By: Dan Gentile
Credit: Shuttershock (edit)
The customer isn't always right, but since it's terribly awkward to tell them they're wrong, restaurant servers don't always say what they mean. To decipher the linguistic gymnastics behind the customer/server relationship, we talked to a group of industry veterans about the conversational cues they use to convey inconvenient truths without sounding as unpleasant as Al Gore in November of 2001. Read on and you'll know what a server really means when he's asking if you'd like any more water.
"Some of those dishes you ordered aren't small plates."
Translation: You just ordered enough food to last through the winter.
"That's a very heavy dish."
Translation: This is not the entree you're looking for.
"I'd recommend the roasted goat special."
Translation: The kitchen currently has more goat than an Adam Sandler CD and it's going to spoil if I don't push it on every single customer. Also, I work at a terrible restaurant, because reputable chefs don't use specials this way.
"This is going to be your last round."
Translation: You look like you've been possessed by 1980s Mickey Rourke, and I won't be bringing you another drink.
"Try the malbec."
Translation: There's no such thing as a light, full-bodied, fruity, and dry wine. You have no idea what you want, but this will do just fine.
"It's a very floral wine."
Translation: It tastes like laundry detergent.
"Is this wine to your liking?"
Translation: Unless it tastes like the bottom of a well, this is the wine you'll be drinking tonight.
"Sure, I can change the thermostat."
Translation: I will not be touching the thermostat.
"This is best enjoyed while it's still warm."
Translation: Don't spend five minutes debating Instagram filters.
"Our bluefin tuna is sustainable."
Translation: Our bluefin tuna is even more expensive than usual and the species will still be extinct in 10 years.
(From a different server, runner, or host): "I'll let your server know about your drink order."
Translation: This is not my job and you will never receive this cocktail.
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