Monday, February 14, 2011

"Spa-TAHN" and other jazz.

I went with a dear work pal out tonight for dinner in the 'hood. Having an abundance of food choices around the UWS, we weren't quite sure where to go. After a few rounds of emails, we decided on a place that was in the vicinity and boasted a nice-looking website.

Snotty, balding, concierge-like, older host and his younger, thin chiquita-minion who could have really benefited from a breath mint (not eating all day just gives you shit breath and a crap complexion, sister) were not the least of the restaurant's shortcomings.


Our well-meaning yet clueless waiter named, um, "Sirilliam" told me when I asked after their tap beer selection of a great new German beer they had called, "Spa-TAHN" (apparently it rhymes with 'baton'). Excuse me? "Spa-TAHN"? I asked if this exotic beer were spelled, "S-P-A-T-E-N." He nodded. Then I asked if I could correct him on the pronunciation. It's "SPAH-ten" I said. (I could have gone further to include the actual German way of saying any word beginning with an "sp" is "schp," but I didn't want the dude's head to explode.) I then asked him what kind of Spaten--lighter or darker. "Oh, no. We don't have any light beers. It's a darker beer." Having already lost trust in his ability to know beer in the slightest, I decided to give up on ordering anything dark/light/foreign/domestic at all.

Our food came in good time. I ate with gusto my beet salad and sucked down tasty yet small mussels. My pal didn't really like her "Aged" burger, and, at 18 bucks a pop, she really should have. Boo on you, Aged. The service, slow but well-meaning, could have used a shot in the arm. And, as you'll read, better training not only in how to pronounce product names, but also how to open said product!

The real fun came during the end of our stay when the table next to us ordered a bottle of red wine. I happened to look their way as our waiter extraordinaire was managing to strangle the bottle open with a choke hold that would have killed a cat in mere minutes. The bottle's label was facing away from the customers as old what's-his-name was jerking the wine key back and forth as a way of forcing the cork out. Never mind that he actually had a two-hinged wine key that, had he known how to use properly, would have done most of the "heavy lifting" for him. Not wanting to prolong the agony, I looked away before he'd finished extracting the cork, only to hear my seat-mate say, "Oooh, he's spilled wine on the customer!"

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