Archive | November, 2010

I want a cosmo, but not a cosmo.

28 Nov

Sometimes I’m not sure people realize how stupid their comments sound out loud. Tonight I kept getting the most asinine requests that I didn’t know how to respond to, or execute for that matter. They just kept coming, one after another. In this post I’ve listed: a) the guest’s request; b) what I wanted to say in that moment; c) what I really said, and then finally; d) how I solved the problem.

I hope you enjoy these little gems.

1) “I want a cosmo, but not a cosmo.”

What I’d like to say: “Of course.”

What I really say: “Of course.” 

Solution: I bring her a cosmo.

2) I’m supposed to meet my girlfriend here? She’s blonde? She’s really tall, ughhhh, she’s a model?

What I’d like to say: I’m sorry sir, but nobody here matches that description.

What I really say: Ooooooh, gosh, is she you’re girlfriend?

Solution: I point to the model at my table.

3) “I want it medium, but still have some redness in the steak.”

What I want to say: So you want me to change the laws of physics and cook a steak to 150 degrees but still have blood in the steak?

What I really say: No problem.

Solution: Start at rare, and if he wants more heat, give it to him.

4) “I want an extra-extra dirty martini up, but not too salty, you know… too dirty.”

What I want to say: Well, why don’t you take a trip with me to the bar, and you can tell me when it’s too salty.

What I really say: Of course.

Solution: Tell the bartender to make the saltiest martini he can conjure.

5) “I want the grilled chicken, grilled.”

What I want to say: First of all, you want the grilled chicken, why? And secondly, the last time you had the “grilled chicken” was it poached?

What I really say: I’ll make sure they grill it.

Solution: Not applicable.

6) “This Monkfish tastes too much like fish.”

What I want to say: Oh dear, well, don’t tell the fish that.

What I really say: I’m sorry to hear that. Monkfish can taste fishy.

Solution: Send out desserts.

7) [Whispered] “It’s his birthday, so can you like, do something… like not a big deal, or a candle or anything, but like a candle. You know?”

What I want to say: Fuck you.

What I really say: Yeah, I know.

 Solution: “Happy Birthday” written on the plate in chocolate.

Attack of the Clingers

27 Nov

Tonight I could not get the married, middle-aged, British woman at table 48 to stop hugging me. She was holding on to me drunk, tight, and desperate.

 “You’re sooooo fabulous. I’m going to have to introduce you to George Clark. You know George? Oh, you know him don’t you? He used to dance with what’s her name Margot, at ABT. Fontayne. Yes! You know George? Yes! He’s my friend. What are you doing for brunch Sunday? I’m going out with my designer friends. You know Zeda Ramir? The Zeda. You don’t know Zeda? Oh, she’s a sensation; she’ll love you. After brunch we can go shopping and then… then… do you go to the Boom Boom Room? My fashion friends will lo-o-o-ve you. You look so European. Oh,  you’re just like my son, except he’s not gay.” (If her son is anything like me, he is most certainly gay).

When I was a younger waiter, I used to like this type of attention from a table.  Back then, I had inserted myself into a narrative of victimhood: educated young artist waits tables to survive. “Poor me!” And every now and then, a gushing guest would come by, reminding me that indeed, I was truly fabulous.

Waiting tables is less personal these days. I’m quite grateful for my job, and the money I make.  And tonight, I wanted nothing more than to get the British “clinger” off my arm. She simpy would not let go, and her big-ass diamond ring was literally grating into my underarm.

A “clinger” is an insecure, unstable restaurant guest, whose singular intention is to make you -the server- their best friend, but just for the night. 

Clingers are usually very wealthy people, who like to make friends with the hired help, immediately endearing themselves to us, through any means necessary, and assuming a false sense of familiarity -calling us by our first names, insisting we sit down with them, and touching us like animals in a petting zoo-.  Clingers have a fetish for YFBWs (young, fabulous, broke-waiters); they have romantic notions about poverty, and what it means to be “real.” Clingers love to take on charity cases, dangling empty promises (connections, jobs, financial backing, trips to their time shares, hot dates with their celebrity friends) in order to win us over.

My British clinger insisted that I give her “my card,” like I had a professional waiter card that I handed out to people. “Give me your number then, we must meet up,” she insisted.  Quite frankly, I didn’t want to spend my afternoon with a washed up trophy-wife, as she strolled her four kids down fifth avenue. It didn’t matter how many drinks she was buying. And besides, I knew very well that she had no intention of calling in the morning; she just wanted to collect numbers, like a Chelsea chorus-boy on a bender at Barracuda.  

