Three years ago, just after I moved to Los Angeles, a girlfriend invited me out to dinner in Silverlake. The space was gorgeous, with lots of character, and the menu hit all the right local-sustainable-farm-to-table notes.
It was early, because we had 8:00 plans, and so the dining room was empty when we arrived. After we were seated on a banquette table, and pulled the napkins onto our laps, my friend noticed the booths in the middle of the room and thought that maybe we should ask to moved. Since we had already ordered drinks, and handled all the linen and flatware, I demurred.
And things were going fine.
Until the busboys started setting up a monster table of 20 right beside us. When they finished, there was less that 6 inches of space between our table and head of the monster table. And when the party arrived, they brought a new baby in a car seat that they nestled right beside my friend on the banquette, creating a scene in which all 19 guests came over to coo at the new baby with their derrieres directly in my friend’s entree.
No manager came by to ask if we would like to be moved, there was no apology from the hostess, so my friend and I literally picked up our table and moved it down about 8 inches.
The food had been good. The drinks spectacular. But that incident kept us from staying for dessert, and I have not returned to the place since.
Any number of variables could have impacted our experience that night, (the party could have grown at the last minute, the hostess might have been new), but the real issue for us was the lack of acknowledgment.
Though it pains me to say it, the restaurant is stuck with the bill on this one. There is nothing we could have done as guests to have avoided the situation, and the manager should have dropped by the table to check on us after it was apparent the section was…. squished.
Which brings me to the new segment– “Who’s Picking Up the Bill?”
If you’ve had a weird experience while dining out, I’d love to hear about it. Just click on the link to the right, and submit your story. Then look out for the ruling on Where the Sidework Ends.
Thanks for reading!