A ‘Touching’ Meal

Last night I had a wonderful meal at an extremely fun restaurant. I hesitate to resort to hyperbole and compare it to Momofuku Ssam Bar in New York, but I think they share many elements, from the generous use of offal to the tendency to overdo dishes, rather than let the delicious components shine alone. Our service was impeccable, my only issue was a personal pet peeve.

Don’t touch me. I hate when wait staff touches me. Our waiter took an order from the table next to me and then on his way to put it in lightly brushed my shoulder and said he’d be back for our drinks. I bristled. I am not a prickly person, I give hugs out like they’re candy, but for some reason I find it creepy and fake when I’m touched by waitstaff. B was excited to place an order for the Fishtail IPA on tap and I ordered a glass of Monastrell. He coursed our dishes perfectly, starting with the seared foie gras. Topped with bacon and perched over brioche french toast, I was perfectly happy, even with the superfluous gastrique anchoring it to the plate. Like I mentioned above, I found the dishes all to be impeccable, save for overzealous plating and garnishing.

“And here is your marrow bones topped with onion compote” our waiter put his hand on my back as he placed the dish on the table. Would he do that to B if it were he on the outside rather than me? Was there a need to do that? And why in God’s name would you top the delicious meatiness of marrow bones with such an overwhelmingly strong flavor as onion compote. He even suggested that if we wanted to get to the meat we scrape it to the side. But onion compote aside, the marrow was amazing, spread on toast bits (we had to ask for more) with sea salt and frisee, which cut the richness. In all fairness, the onion compote was flavorful and pleasing, I just did not want it mixed up in my marrow. I ate it later, sprinkled with the sea salt.

The meal continued like this, the waiter touching me, our delicous meats being anchored with overwhelming sauces (tete de cochon glued to the plate with a citrus something or other, oxtail and gnocchi with some sort of cheese paste). Over all it was a great meal accompanied by otherwise inscrutable service. The olives were forgotten and we recieved a comped dessert in return. Then, as we recieved our check a to-go box of olives was dropped, as they were “unmissable” according to our waiter.

I left pleased and achingly full. I wouldn’t hesitate to reccomend this place to anyone else. But my true question is, when is it okay for my waiter to touch me?


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