, if this is a casual chain-like place, my expectations are usually not too high so I probably would have put the salads aside and eaten the entrees. Otherwise, things might have gone from bad to worse. If I were eating in a more top end place the rules change for me and, though I doubt my entrees would be served prior to the app dishes being removed, if they were, I would have sent them back. My expectations tend to rise with each additional dollar I spend. Things that I would never "let go" at $100 per person often don't get a second thought at $20 per person.

                                  1. Yes!

                                    Pacing of a meal is very important, at least to me. I hate when servers get it wrong, and pull them aside, to explain how I want the pacing to go.

                                    There are too many venues, that wish to rush diners, even when the house is not busy. I have a pace, and demand that it be followed, whether it is me, solo, a couple, such as when I dine with my wife, or a hosted dinner with many guests. We do not wish to be rushed, and if the restaurant staff insists on such, we never dine there again.

                                    Pacing is part of the service,and any/all servers should either pick up on it, or ask the host/hostess, how they want things to progress.


                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                      I'm with you. Also, when I go out to eat I want to relax. I am rushed all day at work and do not need to pay for that service!!

                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                        My husband and I aren't gobblers - some might even call us slow eaters. I am actually pretty amazed by how little trouble we have had with pacing when eating out. We must be pretty lucky to get observative servers.

                                        1. re: sandylc

                                          I am definitely a "slow eater," and I get slower still, if we have guests around the table. Also, most of our "dining out," is fine-dining, as we are either traveling, or celebrating being back home. That makes it stand out, when the staff is trying to rush us.

                                          I can overlook a minor lag in service, but glare, when the servers are dragging my dishes, while I am still eating them.

                                          Some restaurants shoot to "turn tables," as quickly, as they can. I usually am not dining at such. During two, fairly recent sessions, we had a server, who hovered over the table, and grabbed for half-eaten plates, before we were done. In both instances, I cautioned them, and asked, "Where did you work before you came to ____ ?" In both cases, they had worked at a corporate, mid-scale, adult fast-food places. I offered an admonition, "Just slow down, and observe your patrons. You will easily know, when they are done with a dish. Look around - there are empty tables, and no line at the hostess stand." One quickly got it, but I am not sure that the other server did.

                                          I often have more issues with things like "where should the cheese course come in the meal?" In the US, this can be a problem. The cheese course is often listed in the apps., and I want it to come, just before desserts, and after the mains. Usually, I can effectively communicate my desires, and all is OK, after I explain. Several years ago, we were doing a very up-scale steakhouse, at a resort. Our server wanted to bring the cheese course, after the salads. I explained where in the meal, I wanted it to arrive. She questioned, saying "well our patrons do their cheese course first." I smiled, and reiterated my desires. After the mains, the fromagier stopped by with the trolley. The first thing that he said was, "You are the first people, in months, who know when the cheeses should be served." He was so very happy, that we got about 3 additional offerings, and he and I worked out some extra wines, and the sommelier accommodated me. I only see, what I consider a "misplacement" of the cheese course, in the US, and more often in "Middle America." When on either Coast, I find fewer issues there.

                                          At great restaurants, the service is totally seamless, and the kitchen has one's individual pacing down to a science. When that happens, I look to the ceiling, to see if there is a camera, focused on my table, a la the Travel Channel's Las Vegas Security episodes. I have never noticed such, but with micro-video units, maybe they have them in the floral arrangement? I assume that the service captain, staying just out of my general eyesight, is communicating with her/his team, including the bussers. Gosh! I really, really appreciate that. I demand that at the upper-end of the restaurant spectrum, but greatly appreciate it, when I encounter it at an upper-middle restaurant. Just a nice touch, and I tip accordingly, plus comment on excellent pacing, as I feel that it is very important to my enjoyment.

                                          Nah, I do not grade on "pacing," when doing my "once a year" trip to Chili's, but much above, and I want that to be part of my enjoyment. All too often, it just does not happen, even at my urging.

                                          Same for my wine service, and especially when I am hosting. I do not want each guest's glass filled above a certain level, and will pull the server(s) aside, with some quite, yet firm, instructions on how things are to go. That is my duty, as a host. I have usually also ordered several wines,and express the order of serving, though tell all servers that if a guest wants wine X with dish Y, they are to be accommodated, and, if necessary, how the fill should be.

                                          Sorry to get into other areas of service, when the thread was regarding pacing of apps. and mains, but there is much to be discussed, in regards to service.


                                      2. This happened to us last night, where there was a misunderstanding that we wanted our hot food to come out after our sushi. They were quick to take it back, made new plates when we were ready and so accomodating, that we definitely will go back. And next time, make sure we're clear on our food staging.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: mtngirlnv

                                          Now that is a good cover up. All too often, a restaurant would just put the "hot food" under a heat lamp, until time to take it back to the table. That restaurant "got it," and with only one request. Too many do not.

                                          Glad that all went well - as it should.


                                        2. AHRG. I hate when that happens. Like Bill, pacing is important to me, although I feel like such a princess when I say it and my husband just rolls his eyes. I want my bread w/ my wine, then apps, then salad, then main. I don't want to get my glass of wine with my salad. I don't want to wait 'til the apps come to get bread. I SURE don't want my main slapped down while I'm still eating something else. AND...I don't want to wait 20 minutes between courses either.

