Greg and I went out on the town tonight for dinner. We considered all our favorites, but weren’t hungry enough or in the right location so we went back to Brio. Last time we went we thought it was good, but nothing great. It is usually packed and we figured a Tuesday evening should allow us to be seated right away.
We were right and as we were being seated the waiter asked us, “Have you eaten here before?” I know that might sound benign to most, but that is one of my biggest pet peeves (OK, maybe not a big one) because it is a silly question. It doesn’t matter what my answer is because that will be the end of the conversation except in the insane instance that I say “no” and the waiter will proceed to explain to me how to eat in a restaurant.
This may seem petty with no background, so let’s go back in time….circa 2000…restaurant: Bahama Breeze…at Bahama Breeze they were ABOVE normal restaurants and didn’t employ waitstaff, they employed “tour guides” who would take you on a magical tour of their main attraction–the 100 page menu. They would come to the table and ask if you had ever eaten there before. If you said “yes” you were saved the 20 minute presentation. If you said “no” then sit down my friend you are about to go on a very long journey down through the appetizers, up the mountain of salads, over the river of drinks, under the main courses and DON’T even ask about dessert. It was so condesending that you felt like they thought they had invented the concept of a restaurant and you would need a tour guide to make it through. It makes me wonder why all the Bahama Breeze locations near me are now closed…hmmmmmm. Anyway, if you really wanted to get on someone’s bad side you would go with them and then say “no” because they had a policy that even if everyone else at the table had previously “traveled” with them, they were not going to leave anyone behind. This experience made me very sensitive to the issue so when we started to eat at SaltGrass several years later this sensitive issue again appeared.
At SaltGrass they ask you if you have been there before and if you say “no” you have a lesson on cuts of meat. The amazing part of this lecture is that they actually have visual aides on the table showing the cow cut up in different ways (yum). Obviously, they invented meat and need to educate the world. As a prior Vegetarian I might suggest showing cut up cows on a display in the middle of the table might not be the best conversion factor.
So back to Brio, I hesitated and then hurriedly said “yes, we eat here all the time” because I was not ready for whatever sermon this waiter was preaching and really, do you need to convert me if I am already sitting at your table?