Foodies are everywhere. They have been birthed by the dawn of multi-channel television that is so specialized it has a channel devoted entirely to food in its myriad stages: origin and preparation, consumption and competition. It is no wonder most of us enjoy the occasional meal out. However, I propose that we have become a band of diners who are a bit timid to ask for exactly what we are paying for – good food and good service. I suggest that we fear no longer to ask for what our restaurants advertise and, to that end, I have included a few suggestions in order to help us ensure each dining experience is exceptional.
1. Note the clock. Be aware of how much time you wish to spend at the meal and alert your waiter when you first meet so that he can tailor your courses to fit your time. If he is worth his weight in truffles, he will allow you to enjoy your meal while taking over the worry of the clock.
2. Like your seat. Eyeball the restaurant’s layout. If there is a section you do not wish to sit in or one you prefer, be certain to tell your hostess. Remember, they want you to return and will do what they can to make certain that you do.
3. Check dessert first. I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for the sweets and I grumble at myself when I miss a particularly good dessert because I devoured the main dishes. Additionally, if there is a particularly enticing dessert, try building your other courses around this in order to end your meal with a dazzle that compliments what you’ve tasted thus far.
4. Ask for recommendations. Every brilliant waiter I have had has been able to give me not only the house specials, but their personal favorites. Additionally, a good waiter will ask your taste preferences and be able to suggest what will compliment your palate. If the waiter seems ambivalent, then he usually is and you should follow your gut on his recommendations.
5. Request explanations. If there’s a term used that you can’t google or don’t understand, ask the waiter for an explanation. If the staff is well trained, then your waiter should be able to offer a detailed explanation and connect the technique or the food to the dish and its flavors.
6. Be honest. If there’s a course that doesn’t match its description on the menu or your requested preparation, say something. The kitchen cannot fix the error if they do not know what is wrong.