Return of Dining Decorum

While there’s clearly a downside to the recession, evidence is emerging that suggests an unexpected and uncommon upturn — a return to civility from the worst offenders of all that is genteel and mannerly — the haughty representatives of the service industry better known as surly waiters. The self-appointed demigods of cuisine who have long intimidated, exasperated, and, on occasion, eviscerated wary diners are now adopting the new mantra of the times – humbling humanity.

“The attitude that a number of places used to have, they don’t have anymore,” a New York restauranteer noted, her tone of voice communicating equal measures bewilderment and relief. “That attitude of ‘we’re doing you a favor,’ that frosty condescending attitude — I don’t find that anymore. And I’ve experienced that change over and over again.” Servers, she said, make double- and triple-sure that the table has everything it needs. Managers circle back to the table more often than ever to ask, with new urgency, if everything’s O.K.”

For opportunistic diners, there are at least three big advantages to this trend.

1. Great food at relatively reasonable prices.

2. Dining opportunities at great but previously unavailable restaurants at good times.

3. The chance to become a highly valued regular at your favorite restaurant. If they’re doing things right and you support them when times are tough (visit often, tip well, etc.), they’ll gratefully reward you in better times with reservations at prime times, VIP treatment, and dishes “courtesy of the chef.”

NY Times



~ by eaesthete on 02/07/09.

One Response to “Return of Dining Decorum”

  1. My wife and I managed to free up a night last week for a night out on the town. Nice mid range restaurant. We’d been there before, but this was like opening night. Everyone was courteous, polite, eager to please. Good to know something worthwhile might come out of this.

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