Friday, August 08, 2003

I finally got around to watching the first couple episodes of The Restaurant, which I've been taping. Pretty good show, although it would be nice if they'd show some of the good stuff that's certainly going on at the same time as all the bad crap that they keep showing -- stuff like fires in the kitchen, a server accepting a customer's credit card with the order to go across the street and buy some red wine and actually doing it, et cetera. Random thoughts, just in case anybody's watching the show:

:: Unless I missed it, the New York City Health Department is never mentioned in the first few episodes. Wouldn't they be a slight bit concerned about a restaurant that's actually still a construction site on the day it begins serving food to people?

:: When the fire erupted in the kitchen, I was dying to see the place's "Ansel" system get set off. This is a fire-retarding device that spews out a gargantuan amount of powdery white crap, pretty much everywhere all over the kitchen. I thankfully never had to see our system triggered in the restaurants where I worked, because when the thing discharges, the mess is such that (a) you have to shut down the restaurant immediately and (b) cleanup takes more than a day.

:: This restaurant seems to be striving for a classy Italian look, and yet serves appetizers in those red-and-white paper baskets that you get French fries in at theme parks. Weird. (This may have been because they ran out of normal servingware, or some other explanation that I missed.)

:: Servers standing around after the shift which was apparently many hours long, comparing their tips, and no one seems to have made more than $70. Ouch. In the small-town family restaurant where I once worked, on a bad day my best server would take home more than $100 in tips. For a server to do worse than that, in an expensive, fine-dining restaurant that serves alcohol, in New York City no less, is disastrous. The show implies that table-turns were nonexistent on the night in question, which definitely explains it.

:: I was hoping they'd show more of the kitchen stuff and the inevitable tension between cooks and servers.

:: I know space is at a premium in NYC buildings, but putting the kitchen downstairs so food has to be carried up and down what looks like a fairly narrow flight of stairs? Lordy!

:: I'm sure it's an amazing coincidence that the restaurant manager that everyone hates is a Frenchman.

:: It wasn't mentioned, but I'm sure that the kid who got demoted from server to food runner, and then broke his arm in a fall, was treated at the hospital under workman's comp. The show didn't mention this, probably to heighten the "poor restaurant schlub with no insurance" angle (although I haven't watched the episode after that one yet, so I may be wrong entirely).

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