The Elements of Fine Service in Fine Dining
In a restaurant truly worthy of “fine dining,” the service ought to match the cuisine, and both ought to defy your command of superlative adjectives. “Exquisite,” “perfect,” and “awesome” ought to seem slightly inadequate to the demands of describing both the salacious melange of flavours in each dish and the courtesy and precision with which each dish arrives at your table.
In everyday fine dining experience, good food often compensates for mediocre service, and guaranteed 15% gratuity often drains the motivation out of an otherwise well-trained server. Willing to settle for a little friendliness and some common courtesy, everyday fine diners often do not know the finer points of good service.
You are properly seated at a comfortable table-The hostess or Maitre D’ warmly greets you, inquires to the number in your party, and then inquires about your seating preference. When you arrive at your table, your guide ought to ask you, once again, whether or not you feel satisfied with your seating. If you are right next to the kitchen or the bathrooms, you have every right to request a better spot.
The hostess or Maitre D’ should hold the chairs for the ladies, starting with the oldest.
The table itself should be set with a linen table cloth and proper silver, including salad a dessert forks arranged properly. A skilled hostess or Maitre D’ may expertly place your napkin across your lap. Certainly, he or she will encourage you, “Please, enjoy your meal,”
Your server greets you, suggests a lovely beverage, and offers assistance with your choices -Your server promptly greets you, introducing himself or herself. A good guest, you will remember your server’s name. Your server welcomes you warmly and suggests the bartender’s best mix or a beverage that suits the weather. As you order cocktails, the busboys fill your water glasses, bring iced butter and a butter knife, and your bread. Your server will tell you about the daily specials or the restaurant’s best dishes. Do not ask the server’s preferences, but feel free to inquire about the most popular menu items.
The meal proceeds with respect for proper timing
Your server delivers your food from the left and removes used plates from the right, taking away excess silver and glassware as you progress from course to course. Unless you have not finished your drink, your cocktail glass should be gone before the wine service begins.
Just as you finish one course, the next course arrives. In the brief interval between courses, the busboy clears your table and uses a fine sterling scraper to remove crumbs from your table cloth. In the best establishments, the servers may change tablecloths between courses.
As soon as you have taken two bites of each food item, your server ought to inquire whether it is prepared to your taste. If the dish is not satisfactory, politely return it to the kitchen. If you simply do not like it, take a few more bites and set it aside. As you continue with your meal, your server or busboy will monitor your table’s condition, removing plates and silverware with which you have finished. Proper service demands that the staff must not stack the plates, but thoughtful guests may stack plates to make the staff’s job easier. Always place your used plates to your right, helping the staff do the job correctly.
Your server should be wise and skilled enough to suggest a dessert that actually complements your meal. Remember that sherry and aperitifs count as dessert; wait for your server to suggest dessert beverages, too.
The server discretely presents the check-Unless you have given other instructions, the server will present the check to the oldest male at the table. Patriarchy still rules. The server ought to deliver the check silently, unobtrusively, thanking the person to whom he presents the check with a nod or a gesture.