In another thread, the idea of communal dining came up.
I can only think of two restaurants, both Basque, that I've experienced this (not including picnics and such). The first time it happened, I was stunned into a motionless panic attack. The hostess immediately guessed what had happened and was very patient in explaining her people's tradition. The next Basque experience was less daunting but still mildly uncomfortable. I will admit that both meals were STUNNING experiences both in qualities and quantities of the food and the gregarious company at "our" tables; we enjoyed ourselves immensely.
Aside from those two experiences, I can't think of another time I've been seated at a communal table. My wife is very much against it.
How do chowhounders feel about it?