Sunday, October 14, 2007

My Best Friend, Grouse

Complaining is my favorite pastime. It's easy and inexpensive. Lately, with the barrage of food reality television shows, I've become acutely aware of things I can complain about while at a restaurant: presentation, service, quality. The list really goes on. Thank you Top Chef and Ramseys Kitchen Nightmare!

Mind you, I don't seek to find something to bring down my meal experience. I love going to a restaurant and eating three yummy courses wherein after, I'll practically hand over all my credit cards and cash in earnest gratitude for having served my tummy well.

My main concern about restaurants these days is undercooked meals and dodgy service. When I go out to eat, isn't it safe to assume I'm hungry and want to be served promptly? Tonight I almost missed the one show I actually care to fit into my schedule, The Simpsons, because I waited 15 minutes for my meal to come while my two counterparts were chowing away at theirs. (And no, I don't have Tivo so I couldn't have it recorded.) Mates, that's coming right out on your tip!

Another time in the near recent past, I took my mother who was visiting all the way from NYC to a lovely restaurant by the bay with a view of houseboats, neighborhood seagulls, and the gazillion dollar homes of Marin County. I thought surely here I can erase that downtown SF restaurant debacle where, again, we sat waiting for food that didn't live up to my appetite in a cramped and harried atmosphere. Here, where I've already had a fulfilling, tasty meal with service that was attentive and polite, I can enjoy my experience.

Appetizers of a seafood cocktail as well as plate of mussels and clams came to the table with excellent results: fresh food, simple presentation, and on time. Next course followed promptly, but horrors of horrors, our lamb chop was undercooked! Who eats raw pork? What would a Top Chef Do? Gordon Ramsey would never have let that chop leave his kitchen. Someone in this situation should be embarassed here and I resolved that it wouldn't be me.

I sent the chop back.

Said Lamb Chop came back cooked and delicious in no time at all. I forgave as the genuine apology had been given.

In the words of one Ms. Janet Damita Jackson, "I never ask for more than I deserve. You know it's the truth." This is, after all, America.

No comments: