Tag Archives: new yorkers

44 Patron shots in 10 minutes

24 Oct

Last night I had a twenty-two top that waited over an hour for a table.  It was a bunch of trust fund kids (by kids, I mean early thirty-somethings who have fake jobs, and are drinking with the same people who they invited to their Bar Mitzvah.)

Needless to say, by the time I got them they were already drunk from waiting at the bar, and very, very irritable.  My manager sent them a round of shots at the get-go. And then another manager sent them another round of shots, with the rationalization, “These people run in some crazy circles.” That’s 44 shots delivered in a matter of ten minutes -not fun to carry on one tray, and run around a crowded banquet table-.

For the record, I’m a high-volume rockstar, if I do say so myself. They could not have been in better hands. I can handle that many people. I just can’t handle that many people who aren’t aware that they ARE that many people, and that it does take some time to get an order in, when a party is that large.

Of course once I got to the table I was held there for twenty minutes taking a food and drink order, despite the fact I had other tables. It was IMPOSSIBLE to leave. And of course, it took another ten minutes to make the twenty-two specialty cocktails ordered. And it takes another ten minutes to deliver their drinks. So— yes, some people had to wait twenty minutes for their drinks.

This one guy kept saying, “I’m waiting on the Goose Rocks that never came.” By this time I was pretty pissed and just said, “Oh yeah, well, it takes a few minutes to make twenty-two-drinks.” He responded with, “Well, since it’s taking so long, put in three more Grey Goose rocks in, now.”

Did I mention that five “joiners” came to the table, making it 27 people? And there was nowhere to put them. Nowhere. And we were so busy that nobody could help me. I delivered all the drinks, cleared the table, put down their miss en place for the entrees, cleared and entrees and put down the set-up for desert. (My busser was probably eating a filet somewhere in a side-station.)

Basically the night consisted of me cocktailing my ass off till there tab was at about $2,700. They started a small food fight when they couldn’t agree who would pay the bill. First they handed me 12 credit cards. When I explained I couldn’t split the bill that many ways, they played Credit Card Russian Roulette, and settled on 8 cards.

By the time I was done running around for this table, and bussing it, I had sweat through my shirt and was fairly delirious. I was so out of it in fact, that the table adjacent to the douche-bags offered to let me sit down with them. I did sit with them, and conversed, while I waited for the douches to play Roulette.

It took me about seven minutes to apply the cash, and split the bill 8 ways. One of the douches came back to the server station and demanded to know what was taking so long. I just looked at him and said, “I’m on check number 8 right now, Sir.” He responded with, “Oh, man, thanks, right… I mean, it’s not your fault. You’re great man… I mean, you’re really cool.” I had to wonder why he was yelling at me then if I was “really cool.”

They were a classy group.

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10 lies, in 60 minutes.

19 Oct

New Yorkers distrust Waiters, and they should; we are forced to lie constantly.

In one hour alone, the following 10 lies were told tonight:

1) “I’m sorry sir but we’re out of that Burgundy.”

Translation: Management has reserved 12 bottles of your Burgundy for a private party.

2) “You’re still waiting on that Cosmo… oh.”

Translation: You’re cut-off, Drunkard.

3) “It is cold… I know… I just told a manager to raise the temperature.”

Translation: Management is literally chilling the walls because this place is going to be packed with hundreds of people, and your individual body temperature is of no concern to me, or to them.

4) “I don’t own a TV.”

Translation: Yes, that is the girl from The Sopranos.

5) “Oh, yes, I love the Monkfish.”

Translation: Your date just ordered the Monkfish, after I recommended the Halibut, and now you are asking me if it’s any good.

6) “The busser just cleared your water glass? Oh– so sorry, let me get you another.”

Translation: You’ve been holding this table for two hours; get the hell out!

7) “Yeah, unfortunately that table’s taken.”

Translation: You can’t sit there, douche-bag.

8) “He said thanks. He got the joke.”

Translation: The NFL superstar didn’t get the “Blow-Job” shots you ordered him, and I’m not going to solicit him, asshole. Did you really think I’d give a football player “blow-job” shots?

9) ”   —   .”

Translation: If I say anything right now, “yes,” or “no,” to whatever sexually inappropriate question you just asked me, I’ll be fired.

10) “It’s a good time. You’ll have fun.”

Translation: I’d rather wait two-hours for an G-train, than see that Broadway show.

Waiter, I’d like a “Pinot.”

13 Oct

“I’d like a Pinot,” many a guest will tell me, perusing the bottle list.

Unfortunately, “Pinot” has become the accepted moniker  for “Pinot Noir,” and the phrase “I’d like a Pinot,” is often a red flag for snobbery, much like the word “appee” is a sure sign of douche-baggery (See my post Spreken Ze Douche.)

