Fine Dining Etiquette....Oh My!!!

Mikey(SoCal-Z10-22/23)November 28, 2005

I typically manage to prove to be an embarrassing boob to the fetching Mrs. Mikey when dining at a five star restaurant. The table settings have way too many cutlery and plate accoutrements from which to choose. Dining should be a pleasant experience; however, Im unduly stressed when my plate is completely surrounded by gleaming cutlery of varying sizes and shapes. Which do I use first and for what? And whatÂs with that skinny little table cloth running down the middle of the table? I do know a few things such as IÂm supposed to wait for the host to dig in before I dig in and I know that the BIG spoon is for soup. At least I get that rightÂ

Relative to cutlery, do I start nearest the plate and work my way outward or is it the other way aroundÂ.IÂm so confused. And whatÂs that mysterious munchkin size cutlery above my dinner plate? Do I have to replace the cutlery in the same location once itÂs been used? I guess I could simply watch someone else to determine what tools are used when and for what. But what if the person I choose to mimic is a buffoon like meÂ.. Oh my head is starting to hurtÂ.

How can I possibly enjoy my fillet when IÂm concerned about how to position my fork? This part I get. I hold the meat down with the fork in my left hand and cut with the knife in my right hand. Now for the hard part. Do I lay the knife on the top or the side of my plate and which way does the sharp side of the blade face? Now for the real confusing part. Do I transfer the fork with the meat from my left hand to my right hand or leave it in my left hand? And once I do get ready to shovel that juicy piece of fillet into my mouth, do I do so with the tines (bettcha didnÂt know I knew what tines were did you?) facing upward or downward? The Brits seem to do it with fork in their left hand and with the tines facing downward as does the fetching Mrs. Mikey but most others I see do it with tines facing upward and the fork in their right hand. Of course the parents of the fetching Mrs. Mikey were Canadian so perhaps thatÂs why she does it weirdÂ..

Then thereÂs the platingÂ.oh my Three plates all stacked on top with each one slightly smaller than the previous. I really like that bottom plate thoughÂ.itÂs HUGEÂ. a manÂs plate! [i]"ItÂs what honey? A charger? No honey, a Charger is what they drove on Dukes of HazzardÂÂ.you know, the General Lee was a Dodge Charger. ItÂs only for show? You mean I donÂt eat off of it?"[/i] Oh my head achesÂ.. Such a waste of a huge plate Water glass, wine glass, dessert wine glass help! ItÂs all so confusing. A tea bag rest, a knife rest oh please, give it a rest!

Since I never know from which side the waiter is approaching I donÂt know if I should lean left or lean right. Let me see, hmmm; soiled plates are removed from the left and clean plating is removed from the right. Is that something like righty-tighty, lefty-loosy?

Okay, now that IÂve finished eating. Do I lay the cutlery on the plate in any particular order? Tines up or down? Oh my headÂ.. Do I put my napkin on the table or on my plate and if I put it on the table, do I put it left or right of my plate? Do I stick it back through the napkin ring holder? This is tough stuff to learnÂ.

I just hate it when after the meal has been eaten and I still have a bunch of unused cutlery lying aroundÂ.. IÂm such a boobÂ.. Oh, my head hurts! - Mike

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LOL!!!! You just made my day Mike!!!! :)

    Bookmark   November 28, 2005 at 3:18PM
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LOL, this is hilarious! My son and his young wife went into a 5 star one evening at an off time and they were the only ones there. Of course they had all the silver, glasses, etc. and neither of them knew what to do with them. All they knew is that there was a salad fork and a dinner fork. Now my son is actually my DH's son and he raised him so that accounts for him not knowing. (don't blame me, LOL) Anyway, they said they felt like they were in a fish bowl because the waiter was watching them so he'd know if they needed anything.

Thanksgiving day at dinner Jacey was setting the table and she asked me which sides the silver went on. I was telling her and she got bored very quickly since she's no quite 12 yet. She finally said, "Granny, I haven't had "Home Ex" yet! Of course, I didn't correct her by saying it isn't "EX".

Thank you Mikey for the delightful bit of fun we all need.


    Bookmark   November 28, 2005 at 5:55PM
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I was a waiter for a couple of years and, believe me, as long as you don't make a huge mess and leave at least a 15% tip, your waiter couldn't care less about your 5 or -1 star manners! Next time, just ignore the rest of the world and enjoy your company and meal!


    Bookmark   November 28, 2005 at 9:28PM
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"Home Ex"... LOL, love it.

Omar: I always leave a 20% tip on the total amount, including tax. I'm not smart enough to figure out a 15% tip..... I've noticed that I consistently tip more than does the fetching Mrs. Mikey. And NO, it's not because the waitresses are cute or have lots of cleavage..... I tip the guys @ 20% as well. Have you ever noticed a difference in tipping between men and women?

    Bookmark   November 28, 2005 at 11:32PM
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Are you trying to tell me DRIVE THROUGH at MCcdonalds is not 5 star, Oh have I been wasting my life, LOL, I would not even have a clue what to do with all the crap they give you at a 5 star, give me a plate & a fork & I will show you what to do with it all.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2005 at 11:45PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

Mikey...Good one!

I agree with OCGF, just don't make or leave a big mess, and 'no one' will really care or think a thing. I do believe you are to fold the linen napkin (seems silly to me) and place it on the table (not sure which side though).

DBF just guesstimates a tip...sometimes hitting 15 or a bit over and sometimes being quite a bit under. When that happens I just discreetly make up the difference, and if he has ever seen me, he has never mentioned it.

We also take turns buying and tipping. It meakes him feel 'special' when I 'treat' him.


    Bookmark   November 28, 2005 at 11:48PM
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Quote: "We also take turns buying and tipping. It meakes him feel 'special' when I 'treat' him."

When I do that she calls me a "cheap date."

    Bookmark   November 29, 2005 at 1:13AM
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Mickey, I haven't noticed a difference in tipping between men and women ;o). Tips were the really salary for me (basic wage was pitiful), so I tried my best to pamper my customers without brown noseing them. It worked most of times. As a customer, good service is what I reward. If there is a nice "view" on top of that, then an extra 5% is discretely added ;o).


    Bookmark   November 29, 2005 at 9:09AM
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hibrick(Z8 HoustonTX)

Start outside & work in. Don't point sharp objects or blades at other people, so turn the blade in. Use the forks in order, and note that they are usually appropriate for the size of the food they go with: small for salad, big for steak, tiny for little shrimp. That bowl full of really thin broth is actually water, so don't drink it.. wash your pinkies in it. That thing that looks like a torture device is for cracking lobster claws.

(If in doubt, accidently drop the troublesome utensil on the floor, then you can legitimately use another one that you understand!)

You are not alone. At a really, really good restaurant, the staff should be attentive and drop little hints when they notice someone in distress. Or just coach you, if you ask. If they don't watch their customers, they should not be working in a 5-star restaurant!

I haven't seen a really complete table setting in many years, since a memorable 10 course meal in Hawaii. However, when growing up, our Mom sure made certain that we knew how to properly set the table for formal holiday dinners.

And.. perhaps teaching us kids about "restaurant manners" was also her not-so-subtle hint to Dad that she was past due for a drive into the city and a dress-up night-out at the Court of Two Sisters, or Pat O'Briens, in the French Quarter!


    Bookmark   January 13, 2006 at 1:41AM
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Don't worry about the napkin.
Just don't use it to blow your nose.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2006 at 10:37AM
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Should I continue to use my sleeves? ;)

    Bookmark   January 15, 2006 at 12:39AM
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I found this topic very amusing. Here is a link that will give you the breakdown:

    Bookmark   January 18, 2006 at 4:40PM
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You have not met me yet, but I see you all over GW, You are a true one:)God bless you...:)Anita
P.S Tell Mrs. Mikey I said HI!!!!!!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2006 at 3:14AM
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