Sun 17 Dec 2006
The waiter swoops down and says, smirking, “Is everything wonderful?”
Or, even worse, “Is everything perfect?”
Well, not much is perfect in this imperfect world, but could we diners please be afforded the courtesy of making our own judgments about the food and the restaurant and the service without these blatant elbows in our ribs? Asking “Is everything wonderful?” isn’t an expression of concern for your dining welfare, it’s a form of coercion. The courteous response is a simple, “Everything is fine, thank you,” not, “Hey, it’s a bowl of onion soup, how wonderful can it be?”
Though that’s the whole point.
This actually happened a couple of days ago at lunch in a really nice restaurant, you know, white table clothes, menus printed on heavy paper, a certain air of casual solemnity. The place serves French bistro-style food but with an edge of creativity and interest. I was eating an onion and black olive tart with smoked salmon and fresh greens and having a glass of the MacMurray Ranch Pinot Gris 2004. Everything was good.
The young waiter veered toward the table, loomed and leaned over, beamed and said, with an interrogatory lilt: “Yummy?”
“You got it, Ace,” I said, “and my right foot in your tummy!”
Ha-ha, no, I didn’t. I said, of course, “Everything is fine, thank you,” but I mean, really, a restaurant isn’t nursery school. Could we please be treated like grown-ups?