Although this happened on vacation at a San Jose restaurant, I am curious if New Yorkers have had the same experience in restaurants here in the city.
At the end of a couldn't-be-better dinner, very professionally served, at A.P. Stump's in San Jose, my friends were curious why at certain tables, a single, solitary prawn with some sort of sauce, seemed to be arriving before the meal. I explained that this was no doubt the amuse bouche--but then I thought--"But WE hadn't been served this nice, little temptation before OUR dinner."
When the bill arrived, I asked our server "Is that small prawn dish I see being served at some tables, the "amuse bouche?" Looking a bit disconcerted (about what to say,) she answered "Yes it is"--but then added "but we only serve it to repeat customers and friends of the chef."
I didn't comment, but here in New York, I've never seen a table left out from this lovely start to a pleasant evening. Every restaurant I've eaten at either served it to everyone--or not at all. Sending this little treat around to--maybe, only every third table--seemed awfully noticeable to those of us visitors, who did not make the "A List."
Was this proper etiquette? (We had a huge meal--wine, drinks, etc.)
I loved the restaurant's unique food--but felt like this tiny, yet kind-of-obvious slight towards new customers did not make sense. I'm basing it on the fact that I'd never before observed diners left out of this part of the "ritual." No big thing--but want to know: Am I off-base? Over-sensitive? My dining companions felt likewise.
Please share your "amuse bouche etiquette" with me!