Canadian Fine Dining…

Whiny Wednesday On Thursday 

Several posts back I revealed that in my youth I tried my hand at waiting tables, found I was overwhelmed easily and walked out, leaving a family of four to wonder what had happened to their waitress and their food. Obviously, I have total respect for anyone who can skillfully and artfully manage this very stressful job. Having said that, I now feel free to make fun of those who have not mastered the fine art of waiting tables.

Recently on my trip to Victoria I encountered a style of table management I was not familiar with.

James, The Overly Enthusiastic Waiter

We were a hungry group of four, my husband, daughter and my son in law, out for a delicious meal and great conversation. What we didn’t expect was that our waiter would be part of that conversation. First he went into excruciating detail about how the meal would unfold, how he would keep our glasses full, how the appetizers would arrive hot and delicious, and how we would enjoy the main entrees that would follow. It was slightly odd, because obviously we had eaten out before and were familiar with how restaurants worked, but then I thought, “Well, he’s nice and seems to be taking his job seriously…” But as the evening progressed it became quite clear that ‘he was the guest who wouldn’t leave.’ When he took our main entree order it went something like this…

Lily: “I’ll have the Butternut Squash Ravioli.”

Waiter: “Wonderful. Nurturing comfort food. Delicious Roma tomatoes, goat cheese, with a hint of fresh basil and a smattering of spicy glazed pecans. Delightful.” Takes her menu.

Lily: (Thinking) “What the…?”

Paul: “I’m gonna try the Pan Seared Scallops”

Waiter: “Mmm… Perfect. Mixed braised Bok Choy, ripe red peppers in a pleasing yellow Indian curry sauce, served over a very pleasant basil cilantro Jasmine rice. Wonderful.”

Paul: Suppressing a laugh (Thinking) “Really…?”

My Husband: “I’d like the Red Curry Chicken Bowl.”

Waiter: “Ahh, yes. Good choice. Bursting with flavors. Thai red curry, coconut cream, jasmine rice and delicately steamed Asian greens. You’ll adore this.”

My Husband: (Looks around, smiling.) “Are we on Candid Camera?”

And so the ordering continued in that fashion. The waiter showed so much enthusiasm and knowledge of each item ordered that he practically ruined our appetites. I actually felt full after his food monologues. This may be the way they do things in Canada but in the states we’re not so patient sophisticated. We go to restaurants to eat, not to watch our waiters perform.

Here’s the kicker, the appetizers arrived at the same time as the entrees!!!! It was pretty funny given that we had just been told in detail how the meal would progress. We had to laugh. Not only that, but he never came back to refill our drinks! All those spices and nothing to quench our thirst!

In the end, James apologized. He appeared to be sincerely sorry for raising our expectations, promising us the moon and then disappointing us with a sub-par dinner. At least he didn’t walk out and quit his job like I had done so many years ago. Good effort James, good effort.

What kind of waiter style do you prefer?