This weekend I grabbed dinner with a friend at Zaytinya. Zaytinya is one of my go to restaurants; the food is always reliably good and it is chic without being stuffy. The special list never disappoints and this weekend was no exception. On the special list that night was a delightful dish of shredded lamb in phyllo dough served with a feta yogurt sauce–it was really remarkable.
But this is not about the food or the atmosphere or even the specials. Once again, I feel the need to discuss my favorite topic–service.
Let me state upfront I am very “New England” in some ways. I am not a chit chatter or a small talker with strangers. I always acknowledge people and say my pleases and thank yous, but I am not one to idly banter about the weather or what not. It simply is not the way of my people or how I do. Also, my father has been in food service his whole life–as a bartender and a server and now as a store manager at Starbucks–so I really “get” food service. I am not a snob, nor do I think folks in food service are below me…they are me.
Our waitress was capable and our food arrived promptly. Our drinks never waited too long for a refill, though she could have been a bit swifter. The thing that bothered me? Her extreme eagerness.
I know, I know. I am a huge bitch, but really? Do I need an in depth recitation of 6 dishes on the menu she likes? Do I need to laugh about how our names are similar? Not really. It didn’t bother me that much and it certainly did not ruin an awesome meal, but I found it mildly intrusive. My friend pointed out that servers need to hustle and make an impression since they are working for tips. It is a very valid point, but if you are competent, friendly, and attentive, you are a good server. I am not looking for a new friend.
This seems to happen a lot, the overly familiar server. I have been called “hun”; the only place I find this acceptable is at a dinner and someone named Flo is slinging my coffee. The greeting “hey guys” also kind of irks me in a nicer restaurant. But most annoying? Those servers who sit down and talk to you. It has happened more than once and frankly, I damn near want to push them off the chair every time it happens.
So what say you? Am I off base? A huge bitch? On to something? I want to hear your thoughts on service and what is the appropriate level of interaction.