two questions about fancy restaurants

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Benny G, Jun 14, 2005.

  1. Benny G

    Benny G Second Unit

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2001
    Messages:
    250
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'll be going to a fancy restaurant in a few days...and I had a couple questions that I think need to be answered before I go. It'll be my first time in a place so nice, and I want to be sure I don't do anything really stupid. :b

    1) Can I pay with cash ($200-300)? I would of course use $100/$50 bills. Or is credit card really the only way to go?

    2) How do I tip the maitre d'?! I was reading some things online about tipping, etc, and what I read was that I should be discrete about it. Help! [​IMG] Of course you see the "movie" handshake/tip. Is that how it's really done?! [​IMG]

    I've brushed up on my dinner etiquette, tipping server (~20%).....is there anything else that I absolutely must know?

    It'll just be me and a lady.
     
  2. John_Bonner

    John_Bonner Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2000
    Messages:
    664
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    With your forks, knives, spoons...start on the outside and work in (outside most fork first, etc).
     
  3. Mort Corey

    Mort Corey Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2003
    Messages:
    981
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Cash is always accepted, however, $100 bills are a PITA as they are usually viewed with suspicion. I prefer to at least leave the gratuity in cash even when paying the bill with a credit card. If it's a nice place and you get the service you expect, 25% (at least) would be a more appropriate gratuity...IMO.

    A nice restaurant will seat you and your server will be the one to lay the napkin in your lap. Silverware should never be placed on the table, always the plate. Silver should be placed crossed on the plate while eating and parallel to the side when finished.

    Fine dining is fun. Take your time, enjoy every morsel as if it was going to be your last meal. Once you've finished the experience I guarantee it won't be your last.

    Mort
     
  4. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    6,531
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    0


    If you have a sommelier, tip him 20% of the cost of the wine (or $5, whichever is more), usually discreetly after he brings the wine or as you see him when you leave. If you really want to impress the lady, ask for a "special dessert for two". Every chef/pastry chef has a special dessert up their sleeves and usually will whip one up. In lieu of that, if the meal is especially good, ask to thank the chef in person. He will do his damndest to get to your table and make you look like a pro, feel free to fawn over him, mentioning your favorite dish(es).

    P.S. I agree with Mort, I'll tip 20% minimum, but if the food and service is superb, I have gone as high as 35%. For example, I had an exquisite meal at Blue Ginger in Wellesley MA (owned by Food Network Chef Ming Sai). One of the best meals of my life and Ming even came out to greet us without asking. I think we spent $300 and tipped $100, the experience was that good.
     
  5. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    6,531
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    0
    One other thing (fine dining is one of my favorite things and it's cool when people experience it for the first time), it would do you well to familiarize yourself with the menu beforehand. Often the establishment will have a website with at least a partial menu. This will save you a little discomfort if the menu is at all difficult to read or understand. Feel free to ask the server details about any dish that sounds interesting. Try at least one unusual dish, within (or just outside) your usual palate. Don't just stick with the stuff you absolutely know, there is no fun in that. I'm not talking sweetbreads or rocky mountain oysters, but maybe try escargot or carpaccio or a tuna or beef tartar, a game bird or beast (pheasant, boar, venison) or maybe even foie gras, you won't regret it. Food is meant to be experienced and enjoyed, like an adventure, so be adventurous!.
     
  6. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2002
    Messages:
    3,764
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0

    On a similar note, if you're unfamiliar with the food or even the language of the menu (Traveling abroad/went to chinatown/never ate sushi/are being held captive by hungarians) just ask the server for "What the chef recommends". This makes the chef feel important because he/she thinks they have a reputation, and whatever they're good at probably isn't too scary.

    This is also how you order wine, since wine labels are a cross between a foriegn language and college math. (Except its what the sommelier recommends)
     
  7. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 1998
    Messages:
    12,325
    Likes Received:
    1,073
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Michigan

    Then, when the waiter brings the escargot, make a big scene exclaiming "there are snails on her plate"!

    ...sorry, I just had to add something from Steve Martin's The Jerk here. Please resume your much more intelligent conversation. [​IMG]
     
  8. Colton

    Colton Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2004
    Messages:
    795
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Just don't pay with $2 bills.

