7. September 2012 18:13
In the interest of time savings, I have started taking an instant dislike to certain types of people. Type-As wielding domination even though I’m neither buying nor competing. HR students who still think that using my first name 8 times in every sentence sounds friendly, not creepy. And finally the too-cool-to-be-there butterflies who wear the perma-mask of disappointment and oblige others to entertain them. At Ada Street, they seem to hire all three.
We arrived 15 minutes early for our 8:30 reservation. In the game of disrespect, we never want to be the ones to unsheathe first. Especially with restaurants. I don’t know exactly when the lateness became fashionable. To me, it has always been a stark abomination in the conduct of the affairs of men. I used to blame the ease of mobile-calling with the attitude of: “it’s OK, I’m running late” except, no one even bothers calling. So in my very scientific sample-size, I note that there remain two types of tardy: passive-aggressive and clueless-idiot. Exhibit A: I will make you wait because I think I can and Exhibit B: My parents were divorced and were always skiing up in Aspen so they never taught me manners and I never really had a real job so it’s ok, forgive me for being scatter-brained. Sorry: NO. The world has, long ago, stopped cashing checks for those who just show up. And if one shows up late, one may never (should never) get the cash at all. Or the reservation. Indeed, restaurants have tried to flip the table on the grotesque rudeness of their diners and I and my punctual fellows are collateral damage. Something which Next, and Alinea by proxy have been trying to combat with the pre-paid ticket sale system. It works when demand so greatly exceeds supply. A phone call costs nothing. A ticket costs real money. But not every restaurant warrants a pre-payment. In fact, few do and none of this would be an issue if people just showed up on time and cancelled when they knew they couldn’t.
Anyway, we arrived early. As is the custom at Ada Street, greeting us was a 30 minute wait AND – a glass of whatever they were pouring – that night: sangria. Nice touch. Apology accepted. But at my age and lack of patience, I’d rather pay for what I drink while seated at my table. And despite my having asked 2 hostesses about any possible prognosis, none who ever walked down the lengthy hallway to the dining area was seen again. There must have been a revolving door of them somewhere in the restaurant.
After we were seated and served the drinks we actually wanted things started looking up. In terms of service. The waitress was a refreshing departure from the butterflies about the host stand. I can’t help but think that she was also a departure from the median at Ada Street. The food? Eh. Everything – and I mean everything – was safely mediocre. And we do have a reasonable sample on which to base this conclusion. Green tomatoes, kale, polenta fries (2), squid, octopus, scallops, crispy potatoes, salmon tartare, donuts and many, many drinks. To their credit, things were priced at a mediocre level too. In all, we were safely underwhelmed. I would rather pay a premium to be overwhelmed. It’s why we go out to eat.