A tale of two restaurants

Monday, August 9, 2010 Leave a Comment

Two dramatically different dining experiences on Friday night:

Scene One, cozy Park Hill restaurant Tables

Me: I'm allergic to gluten and dairy. What do you recommend?

Waitress: You've come to the right place! You could really order almost anything and the chef can accommodate you, since each plate is made to order. But I recommend the halibut. It's amazing and no dairy or wheat. I'll make sure to tell the chef so nothing gets cross-contaminated.

Scene Two, fancy 17th Avenue dessert restaurant

Me, after the 3 others in my party have ordered: I'm allergic to gluten and dairy. What do you recommend?

Waitress: [Blank stare] Um, we serve desserts. They all have dairy.

Me: Hm. What about the sorbet?

Waitress: Maybe the souffle. Oh, wait, that has eggs.

Me: Eggs are OK. Isn't sorbet dairy free?

Waitress: But the beignets aren't. Sorry, I just don't think there's anything.

Me: Could I just get a scoop of sorbet?

Waitress: I guess so, but you won't be able to choose the flavor.

Me: That's OK, I'll just take whatever you've got.

To be fair, it was an extremely busy Friday night, and I've only had great experiences here before. During pregnancy, before I knew about the allergies, my husband and I used to go in after doctor's appointments for the chocolate cake & shake. The one that was on the cover of 5280. Yum. And yes, I know it's a dessert place and dessert is all about cream and milk and pastries and flour.

Believe me, I hate being the special-diet girl. But when my servers get exasperated with me, well, it ends up making me feel like I should just shut up and starve.

I guess it's also the difference between a server, who is simply taking my order and serving my food, and a customer-server, who wants to make sure my experience is great, no matter what my needs are. Tables, thanks for the great service.

And dessert place, everyone in my party enjoyed your delicious desserts and we want to come again. And the mango sorbet was delicious.


  • John Keene said:  

    Tables is the best when it comes to service. We were going to a pot-luck last year and I totally botched what I was making.

    I called Tables, on a Saturday night, and they put together a casserole for me in about 45 minutes. My wife and I just hung at the bar with a glass of wine until it was ready.

    The chef simply asked that I bring the dish back in a few days.

    Where else would something like that happen?