Have been meaning to write this for a while now - and wonder if others share my real dislike of this question which is now so frequently posed in Toronto restaurants when your waiter first approaches your table.
Regardless of intention, to me it is both annoying and awkward as well as pointless. Whether I am dining with one, three or five others - more so with the latter - it smacks of some intrusive quiz or invitation to trivia night moving around the table just as one is settling down - and often it falls on the host to say well most of us have but some haven't - or whatever. So what!
The query is not the slightest bit helpful or necessary. Waiters can assume that hosts have either direct experience of the restaurant or familiarity through the Net or word of mouth.
And that they are intelligent enough to ask about anything on the menu as necessary.
The sophisticated approach to convey important information and invite any questions would be, "While I take any drink orders and let you look at the menu I should just remind you that as of a few weeks ago we are only serving table d'hote in which the entire table needs to participate." Or "We are encouraging sharing experiences as all our mains and many of the appetizers and desserts are served family-style."
But please not the "are you a member of the club?" type question thrown to the table. Almost as embarrassing as Morton's showing us a one pound potato as an object of surpassing rarity deserving of comment if not veneration. But that's another subject for another day...
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