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Entertaining & Etiquette

Fine Dining

Etiquette for fine dining


Entertaining & Etiquette 13

Etiquette for fine dining

Alice Patis | May 19, 2005 02:59 PM

My husband and I are about to celebrate an anniversary at a fine dining establishment (where the menu starts at $58 for 3 courses). Having had only one other similar fine dining experience in my adult life, I'm hoping you can give me some etiquette pointers to my questions below.

We made reservations at Open Table and requested a quiet table if possible. I plan to call the restaurant to confirm. When do I call (day before, week before)? Can I repeat the quiet table request? Should I say it's for a special anniversary, or not bother?

We won't be doing the tasting menu (hubby is non-chowish, and they won't do a tasting menu for just one), but I know I'll have lots of questions about the menu items. Would it seem like I'm a picky eater if I ask lots of questions? I like everything, I just enjoy knowing about the ingredients & prep. Or should I save questions for after I start eating?

Would it be bad if I whipped out my Seafood Wallet card and asked them about a certain fish on the menu? For example, my top choice so far on their website menu is the Black cod item but I want to know if it's from Alaska (ok to eat) or WA/OR/CA (overfished) or US Atlantic (depleted, so I doubt it's the one on the menu but you never know).

Is it ok to order the 3-course menu, but not make dessert my 3rd course? I try to limit sugar intake, and special occasions deserve exception, but none of the desserts on the website menu (nor having cheese) really appeal to me more than the non-dessert items do.

Finally, I don't really drink wine (it clogs up my nose making my taste buds diminished, not to mention I get drunk on half a glass). I have ethical issues supporting the bottled water industry. I don't often like sugary drinks. So I really like tap water best. I feel funny ordering tap water at such a nice place though. Will I get poor service just because I didn't order a drink?

Well that's about it. My dinner's next weekend, by the way. It's our 11th anniversary, and we meant to do this for our 10th but there were many family events last year around our anniversary and we never had time to squeeze in a romantic dinner for 2.

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