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Dec 22, 2012 11:25 AM

Restaurant practices you'd like to see become more common

Last summer, we ate at an Italian restaurant in Santa Fe near the train station. The menu listed 2 prices for most entrees: when I asked the waiter, she explained that they offered smaller-sized portions for patrons who wanted a more reasonable sized dinner. A great idea, especially when one is traveling and doesn't want to eat large meals all the time (and can't take leftovers home) - I'd love to see more places adopt the practice.

What unusual restaurant practices have you seen that you'd like to see more often?

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  1. Basic manners. So many places have become so casual it borders on rudeness and disrespect. Its like no one is training the front of the house any longer.

    1 Reply
    1. re: foodieX2

      Speaking of casual I'd love to see waiters adopt more formal dress again - jeans at RN74, Ad Hoc - blech

    2. One simple thing. Decaffeinated iced tea.
      I don't want soda with dinner, I don't want lemonade all the time. I usually have to settle for water because everything has caffeine in it.

      1. Bring me a glass of water without my having to ask for it.

        15 Replies
        1. re: redfish62

          Most restaurant today will not offer to pour water automatically for every patron as a matter of policy to conserve water.....sometimes this policy is mandated by local or state government, especially in areas where drought conditions exist or in areas like the desert.

          For every glass of water served, it requires a minimum of two additional glasses of water to clean it..

          1. re: fourunder

            "For every glass of water served, it requires a minimum of two additional glasses of water to clean it.."

            Don't say it like that. *Any drink* a restaurant-goer gets would require "two additional glasses of water to clean it."

            1. re: pdxgastro

              True, but they are both asking and paying for that drink...and most likely consuming it....not the glass of water.

              1. re: fourunder

                And if a customer orders something else often the water sits there untouched. Unless it's someone like me. I seem to be incapable of leaving the table without taking a large gulp of water just as I get up.

                1. re: KaimukiMan

                  For each glass of wine (especially true for reds), one should have one glass of water.


                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                    agreed. in fact thats a good rule of thumb for any alcoholic beverage. it does not leave you sober enough to drive home if you have several glasses of whatever it is, but it's sure a lot nicer way to wake up the next morning.

                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                      Yes, it prevents dehydration, not inebriation. And unfitness to drive happens long before actual inebriation, with a slowing of the reflexes.

                    2. re: Bill Hunt

                      and I thought I was the only one who tried to do this...both with cocktails and wine!!

                      1. re: josephnl

                        I know this as a "spacer" or "pacer"

            2. re: redfish62

              I'm fine with having to ask for a glass of water. Many people I know never touch it when it's brought to them automatically. But I wish more places would follow the practice of bringing a carafe of water to the table once it becomes clear there are water drinkers in the party - so much easier than having to chase down the bus boy with the pitcher for refills.

              1. re: cookie monster

                Since you mention the carafe/bottle, you are just talking about when you are eating with a big group, right?

                In South Korea, finding a bottle of water on the table when you sit down is quite common, and dang is it good stuff. Just like what you're about to eat.

                I'll have to cycle through what I've seen out of the states to think of what might be nice here, and vice-versa. Japan and China, well the clear majority of eateries anyway (along with most other facets of life) don't call for tips, but that's another story.

                Oh, ok. Most places I've been, individuals get menus. In China, it's usually just the assumed host. But when it's a group of foreigners, isn't it less "obvious," so to speak? A table of five will probably be presented with one menu. Oh right, and the waiter hovers over you as if you already knew what to order. On the other hand, as usually the only foreigner in most places that I eat there, it's not hard to get their attention...

                1. re: BuildingMyBento

                  In South Korea, you're eating some of the saltiest food on the planet. They bring water 'cause they don't want you die of heart failure before you pay.

              2. re: redfish62

                Regarding a glass of water - without ice if it is January!

                  1. re: CCSPRINGS

                    ALWAYS without ice, but chilled in summertime... (remember that these are regional/national preferences - no "right and wrong").

                1. I love a restaurant that sweeps the crumbs off of the table between courses.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ola

                    Yes a custom that is long lost in most restaurants, of course you have to find one what still uses table clothes!!

                  2. I wish more restaurants would offer non-alcoholic cocktails. I can't drink for health reasons, and I'm almost always stuck with water or herbal tea. It's such a pleasure to go to Jean Georges in New York, where they have a selection of wonderful, exotic mocktails on the menu. I wish this would catch on. It could be such a win-win. I'd get my festive drink, and the restaurant could make about $9 of profit by selling me a $12 cocktail instead of making nothing when I fail to order wine.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: CathleenH

                      If I was in your shoes, I think I'd round up some recipes for mocktails and then order them when I went out. If the bartender doesn't know how to make it, you can tell them many people do who have their own favorite cocktail that is not likely to be on a menu.

                      1. re: CathleenH

                        If no non-alcholic cocktails are listed on the menu, I often will ask the server if the bartender could create an interesting non-alcholic cocktail for me, especially if I see the bar already offers interesting alcoholic cocktails.

                        1. re: CathleenH

                          Even if they don't have them explicitly listed on the menu, if you just ask the bartender or server for a "virgin" cocktail, they'll know what you're talking about and make it for you. Obviously, something like a "virgin martini" wouldn't really make sense, but stuff like daquiri's and margaritas are easily adaptable.

                          1. re: Atomic76

                            a 'virgin' martini would be the original source of the 'Gibson' - it was just ice water with a pearl onion. us drinkers corrupted it.