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Taking it Slow

mizaninterior.jpgOne complaint we sometimes see in this site's reader reviews, often about otherwise good restaurants, is a sense of being rushed. Gotta admit, this is a pet peeve of ours, especially at a higher-end establishment. I want to have time to sip on my wine and enjoy some good conversation in between courses. When entrees arrive before we've even finished appetizers or salad, that really reduces the enjoyment of our meal. If we want fast food, we'll go to Milo's.

We never have that problem anymore, because here's what we started doing: We refuse to order our entrees at the same time we order our appetizers. Even if we already know what we want for the main event, when we order the appetizer, we tell our server we haven't decided yet on the entrees and will wait to order until after we've finished our appetizer. If they don't take the hint and come ask us again for our order, we'll nicely tell them that we aren't in a hurry, that we want to take the time to really enjoy the meal. As a result, it's not unusual for us to spend two or three hours having a three-course dinner.

We enjoy each bite, each sip. In between courses we get a chance to talk, or may enjoy a chance to chat with our server or the owner or the restaurant's resident wine expert, whether it be a formal sommelier or a particularly wine-savvy server.

We've never really had any problems with this approach. In fact, servers and restaurant owners often seem to really appreciate the fact that we want to take time to fully enjoy the meal.

Posted on Thursday, April 3, 2008 at 01:51PM by Registered CommenterDeborah Lockridge in | Comments3 Comments

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Reader Comments (3)

The rest of us call that "slow service," although I do see your point. You have a good solution. Does anyone have a suggestion for getting the waiter to bring the check when you tell him you are done? It drives me crazy to sit around after EVERYTHING is finished and have to wait for the check. It is not like they have to cook it!

April 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWhalehead 205

Out of self-defense here in Bham I've taken to that exact strategy to avoid having my appetizer, salad, and entree (cooling as I eat the other items) crammed onto the table all at the same time. It makes you wonder why certain high-end restaurants go to such an effort creating a lovely menu only to have the whole effect ruined by poorly trained front of the house staff.

To get the check promptly I have resorted to asking for it straight out when ordering or declining dessert. If the server seems particularly inexperienced I accompany my request with my credit card. This has been successful everywhere except Bottega where one practically has to stand up and head for the door to get the check.

Another pet peeve-having to ask the waiter to remove dishes and glassware from the table which are obviously empty. Dirty dishes stacked at the end of the table just ruin the ambiance of a fine meal.

April 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSaffron

Ordering your entree after your appetizer has arrived is a wonderful idea.

April 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl

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