If I want to one-up the snobs I reply with, “Would you like a Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Meunier, or Pinot Grigio?”

Inevitably they want a Pinot Noir, but the real problem is that people who say “I want a Pinot,” really have no idea what they want, even if it’s a Pinot Noir.

There is ONE underlying factor that determines what someone who says “I’ll have a Pinot” wants, and it has nothing to do with region, taste, year, or food-pairing.

Usually the conversation goes something like this:

Waiter: “What region?  Would like an old world Burgundy, or something from Oregon, California or perhaps New Zealand?”  

Snob: “I don’t know.”

Waiter: “Well… are you looking for light, soft, fruit-foward Pinot Noir, or something darker, earthier, with more tannins and spice?” (Of course, the best wines  may have all these qualities, but it’s a start.)

Snob: “Ughhhh…. I don’t know.”

Waiter: Let’s go by food pairing. You’re getting the filet, and she’s getting Monkfish, so how about something dry, medium bodied, with ripe fruit for the fish, yet enough tannins for your filet? Let’s look at this Oregon…

Snob: Uhmmm, okay. But I’m still not sure if…

Waiter: I love this winemaker here… (Snob sees price; $162 dollars).

Snob: No— no no. I’ll have to look at this a second…

Waiter: There’s also a similar Pinot Noir, not quite as complex, from Central California… (Snob sees price $54.)

Snob: Oh. We’ll try that. Sure, why not?

See, “I’ll have a Pinot,” also means “take me to the $50 dollar bottle,” which isn’t problematic except when you are being directed to the $50 dollar bottle of Pinot Noir (Thankfully my restaurant doesn’t even bother with $50 bottles of Merlot, “No-no0-na-no.”)

“Take me to the $50 bottle you’d drink,” is indeed a very good question to ask a waiter, because the waiter will know exactly what delicious bottle to recommend. The guy who can ask for his price point right off the bat is certainly going to get a better bottle, than the snob who pretends to not care about the price.

Lesson learned? I hope so, Mr. Pinot.

The Wine Nazi: “NO WINE FOR YOU!”

7 Oct

You all remember “The Soup Nazi” from Seinfeld? Well, I just met “The Wine Nazi;” he’s a twenty-eight-year-old Lebanese tight-wad (or should I say tight-end?) who graduated from Cornell, works in a PR firm, and who lost three-hundred dollars on Fantasy Football last week (Yes, I got all that information from his conversation tableside).

 Tonight the Wine Nazi thumbed through the wine menu for his party of four. Price was the only factor.  The varietal, terroirvintage and winemaker were inconsequential.

He chose a cheap bottle from a mega-wine-maker, a $72 dollar Malbec that you can get at Trader Joe’s for $13 bucks. 

After he tasted and approved the Argentinian grape juice, I started to pour his guests a small glass (To begin with, I am always conservative when it comes to the first pour; I find that a series of consecutive small pours kills a bottle faster, and ensures a second sale; the guest always thinks there is more coming, and therefore, drinks more liberally). 

I was just about to pour 1.5 ounces on the first guest’s glass, when Wine Nazi threw out his hand like a traffic cop, covering the guest’s glass, and scolding me, “No-no-no! No more.”

I thought maybe his friend didn’t want to  drink much, and the Wine Nazi was trying to help me.  And so on the next pour I went even slower. Sure enough, just as I was about to hit 1.5 ounces (less than half a pour), the Wine Nazi’s  hand flared up to stop me.

It’s not unusual for guests to silently indicate they don’t want to drink more, by raising their hand to the glass (This is a polite and traditional gesture. Blue Monied persons usually just raise the hand without comment, or thanks.  It’s very classy, much like putting your knife and fork parallel to eachother, as a signal to clear the plate.) 

However,  I’d never had the person ordering the wine, physically and verbally command me to “STOP!” pouring, before the first toast.  The Wine Nazi seemed to get a real kick out of ordering a bottle, and then having the power to dispense it over his friends.  It was pretty rude and messed up in my opinion.

The strange part was that he didn’t just pour the wine himself, and looked at me impatiently when his friends’ glasses were empty, as if to say, “Hey lazy, aren’t you going to fill our glasses?” But of course, the moment I started to pour, there was the traffic-light hand again, telling me to stop.

I should have just yelled at him, “NO WINE FOR YOU!”

Virgins: Weapons of Mass Destruction

6 Oct

“I’ll have a virgin Kir Royale, please.”

Only in New York City, does a fifteen-year-old  know what a “virgin” drink is, let alone a “Virgin Kir Royale” (Does anyone know what a “Virgin Kir Royale” is, besides the bartender at a Dalton School Bar Mitzvah?)

Creme de cassis and ginger beer, (Chambord is the traditional choice)” instructs our savvy adolescent  (Let’s call her Kit, shall we?) 