If I was a younger lad, this British lady would have certainly fooled me. I would have sent out dessert wine to their table, and removed the mandatory 20% gratuity on their party, in order to not insult them. Whatever.

Now I know better.  Five years ago, in another city, I had a real stage-one clinger: the Heir to the Virgin Records empire. He was a total Playboy, with all his bunnies seated around him. And for some reason he loved me. He wanted to add me to his entourage, inviting me on his personal jet to cross the pond, that very night.  It would be the Heir, me, and a lot of titties. Atleast, that’s what he was promising. 

At one point he offered to pay my rent for six months, if I could answer a riddle. In return I was to comp the entire meal, if I could not answer the riddle. Of course, I declined the offer. Regardless, he buddied up to me, and was so determined to invert the master/servant relationship, that he insisted that I “ride” him piggy-back style, around the restaurant. I definitely did not think it was a good idea, but, seeing as his bill was over $8,000, my manager also insisted that I ride on his back, atleast until another bottle of Dom was sold.

By the end of the night my manager was perfectly fine with me giving up my post, and sitting down with him at the table to drink that bottle of Dom. Little did I know, that the night would end with me running out the restaurant door with an unsigned check in my hand, sprinting down a limousine through one, two, three lights, pounding on the limo door, and demanding a signature. How fabulous am I now?

No, no, no. Tonight I would not be fooled. Once the clinger had relinquished my arm, and I was able to deflect her drunken gaze, I added the twenty-percent gratuity. When I returned with the check and she demanded that I give her my number for our Sunday brunch date, I simply said, “Oh, I’d love to see you Sunday. Come in. I’ll be here. Working.”

Priceless.

26 Nov

I left the restaurant for a month, to work on a project.  When I came back Wednesday night, it was jarring to interact with the guests; my restaurant caters to a subculture of people so entitled, that their behavior is truly out of adjustment with the rest of world, and I had forgotten just how pathological some of these people really were.

Enter my first table of the night, two twenty-something female business suits, who drank ten “grey goose n’ sodas” between the two of them, in two hours, while discussing sales demographics, and dirty office assignations.

The blonde alcoholic seated in the banquet asked me if “there were any bones in the chicken,” as if bones would certainly render any entrée inedible. I responded, “yes, there were some bones in the thigh meat,” and “no, we couldn’t remove them from the dish.” The notion that a chicken had bones, which could not be removed, revolted the blonde to such a degree, that she opted for the chilean sea bass instead.

When the sea bass arrived at the table, I checked back with the blonde. She was indignant, and began a passive aggressive tirade.

“I’m not difficult. I’m not,” she said. “… But you remember how I asked you if the chicken had bones?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Well, I can’t eat something with skin. This has skin on it. You didn’t tell me there was skin on it. I can’t eat this. It’s disgusting.” (the very thin  and tasty skin –easily removeable– was on one side of the filet.)

“Do you want Chef to remove the skin in the kitchen?,” I offered.

“No, now that I know it has skin. I can’t think about it. Just get me whatever she’s having,” the blonde said, pointing to her friend’s plate, and waving me away with her wrist.

I personally brought the blonde her new couscous entrée, but she had to get a little dig in first, before I was excused.

“Are you new here?,” she said.

“No,” I said.

“Well, I guess you’re a little slow on the learning curve then.” (her implication being that someone who doesn’t like bones in chicken, obviously can’t tolerate skin on a fish). 

“Yes,” I happily agreed. “I guess I’m a little slow on the learning curve.”

“Going forward. If there’s skin on a fish, you really should mention it.”

“Thank You,” I said, with the most saccharin smile I could muster. “I don’t know what I was thinking. I will make sure to mention it… Going forward.”

I kept my cool, but couldn’t resist when the perfect opportunity to one-up her presented itself: the blonde at the banquet paid with a novelty “alum” credit-card, sponsored by my alma mater. We were both graduates of the same over-priced university. Cute! And she was treating me like shit. Cuter! 

The second she handed me the card, I noticed our alma mater’s iconic university building, clearly featured on the card-front, and I uttered the building’s name under my breath, as if it was a passing thought.  The blonde was drunk, but she picked up on my cue immediately. Oh, the look on her face. I didn’t even give her the satisfaction of apologizing. I just dropped the check and said, “Have a wonderful evening, ladies.”

Chilean sea bass, at a swanky NYC restaurant: $32 dollars.

Ten Grey goose and sodas, with two-limes: $160 dollars.

Letting a privileged bitch know that she’s a bitch, without calling her a “bitch,” and losing your job: Priceless.