Signs of a True Diner: Things that Make Me Feel All Warm and Gooey Inside

On a positive note, I have been experiencing some amazing people in the restaurant scene that simply know how to dine, do it right, and do it often. In the midst of my criticisms, I felt compelled to write a post dedicated to those wonderful few who by the slightest little actions in a restaurant make me feel a warm and happy glow of hope for humankind.

First, when it comes to transferring tabs from the bar to a table, here’s to you for tipping out the bartender. So many times people ask for their bar tab to be transferred to a table and don’t leave a tip for the bartender that has been courteously taking care of them while they wait for their table. To the diners who show their bartenders the love that they deserve for their service provided I say well done. Oh…and a little side note, here’s to the servers that are aware of their transfers, realize they did none of the work, and show due love by tipping the bartender out extra at the end of the night.

I recently experienced a group of diners that sat down for a nice meal on a Sunday and in the confidence of their server, allowed him along with the input of the rest of the staff, select their entire wine pairings for the evening. I should mention what was wonderfully selected, 1998 Hugel Reisling, 2005 M. Chapoutier La Bernardine Chateau Neuf Du Pape, 2003 Rieussec Sauternes. Not a bad night of wine drinking. It was absolutely wonderful to see a group of diners who believed enough in the knowledge of the staff and the quality of the wine list to allow their entire wine pairings to be selected for them. And what better way to enjoy the conversation of your company and the experience of a restaurant by allowing them to take everything out of your hands and provide you with the framework for a beautiful evening. To the bold few that provide the privilege of selecting food and wine to a restaurant staff, I say well done. It is equally as enjoyable for you as it is for them.

I love it when I open a bottle of wine, pour a tasting amount for the guest, and he or she simply lifts the wine to the nose, smells, and says the wine is correct. It makes me feel so good inside, like I just signed up for one of those save a child for a dollar a day programs. It lets me know that the guest is aware what they ordered, that it isn’t a matter of whether or not the wine tastes good to them, but whether the wine is correct, meaning it isn’t corked, or dead in the bottle. Personally, I don’t think wine should even be tasted when it is first poured to determine its correctness. I don’t see the point. It hilarious to me when I open up a wine and someone smells and tastes it as if they are approving whether or not they like the wine. I don’t care whether or not you like it, you ordered it, your drinking it, I’m just allowing you to see whether or not it is correct. And for someone to believe they are judging the quality of wine by the way it tastes in the first minute of being open is just foolishness. Imagine judging every song by the first ten seconds or a book by the first paragraph. Wines may drink great right out of the bottle, but often times, especially when it comes to older wines, it may take hours to open up. And great wines change as they open up, show different flavors on the palate, different aromas on the nose, and make it impossible to judge how they are going to show by tasting them when they are first opened up. We should all be so lucky to drink such wine and to those that simply raise the glass to their nose when they do and reply “it’s correct”, I raise my glass to you.

Lastly, a couple quickies to slip in: guests that order bottled water, pay with a card but tip in cash, order rare, don’t substitute greens for fries, use the same glass, refuse to order hot tea, sit at the bar, start with sparkling, smoke cigarettes, Barack Obama, believe in love, Paris, 1999 Raveneu Chablis, Paulette Godard, French Bulldogs, and the time I tried out for Jeopardy.

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One Response to “Signs of a True Diner: Things that Make Me Feel All Warm and Gooey Inside”

  1. Do Bianchi Says:

    Benoit, I promise to always start with sparkling and to always believe in love…

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