Not About Food

Service in the post-empire world [moved from Manhattan boards]


Not About Food 6

Service in the post-empire world [moved from Manhattan boards]

jolivore | May 13, 2008 07:07 PM

I'd like to see some talk about the quality of service in decent restaurants these days. Outside a few stellar places where the staffs still learn how to be attentive and invisible, most of the high end good food places are either personable or pushy, and the bus-staffs are pushy though invisible or pushy and obvious. Clearly they're told what they should do — take the "dirty" plates away, refill the bread dish and so on. They hover, polite as could be but predators on your dishes, distractors from the business at hand or your company. It's easy to understand: few places outside France and Japan have a tradition of honorable service in restaurants. Certainly not here, where "friendly" is the currency and efficiency the aim: get 'em in and get 'em out, quick. Most of the bus-staff I've seen are from places where I doubt there is any tradition of service in restuarants at all. I doubt if the men who are doing this work here are used to the kind of work waiting tables is. I've had meals at the otherwise estimable Telepan which brought me to tears, ruined by over-zealous bus-staff; and I've had touching service at Daniel and nearly every Japanese place I can think of, including my local. The fault, as near as I can figure, is not with the bus-people themselves, who are hardworking if a little out of their depth, but with the people who run the restaurants, for not conveying the art of abetting a fine meal. .

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