We were going to go to a nice restaurant. They don’t take reservations, so one of us tried to get there earlier than the others at 7. It was a 2 hour wait. A small restaurant, with only bar seating, vaguely western tapas. We had heard glorious things about the menu.
To be fair, it was 7:30 on a Friday night. Next time I’ll try 5 on a Monday, if I’m up for it, that is.
Much ado was made about their ‘not kicking people out’ policy. We checked someother places that were similar, in the area. No tables at any tapas joint. Two of our party had their hearts set on the beautiful tapas. I was just hungry.
At 5, at the office, I knew I was hungry. I decided not to snack because dinner was going to be huge. I wanted enough room for the expensive, fancy dinner that awaited me.
It was then 8pm and we couldnt find a place to eat. Everywhere was full or raw vegan. We finally went to the restaurant (Le Creperie in Wan Chai) I had suggested when we realized the wait would be 2 + hours. They gave us a table; because they had a reservation for 9, we had it til then. “Our cooks are fast!” they assured us. They were fast, and delicious. We sat, I ordered a crepe (goats cheese and walnut) and cider. We all drank some cider. The others didn’t eat, waiting for our party of four reservation to come through. We left at 8:45, back to the tapas. I was full and happy; they were waiting.
Back to the expensive restaurant, still full of patrons. The hostess confessed and sympathized: a group of people had been there since opening and kept ordering bottles. More bemoaning of the table limit, they really should kick people out after 2 hours. (I myself love a good 3 hour dinner) We looked at the drinks menu: nice sangria–70$ a glass. Two pairs of women sit waiting with drinks outside as well. A woman sitting at the window had a slider in front of her: it was the diameter of a silver dollar, the smallest slider I have ever seen.
At 9:15 it started to rain.
I went home. My friends stayed, maybe getting a table next to (facing) the wall. Possibly spending 500$ a person on their meal starting 9:45. Committed. I hear good things about the food.
I went to sleep at 10. It was a long week.
I love good food, but perhaps my lack of commitment is why I am not a foodie, much less a food writer. I like my unpretentious plastic chairs and fried noodles; I love finding a place with excellent service who try to make you feel special without a reservation; I love places that ignore everyone equally but deliver excellent food.
I went to a dinner at a local seafood restaurant in Jordan Saturday: it was excellent. We had crab that exploded over the table, fried oysters, and I tried abalone for the first time (it’s a bit chewy). I ordered takeaway pizza (with the tapas group) on Sunday, and it was excellent and cheap and crisp. Neither time did we have to wait or feel pressure to like it or feel the need to leave within a certain timeframe.
For the minor increase in popularity and quality of food of a trendy restaurant: sometimes it just isn’t worth the effort.