             “Well Kit,” I say. “Sorry– can’t do the cassis, but I can get you–”

             “Soda and pineappe; just a splash of pineapple will do,” she replies.

Kit isn’t “putting on” being thirty-two. She is a convincing adult socialite in every way (sans the job, or income), but probably with just as much of the sex, alcohol and therapy bills.

Kit is a lanky blonde, with a cherub’s face. She is dressed in ’90’s retro, like Mayim Bialik in Blossom (I forgot how awful the introducing credits really were), with purple leggings, leather boots, a belted baggy thrift dress, and an outlandishly large rimmed hat.  She is out with her dad, a sixty-something Texan-turned-New-Yorker, who talks of nothing but smart bombs and missile tracking devices, over their foie gras and virgin drinks (He insists on not drinking if his daughter is not permitted to imbibe.)

Kit is a trip. One might think her pretension bothers me, but I find it fascinating, if not freakish. Clearly she has eaten almost every meal of her life in a restaurant.  She has already mastered the art of talking to waiters, and uses a knowing tone, both charming and insistent.  She doesn’t even bother looking at the menu.

“Just send us whatever you think’s best. I trust you. But can you make sure to space it out. And I know you wouldn’t do this, but, no chicken. Pleeeeez.”

This kid is too much. What is she going to be like in twenty-years? If she is already “over” chicken, how long will it be before she is over filet mignon, before she is over Burgundies, bourbon, blow?  Might she ever be over… dare I say it… chocolate?!? Poor Kit.

After the espressos, Kit is in a hurry to get home.  She slips me her credit card for the bill. The Amex is indeed issued to her, and when I place the bill on the table, she gives me one of those “thank you’s” that implies an apology, as if to say, “Can you believe he’s still talking about Weapons of Mass Destruction?”  She glances at the bill for two seconds, just enough to garner a total, before tipping and signing it like a businessman at lunch –quick, nonchalant, pre-calculated–. 

It is Tuesday night. There’s still homework to be done. Romeo and Juliet must be read by 8am.  There are boys to be called, and prenuptials to be hashed out over a real Kir Royale, or maybe a cosmo, or maybe just a Xanax.

Mean Girls

5 Oct

Tonight I got a signed credit card slip with a message on it. Usually the messages are something nice like, “Thanks So Much” or “We’ll be back,” or perhaps a “Call Me” with a phone number; but tonight I got a passive aggressive rant:

“HORRIBLE SERVICE! SO DISSAPOINTED!”

I’m a little embarrassed by how much this message, accompanied by a less than ten percent tip on a three hundred dollar bill, truly bothered me.  I felt like I had just been bullied.

The questions kept flaring:

What did I do? Why don’t the mean girls like me? Like me damn-it. Like me!

Why leave a message? Why do you have to justify your punk-ass cheapness? Just leave a tip you think is “appropriate,” and leave it at that. Why go for the obligatory “fuck you” at the end, and then smile when I pick up the check? 

And to top it off, it was written in the hand of a second grade teacher, perfect girly print, that insinuated stars, hearts, and smiley faces to follow. The two exclamation points, punctuating the end of two incomplete clauses, also really pissed me off (P.S. I hardly edit these posts, and I acknowledge that my complaining about punctuation right now is literal irony). 

People don’t realize that waiters can get fired over these middle-school notes (Correction: Women don’t realize… It’s always women leaving these silent slurs, these back-handed bitch slaps ((–yes, that’s right, I’m being sexist–, but you can still call me when he breaks up with you.)  The men don’t bother with it; they just don’t tip you.))

I once had a friend who was fired from an Elephant and Castle, when a woman wrote, “Check the attitude,” on a signed slip. Fortunately I showed the comment to my manager, and she just laughed.

“You have five seconds to get over this,” she said.

Well, it’s 1:04 AM and I’m still not over it. Maybe I should have passed the Girly Handwriting Lady a secret note of my own, just snuck it in the bill, or in the pocket of her windbreaker in coat-check, an innocent  ruse like, “Okay face! Awful shoes!” or “Fix your voice.”

Well, well… Look who’s being the mean girl now?

OVERHEARD: Freddie takes the subway?

4 Oct

Table 1, A husband and wife who definitely own a brownstone on the Upper-West Side, conversing over their mutual friend Freddie, who seems to be in a bit of a scrap, after his divorce from a younger woman. 

Wife: So how is Freddie?

Husband: It’s horrible. Last I heard he had to lay-off  his driver.

Wife: He what? You mean to tell me Freddie takes the subway?

Husband: I guess. I don’t know what he does. Walks?

Wife: He walks from 96th St. to Union Square? Come on. He takes the subway!

Husband: I guess he does.

Wife: My god. When was the last time you took the subway, 1922?

Husband: Very cute. 1972, thank you.