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When the waiter gets it right...and some random thoughts on escargot....

janetofreno Apr 7, 2013 10:10 AM

There is a discussion here about undercooked foods, and how to politely bring up things with the waiter....well, sometimes they do get it right and this is just my way of saying thank you (and maybe a hope that others will read and take the hint...)

Last night my husband took me out for a "treat" dinner...we'd had a busy and hard week. I had been hinting for a few days that I was craving a good steak (DH is a pescatarian and specifically doesn't want beef in the house for religious reasons, but he doesn't mind if I eat it when we go out together..). He had told me the location of dinner out would be a surprise, and I WAS surprised when he pulled up to a well-known local fish house (I figured he hadn't gotten my hints, or had chosen to ignore them). But as we entered he told me he had specifically chosen the place because he had heard they had good steaks, even though they are known for fish, and he figured we both would find dinners we could enjoy....

And as it turns out, they do. But I digress....DH chose as a starter French Onion Soup (something he loves, and which I make at home without beef stock). I pointed out to him that it was likely to contain beef in a restaurant; and when he asked the waiter this was confirmed. But I have to love the waiter for what came next: when DH said "OK, then I'll have the clam chowder" the waiter nicely said, "Sir, if it matters to you that contains bacon. In fact, all of our soups tonight contain some kind of meat product." Now, my husband never said he doesn't eat meat (he doesn't like to make a big deal out of it), but the waiter found a nice way to warn him just in case........and we much appreciated it....

So DH settled for his second favorite starter, escargot. Which led to a discussion as we ate the garlicky little buggers: are escargot meat or not? He claims that they have shells, so they are a type of shellfish even if they live on land...the waiter didn't seem to think it was an odd choice for a non meat-eater either.....

That waiter was excellent in several other ways as well, and he deserved his nice tip. What a nice way to kindly point out that DH might want to re-consider his order....I wish more wait staff could be as sensitive, rather than the usual game of answering five or six questions as to what contains what and never making a suggestion as to things they might like. Maybe the place just trains its servers well, or maybe because it is a fish restaurant they are used to those who don't eat red meat.....

  1. njmarshall55 Apr 17, 2013 09:20 AM

    Definitely a "keeper"

    1. q
      Querencia Apr 15, 2013 05:05 PM

      Un escargot, deux escargots, trois escargots.

      1. j
        julesrules Apr 12, 2013 09:43 PM

        Should just be common sense right? This is exactly how I would have handled it when I served, with no training, at a dump. I was clueless at bar etiquette however.

        1 Reply
        1. re: julesrules
          hotoynoodle Apr 15, 2013 05:38 PM

          seems like common sense, but i have worked with plenty of servers who don't think while they work, lol.

        2. i
          ItalianNana Apr 11, 2013 01:08 PM

          Janet,
          This simple anecdote, well told, seems to have had the same effect on all of us...sort of a warm, non gustatory, umami feeling. Thank you for sharing. I love non-fiction shorts where all the leading characters are good people!

          1. Kris in Beijing Apr 11, 2013 12:01 PM

            This is so nice to read.

            In an electronic age, the owner/manager would be both shocked and pleased if you printed your story and dropped it into the mail to them.
            For less than 50¢ you can almost guarantee someone will have a better day.

            1. j
              jlhinwa Apr 7, 2013 08:00 PM

              Sounds like a delightful experience. And how good of you to share it with others!

              1. westsidegal Apr 7, 2013 06:20 PM

                great service.
                makes for a great restaurant story

                1. grampart Apr 7, 2013 12:07 PM

                  Snails are mollusks which, I think, are considered seafood.

                  1. iluvcookies Apr 7, 2013 11:54 AM

                    Great story janet, and a wonderful example of good customer service. Your "treat" dinner sounds like it went very well, and you deserve it :)
                    But the more important question... how was your steak?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: iluvcookies
                      janetofreno Apr 8, 2013 04:02 PM

                      the steak was wonderful! A bone-in ribeye!! Lots of fat and iron for my cravings:-) And the sandwich with the leftover steak sliced with horseradish, mayo, and tomatoes on sour dough bread was pretty good for lunch today as well!

                      And my husband agrees with the mollusk/snail thing. I think he just likes the garlic:-)

                      1. re: janetofreno
                        j
                        julesrules Apr 12, 2013 09:44 PM

                        Oh I love my leftover steak sandwiches more than the original meal, I think :)

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