Tag Archives: pinot grigio

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.

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The Devil Under Table “4”

12 Sep

Call me superstitious, but sometimes tables just can’t shake-off the bad energy, of the last pair who sat there. 

Certain  tables, on the right nights, that are just plain liabilities. In my restaurant for example, table “25”  is called “The Devil’s Lair,” some call it “The Arm Pit.” And on Satuday nights, “25”  is infamous for unruly parties (i.e. A group of projectile vomiting women, and most recently, Spaniards.)

This evening I’m in section 5, which is three deuces, a five top and an eight top.  It’s an easy section, but I’m concerned about  Table “4.”  You see, I’ve noticed that  Table “4”  is turning into one of those tables like “25,” that seems to  attract one shipwreck of New Yorker negativity after another.

Enter my first couple, Bitch Number One and her little balding-dog-of-a-man (We’ll call him Roni).  Bitch Number One had every idea, but no idea, about what she wanted to drink. She had similar ideas about what to wear. Roni had no idea, at all.

Let the scene begin:

“A cocktail, but I hate bubbles, the fizz you know. And I like sweet, but not too sweet… (She asks Roni  what she should drink in her native tongue -perhaps Russian-, he suggests something, and she, happy that he falls for this trap of confidence, belittles him for even thinking she might drink such a liqueur.) I don’t know. What do you think?”

Now, I wish I didn’t have to fall for the trap like Roni, because I know she’s not going to pick anything I mention; she will undoubtedly remember some drink she used to order in the nineties, but still, I must play, for it is my job. I must wait.

-Perhaps a vodka gimlet up?

-What’s that?

-Lime juice, vodka…

-No vodka. Ew!

Ah yes, so it begins, the long road to nothing. Time is of the essence. There are drinks to be run, orders to be taken, and I cannot forget the candle on that birthday cake, table thirty-four, seat three, the underage girl with unruly hair. And here comes the hostess , scouting out new territory. She spies my empty section, with hungry eyes to report back to the Maitre D’. It’s just a matter of time before she will navigate a school of people through the dining room, to colonize my entire section. One table at a time.

Bitch Number One must decide. Decide Bitch, decide. But no, it’s not about her decision. It’s about the charade of deciding.  She has no other profession or joy in life, but to decide; and she decides like a pro: the scalloped edge or the smooth… the turquoise or the teal… Cherry Hill or Upstate?  There must be a satisfactory number of options offered before the game can end.

And so I desperately throw suggestions in the air, until the quota is met.

-Uhm. What about a mojito without soda water?

-What is that?

-It’s mint, lime, lite rum shaken…

-No mint. I can’t tolerate mint.

-A light glass of reisling, perhaps a pinot grigio?

-Nooooo. Nooooo. A red. Something good.

-I have a beautiful pinot noir by the glass from Oregon.

-Not california?

-Not by the glass, no.

-Welllll.

Throw me a bone bitchThrow me a bone. After seven minutes of performing “What Drink Am I?,” Bitch Number One settles on a Bellini, despite her vow against “the fizz.”

And Roni, gets a Heineken Light. I pour the Heineken Light table-side for Roni. He lets me pour it; he drinks it, and then tells me he would prefer it in the bottle.

-No problem.

I bring a new Heineken, and Bitch Number One asks if she can “move the table.”

-Can I move the table?

-Uhm, like, move it over?

-Can I move the table up there (she points to the second floor seating)?

-Oh. Unfortunately, no.

I say this with enough confidence that the issue is properly dropped. And I go without incident for the whole meal, order, apps and check back, until Roni gets to the last three bits of his filet-MediumWell. He flags me over, points to three small, cuts of filet on his plate, and asks if I can add some more heat to them. Well, what am I going to say?

No, sir. It’s impossible to grill three pieces of meat this small, as they will fall through the cracks on the grill, and if I bring these three pieces of meat back to the chef, in the heat of service at 9pm, when he is trying to push out two hundred covers,  he is going to tell me to go fuck myself.

-No problem.

Fortunately chef said, “Fuck me! Fuck me!,” when he saw the three pieces of meat, and not, “Fuck you.” After the morsels were burnished brown, with a hand held blow torch from the pastry department, I ran them back to Roni, but neglected to bring him his original steak sauce.

-Where is the sauce? There is a sauce, no?

Roni found it highly amusing that I didn’t bring his sauce, it was as if I had poured wine on the table, without there being a glass to pour it into.

Hang on here. We both know the reason you are laughing at my alleged stupidity right now, is because you are uncomfortable that you just had me refire your dainty scraps of meat, and the bussers are looking at you for the fool that you are.

-Oh, I’m so sorry. Let me get that for you.

End scene.

Needless to say, there is difficulty turning this table –deliberations over desert, sent back espressos, and continued requests to “move the table–; but, I make sure that within twelve minutes of Roni finishing his meat-morsels, the only hint of this man and his Bitch is a signed check, on table “4.”

Within seconds, the table is reset and the newly seated pair –two women– situate themselves.  I approach the thirty-somethings, who appear to be  dressed for a rehearsal of Michael Jackson’s Thriller (Not the human part, the monster part.) And my deep suspicions about table “4” becoming a problem table are confirmed.

-Hello, ladies. How are you?

-Not so good, considering we waited half an hour for this shitty table.