Caitlin said, in another thread on this board:
"I appreciate Anthony Bourdain's advice to pay attention to a server's manner and body language when answering such a question, in order to tell discern true enthusiasm from a kitchen's directive to push a dish"
one prime thing to bear in mind: many waiters don't have the foggiest idea what's good. Just because they work in restaurants doesn't make them chowhounds! They may mean well and recommend something lousy that they themselves inexplicably like.
So I look in their eye to gauge whether they're passionate about what they're saying. Same as I do when I meet people on the street when traveling and ask where to eat that's "really really good". If their eyes don't come alive, I thank them and move on.
10-20% of people (and waiters) are chowhounds. If you don't have time to log on here for advice (though we'll soon be available via wireless!), you've got to find one out in the real world.
Maybe we can all wear a certain color flower on our lapel?
With waiters, your "moving on" options include busboys, managers, maitre' d's, and (if you're in the mood and the energy's right), even other customers. And the standard careful-look-at-every-single-plate-as-you-walk-to-the-bathroom.
But the trick to remember is that waiters don't necessarily posess the secret key to unlocking a kitchen's best stuff.