                                          I fear there's not much you can do other than the suggested switch to the hot item , coming back to the cold. You've still lost the rhythm of the meal, IMO. Your only course of action is to carefully direct the pacing yourself if you ever go back there, i.e. don't order the main until you've seen your 1st course, etc. Unless of course, it were a very high-end place where you could just wave it off and expect the kitchen to fire you another one at the correct time.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: danna


                                            You are NOT a "princess," and should be indulged with what you like. A great restaurant always gets pacing down to a science. A very good restaurant, usually will. A good restaurant should, but often does not recognize the importance. Pacing is often what sets those apart. I have never dined at a great restaurant, that did not just, flat nail the pacing. To me, that can be the one element, that elevates a very good restaurant, or even a good one. Missing the pacing can lower any to a much lesser level.

                                            When hosting a dinner, I often have a "pep talk" with the staff, out of earshot of my guests, regarding pacing and also wine service. In nearly every case, that works fine - though not always.

                                            No, I agree with you that pacing is important.


                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                              Pacing and not letting food wait under a heating lamp are crucial for a fine reataurant. I recall a dinner in Paris at a starred restaurant where unfortunately my dining partner had to go to the restroom just as our entrees were coming out of the kitchen...something to be avoided if at all possible. I witnessed the server immediately making a u-turn back to the kitchen. When my companion returned to the table, a small amuse was served to us both with an apology that there would be a short delay because our entrees were being redone. This, of course, is how seriously a truly fine restaurant takes pacing. You should never have to put an appetizer aside to eat an entree wile it's hot....except perhaps at something akin to a fast fool ace.

                                              1. re: josephnl

                                                Unfortunately, I have been there too. Stuff happens. A good restaurant will heat the mains, where a great restaurant will redo them. Stuff happens, and it might happen to anyone.

                                                Thanks for relating that,


                                          2. Just write it off and go to a better restaurant next time.

                                            1. Has happened at casual places, doesn't really bug me.

                                              The one time it was a problem was a nice $$$ steakhouse chain, last year. Been there annually for 6 years before, always great. We received and started working on apps and within 5 min the steaks appeared and were set down. We were astonished, the waiter said, oh the kitchen got a bit ahead. Then he read our faces. Before I could comment (and my mouth is usually quite quick!) he grabbed our plates and said he'd take them back to kitchen.

                                              I didn't want that -- I knew that they'd be held under heat or reheated. But I'd have had to yell across the dining room since he moved away so fast. He later brought them back on new sizzling hot plates, and our 'rares' were now 'medium'.

                                              The husband and I quietly agreed to just deal with it -- I'm a Certified Restaurant Leftover Specialist -- and that we'd take the cremains and make something tasty anyway. When the manager stopped by to do his "table touch" (I'd just finished reading "Last Night at the Red Lobster" and he literally did the table touch lol) we said things were 'ok'. He inquired further, we explained, we thought it was just an education issue for the waiter.

                                              Well the manager (unexpectedly) comped both our steaks, and I feel completely made whole, more than needed. I was okay with the opportunity to state my issues and just take home leftovers. So no complaints about the location or chain. Except for the constrained simmering hostility from the pissed-off waiter through the end of the meal. I'm guessing he won't be there this coming fall, but am considering whether to take the gamble.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                The pacing, at various restaurants, can vary.

                                                When we are at a "fine-dining" restaurant, I do not expect to be "rushed." Still, some servers might well have been trained, on turning tables, regardless of people waiting for a table.

                                                At a corporate restaurant, such as Joe's Crab Shack, or similar,then moving everyone out, whether i's to clear the able for others, or going home early, that is just how it is.Look up a few levels, and things change greatly. It is then, about individual pleasure.


                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                  It can also go well if it's a small restaurant where they know your preferences. The one we go to the half dozen times a year we go out knows where we like to sit, what we like to drink and what we want as far as pacing. Makes for a very pleasant evening.

                                                  1. re: escondido123

                                                    There was [note the past tense] a wonderful restaurant in my area (Tavola di Tosa, actually) where I would drop by for lunch and the servers there at the time (some of the BEST servers I have *ever* encountered) knew which table I usually or wanted to sit at, how I wanted my food, how to serve my dishes, etc etc etc. Ditto when I went there with friends for dinner or whatnot and, without saying so, knew to divide the various apps I might order "for us all" and present them all laid out for us to eat as individual diners; perfect pacing; anticipating my requests for whatever I might want, etc. I could go on.

                                                    It was one of the great tragedies of my area that this place, with its superb food and superb service, went bye-bye...some years ago...because the local dining populace who appreciated what they offered (wonderful fresh Italian/Italianate cuisine) was of an insufficient size to sustain them financially.

                                                    1. re: escondido123

                                                      I do agree that such a relationship with a restaurant is wonderful. We enjoy it greatly.

                                                      However, and even at two favorites, where we dine about 6 - 8x per year, we just saw pacing break down a bit, and in both cases, just at the mains. In one case, about 2 mos. ago, the same thing happened, and my wife inquired. The answer then was, "Well, we got slammed with in-room dining, and just got behind." Not sure what the excuse was this time. Maybe the same?

                                                      Still, we greatly appreciate when a restaurant knows us, and remembers how we like to dine. We are rather slow eaters, but much of that time is spent on many wines, so it is not like we are "camping."