    - Colton
     
  9. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    6,531
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    0


    I don't know. I went to a late night place in NYC on the recommendation of a chef friend and the chef's signature dish was marrow bones in a veal reduction sauce. Scary to many. They were excellent to me, but I'll eat anything but lima beans and liver. Check that, I'll eat liver if it is smothered in bacon and onions...and they take away the liver just before serving.[​IMG]
     
  10. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Messages:
    11,763
    Likes Received:
    675
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Since 2006
    Real Name:
    Cameron Yee
    This makes me realize I've never eaten at high class restaurant, though I've definitely had my share of unusual cuisine. Growing up Asian will do that to ya [​IMG]
     
  11. Benny G

    Benny G Second Unit

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2001
    Messages:
    250
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I've already printed the menu and deciphered the important words. [​IMG]

    Will I get to help the lady with her chair? Or will the server beat me to it?
     
  12. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    6,531
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    0


    The maitre'd or seater will allow you to help her, if he/she is worth their salt. He'll probably sweep his hand at the table and ask you to be seated. You can then guide the lady (with a hand, softly on her back) over to her chair. Once there, just pull it out with both hands, offer to take her coat or wrap and let her be seated.
     
  13. Mort Corey

    Mort Corey Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2003
    Messages:
    981
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0


    Relax Benny...it ain't a race [​IMG] A good waiter should seat the lady. You're just there to provide the company and money. [​IMG]

    Mort
     
  14. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2000
    Messages:
    8,967
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Don't forget to gently smack her on the ass before she sits.

    Ladies like that in fancy restaurants.

    --
    H
     
  15. Julian Reville

    Julian Reville Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 1999
    Messages:
    1,195
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0


    Preferably, just as she is sitting, pull the chair briskly away from the table. Voila! Ker-Plop!!, as her backside hits the floor! This will get your evening off to a good start.

    Maybe you better let the maitre d' do it. [​IMG]
     
  16. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    6,531
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    0


    I usually save that for when she returns from the rest room. I figure I've eaten enough by then, so if she is offended and asks me to take her home, I got my money's worth (not to mention I can doggie bag her share).[​IMG]
     
  17. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2000
    Messages:
    3,998
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    There's nothing better than a great meal after looking forward to it! My best advice: slap a smile on your face, relax, and allow yourself to be served.

    And do not feel the need to present yourself as an expert; rather, you're an explorer in a new domain. A good waitstaff should be very knowledgable about all aspects of the cuisine (except maybe the wine - there may be a separate sommelier), and you are meant to take advantage of their expertise. You may know exactly what you want, but be inclined to ask for a recommendation if not. The waitstaff will be flattered and will certainly want to recommend something that pleases you (or warn you off an item that's proven less than spectacular).

    If the staff is good, the service will be very discreet, but there will be a good deal more activity involving the food presentation. Simply sit back, put your hands in your lap and observe or carry on your conversation around it. Don't try to "help" place items on the table or hand-off used dishware. Let it all be placed/removed by the staff.

    If you ordered wine, they'll present the bottle to you just to confirm that it's what you ordered and pour a small amount for you to taste. No need for elaborate swishing or pronunciations of greatness; you're really only making sure the wine hasn't "corked" (in which case it will taste like rancid vinegar). Just swish it down and nod. If even this makes you uncomfortable, then order by the glass. This'll give you a chance to try different wines (and alternate red to white depending on the course), and will also make it more likely than not that you're glass will be poured from a previously opened bottle that someone else has confirmed hasn't gone "off".

    And just linger over the details. Enjoy every bite. Don't rush, don't hurry. Make your wife and the conversation the point of the meal, rather than the individual courses. The only way you won't have fun is if you don't relax!
     
  18. Stephen J*

    Stephen J* Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2004
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    If you're paying cash with $100's and $50s, that shouldn't be a problem in a fancy place. Just keep some smaller bills for tips etc. (ie Valet, coat check).

    Probably don't need to tip the maitre d or host unless something special is done. If you're in Vegas, one reccomendation I saw on maitre d tipping is to use a high dollar casino chip, keep in mind that most others outside the casino proper can't take these as money though.
     
  19. Don Black

    Don Black Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 1998
    Messages:
    1,480
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Definitely no need to tip the maitre d' or hostess ... unless she's smokin' hot ... or did something above and beyond the call of duty (e.g., got you in w/o reservations, etc.)

    Also, much as people have said that it's important to reward good service with a good tip (17+%), you should also feel free to reward bad service with a bad tip 5%-10%. I had a terrible meal at Chanterelle in NYC one night and tipped 5%.
     
  20. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    Messages:
    12,060
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Jeff and Rich in particular offer sound advice. Sit back and enjoy yourself. I save the pats on the ass for desert.

    I lived in Lansing in what now seems another life and I assume that the 'better' restuarants are now indeed, better. [​IMG]
     

Share This Page