Mixed feelings

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In the old days it was called shooting oneself in the foot.  I don’t know what the current usage is, but the idiom still works in any case.

I am not a professional restaurant critic, thank goodness. However, I frequent restaurants, and I have some preferences along the lines of eptness.

(After a little prodding from the editor, the restaurant in question was named: Barbette. Blogger Jackie Alfonso added – I think they really do some lovely things, I just wish the servers would pause to think now and then.)

Every now and then my charming brother and his lovely wife, my daughter and one or two others, enjoy family celebrations where someone else does the cooking and more important, the cleaning up. 

We try to choose restaurants that are new, or could use the business, or that do something exceptional. If possible we try to select places where we have at least a nodding acquaintance with the people involved.

Last Sunday was my birthday, and the family members mentioned above planned an evening at a restaurant we had not visited for some time (largely because reservations were hard to come by). Sunday was, of course, a religious holiday, and many places were closed.

This particular restaurant posts a rather huffy notice that sternly indicates that anyone showing up late for a reservation may be by-passed.

We showed up on time and found a staff that couldn’t recall our reservations until their supervisor participated. We had an interesting view of a naked woman at one of the sidewalk tables – ultimately someone lent her a jacket.

We are all people who enjoy new food experiences, who are adventurous in that regard.  We took our time planning out a very nice meal, with appropriate wines, and we were very much looking forward to the occasion. The person who took our orders for starters turned around to relay them to the other staff, and the staff member behind her dropped a heavily laden tray on the floor. After the starters our table was cleared, and that tray leapt out of the hands of staff and half way across the room. In all, a total of four entirely full trays went down while we were there.

I would far rather have slow service than all of that din accompanying speed. All of us were charmed by the products of the kitchen, impressed by the new wine list, and would have been likely to return. In the meantime, I hope that someone helps the staff to feel more confident about their professionalism. The rabbit was excellent, some of the steak was chewable, the paté was superb, but the din of breaking crockery was far too persistent.