A reader writes: "I had an unpleasant experience at ______ recently when the waiter cleared the dishes in front of my two dining guests who had finished their meal before my wife and I had."
His letter continues:
"While we continued to eat our entrees, the waiter brought out desserts to our guests.
When I questioned him on the propriety of doing this, he gave us a lame excuse. About 5 minutes later, he cleared my dishes and proceeded to bring my dessert before my wife had completed her meal. I made him take it back until my wife was finished her meal. I have been to many restaurants in my life and this whole episode was definitely bizarre--especially for a restaurant known for fine dining."
So, this complaint is only partly about the practice of clearing away the plates of some diners before everyone is finished. I hate it myself, but I've been told by restaurant workers that some customers freak out when their plates aren't cleared away immediately.
Bottom line: A fine-dining establishment should take its cues from the diners -- if a diner starts stacking up his plates, it means he wants them out of there.
But this episode, as the reader says, is truly bizarre. It's a whole new category of bad restaurnat behavior -- I don't think I've seen a stunt like this pulled in a greasy spoon, let alone a restaurant that prides itself on good service.
I'm giving the reader a chance to hear back from the restaurant -- that's why he wrote me, to get a contact name. If he's satisfied with the response, I'll keep the restaurant's identity a secret. But if not, I'll happily reveal it. The thing is, some of had just been talking about this place.