Coup(e) de Grace

I used to think of myself as easy-going.  No longer.  And it seems that I’ve become particularly difficult when it comes to restaurants.  Oh . . . I’m still pretty easily satisfied when it comes to the food, but everything else has become a gantlet to be navigated.  I’m now consumed with where my table is located, where it faces and how close it is to the kitchen and bathrooms.  The shape and size of my dining chair is starting to matter, as well.  Also, how noisy the place is.  And of course, what kind of glasses the martinis are served in.  If you were to create an algorithm based on my requirements, there would be only six restaurants that would show up in a Google search. Three would be in Manhattan and two would be in Brooklyn.  The sixth is a bistro located in a small town just south of Tangiers in Morocco.

Unfortunately, that number has recently been reduced to five.  Last week, I went to one of the Brooklyn restaurants that had made the grade. But a sequence of events soured my experience; enough so, that I’m not sure I’ll be returning.  My girlfriend, B, and I were seated by the maitre d’ at a table that fulfilled my requirements.  Immediately afterwards, a party of five was led to the table next to us.  We were given our menus which we glanced at and then put down while waiting for our server, Guillermo, to ask for our drink order.  While we were waiting, Guillermo brought cocktails to the table next to us, ignoring us as if he worked for the Post Office.  We finally had to become somewhat aggressive in catching his attention. One of us said, in an annoyed way, that we had been waiting for some while and yet, our neighbors had gotten their drinks right away. His surly response was that we didn’t look like we were ready for our cocktails.  I asked, “Tell me, what exactly would it look like if we were ready for our drinks?”  The truth is, I didn’t say that.  But I find as I’m getting older that I’m getting more and more direct and caring less what people think of me; meaning that in about a year or so, there’s no question I will say that.

What a nice looking family!

What a nice looking family!

In any event, after this little skirmish our drink order was taken and ultimately delivered to our table. Now here’s where things really went off the rails.  As usual, I ordered a martini and was expecting it to come (as it had in the past in this restaurant) in that lovely triangular glass that means so (too) much to me.  But instead, Guillermo showed up with B‘s wine and my drink, which was presented in one of those coupe glasses . . . you know one of those Marie Antoinette tit-shaped glasses!  (You can tell how upset I still am by my less-than-delicate language.)  I motioned at the table next to us where stood three martini glasses –standing as if  they had spotlights on them– and asked why my drink was in an ersatz martini glass and not the real thing.  Guillermo explained that the bar had run out of regular martini glasses.

That was a hard pill to swallow, particularly seeing the object of my desire so close that I could all but touch it. At this point, it became clear to me that this dining experience had crested and that we were in a descent from which there would be no recovery.  Without much joy, B and I  gave our orders to Guillermo after which I did what I do best–I sulked.

At some point, I took a break from my sulking to go to the bathroom. When I returned, B told me that, in my absence, Guillermo had brought our neighbors a second round of drinks–all served in the real deal. Championing my cause, she had gotten hold of Guillermo and questioned him why there seemed to be enough glasses for everyone but me.  His answer was,” Do you think I purposely didn’t use a martini glass when bringing your drink?” It seemed like a tossup as to whether Guillermo disliked his job or us more. Actually, as I think about it, after the lousy tip we left, I’m certain we would be the clear winners.

So for now, it appears that my restaurant alternatives have been even further limited.  But I’m not worried that much.  New places open all the time.  And with the fall in oil prices, how much could a ticket on Moroccan Airlines cost!?

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