When I go out to eat, I hate dawdling service.
I point this fact out after having extraordinarily lax service Monday at a restaurant in Brooklyn. The name of the restaurant is “Aurora,” and its menu featured a chef-styled Italian cuisine. My friend Nick, who lives nearby, picked the place.
Nick and I sat down around 1:55 p.m., which meant we were still in the lunchtime window for service. That’s important, I think, because how many people can take a leisurely lunch on a Monday? Some can, of course; waiters, however, have no idea who that “some” might be.
Our dark-haired waiter, his voice thick with an Italian tenor, asked quickly if we wanted sparkling water or tap.
“Sparkling water,” I told him.
He brought the water and then a basket of Italian bread with a bowl of olive oil. About, oh, five minutes passed, and he returned to take our orders. For lunch, the Aurora offered a fixed-menu option for $24, and the choices on it proved appealing. So Nick and I ordered from the fixed menu.
Right about the time the waiter took our orders, two parties of about six people apiece grabbed seats at two long tables that lined the windows. The parties chatted things up a bit as the waiter proved overly attentive to them.
That didn’t bother me much. It was, again, a day when I had nothing else to do, considering I ain’t working. I used his unhurriedness as a time to catch up with Nick and his acting career.
Nick ordered a pasta dish; I ordered skirt steak, cooked medium well. Off our waiter went. Now, my Apple Watch read 2:10 p.m.; we had been in the restaurant 15 minutes.
Nick and I continued to chat, and as we did, time moved at a carefree pace. Soon, it was 2:30. No big deal still, because, as I said, it’s not as if I had a job to head off to.
But 2:30 turned into 2:35; 2:35 turned into 2:40; 2:40 turned into 2:45; 2:45 turned into 2:50. Meantime, Nick and I heard not a word from the waiter about our orders, yet the two parties that sat near the window were having their meals delivered to their tables.
Around 2:55, the waiter got within earshot of Nick, who asked politely where our meals were. The man said he’d check. I told him not to bother. I had sat in the restaurant for one hour – one hour during lunchtime, mind you. Not a meal in sight.
He insisted he’d go check. I told him I was leaving and would pay for salads and the bottled water. As put on my jacket and headed toward the door, somebody from the kitchen came out with our meals. I was done with Aurora.
The manager tried to appease me; she offered to comp our meals if we stayed. I said no. She then said she’d box the two meals, and Nick and I could take them with us.
I wasn’t interested in anything from the restaurant. She apologized, but what good did her apology do?
I have experienced such service more times than I can count, and I hope one day that restaurants like the Aurora learn blacks, just like whites, spend dollars that are green too.