I don’t go out for fine dining as often anymore but when I do, my expectations are well within reason of a diner. There are many factors in a restaurant that will determine whether I will be a returning patron. These factors can range from the cleanliness of its restrooms to the way the interior is decorated, but the sake of this essay, I will narrow down to the three most common-service, food and price. Service- Upon entering, I expect a host or hostess to acknowledge my presence and escort me to a table as soon as one is available.
The waiter or waitress, who will be serving me, should have a good knowledge of what is on the menu for both food and wine. The server should also be quick to fill my glasses when empty. After my food has been served and a few bites into my dinner, I should be asked if it is to my approval. If not, inquire why and do something about it. My server should be proactive and attentive and instead of having to be flagged down for everything. Most of all, they should be pleasant and willing in making my experience an enjoyable one.
After all, I’m not just paying for the food but paying for the service as well. Remember, TIPS is short for To Insure Prompt Service. Food- Since I will be paying for my food, I would expect it to be nothing less of delectable. Of course, presentation of the dish itself should be appetizing, but the taste is what I’m here for. If a medium-rare steak is what I order, then I want to see it seared on the outside and pinkish to slightly red towards the center thickness.
Just as important, flavor should be as close to, if not exactly, as described in the menu and by the server. Vegetables, if done correctly, will add a perfect compliment. I’ve eaten at places where vegetables were so over cooked; I swear it came from a can. The point is if your food tastes like cafeteria food, complain. Let’s face it, if I’m going to fork out a “Ben Franklin” for this, it had better be worth that. Price-As the old saying “You get what you pay for” couldn’t be further from the truth. Even for something that you’ve consumed before you pay for it.
But then again, the price that I’m willing to pay is for the entire experience; not just the worth of the ingredients in making my entree and for the service provided, but ultimately for my enjoyment of the meal. If I smile after each shovel of food into my mouth as opposed to a frown after each nibble, then it’s all worth it. This doesn’t necessarily mean I have to a pay and an arm and a leg for it either. I always say that when I leave a restaurant a little poorer in wealth but richer in culinary culture, then it’s worth a recommendation and better than that- a return visit.
After all, regular customers and returning patrons are the ones who help keep their doors open. With all that being said, the establishment that I have been modeling the structure of this essay with, which exceeded all three of my criteria as well as others I didn’t mention is Forbes Mill Steakhouse in Los Gatos, California. Only twenty minutes from my house and is highly recommended to anyone be it local or visitors of the San Francisco Bay Area.