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David Knows What’s Up: Secret Tricks of New York City Restaurants

May 10, 2010

David Knows What’s Up: Secret Tricks of New York City Restaurants

By David Marchese

You really gotta be careful with normal or fancy New York City restaurants. The other day I was at a chain that I won’t name (let’s just say they’re known for their large portions) and the waiter immediately brings my party (and it WAS a party) a pitcher of water. Did we ask for it? No. Was there any food on the table for us to eat while we drank? DOUBLE no. Listen Mr. Waiter man, I may have smooth porcelain skin and sleep in one-piece jammies, but that doesn’t mean I born yesterday. Don’t bring me water just so I’ll drink it and then have to order more drinks to drink when the food actually comes — drinks that I’ll have to pay for.

Don’t worry, I sent the waters back and told the waiter not to bring us any more unless it came with a side order of food. It’s like he was trying to pull a reverse Robin Hood or something.

But get this: Ripping you off is also on waiters’ minds when they refill your glass of diet soda. They want you to fill your belly with cheap diet soda so you don’t get your money’s worth of the bottomless pasta bowls and all-you-can-eat shrimp feasts. If you’re reading this, I probably just saved you fourteen bucks. Call me the Sherriff of Nottingham.

Fancy restaurants have their own bag of tricks too. When I’m not getting my Joe Schmo on, I go to hip places that don’t laminate their menus. But it’s become a New York City thing for hip places to not take reservations. I eat dinner at like 4:30 (so I can get my money’s worth out of the bottle service booze I’m gonna drink later), so getting a table isn’t normally a problem. Sometimes though, usually cuz my fine date has a job or thinks eating early is for oldies, I go for dinner at like 6:45 or 7:15 and have to wait forever for a table because the place doesn’t take rezzies.

Wanna know why they don’t? Because they want you to stand around like a cow and order drinks from the bar and then get slowly drunk as you watch all the people around you ordering delicious-looking food while you get hungrier and hungrier until you want to eat so bad that you can barely keep your farts in. Then when you finally get a table you’re starving and order too much expensive food. It’s simple supply and demand. That’s why I bring a flask and sesame snaps with me everywhere I go.

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