Ordering vegan

The other night I was scheduled to meet a friend at this darling uptown bistro. I arrived early. The cafe was small and spare, minimally adorned; the kind of place where the food speaks for itself. The waitress explained that the chef changes the menu nightly. I noticed that while there were vegetarian options on offer, none were vegan. So working up a vegan head of steam, I asked whether the chef could adapt one of the entrees. The waitress was more than accommodating. After a consult with the chef, she mentioned that the gnocchi was out (made with eggs), but that he could make me a nice risotto. Perfect! When my friend arrived (she's picky but polite), we put the poor waitress through similar paces, using as much humor and good grace as we could muster. We even asked if she had ever seen the diner segment from Five Easy Pieces. She hadn't. She would have found us much more amusing if she had. It was clear by the end of our time together that our waitperson had had enough of us and our queries; not to blame her, she had a long night ahead. But I did feel guilty, as if we had behaved like Jack Nicholson in the above scene. In theory I think it's fine to make polite requests in restaurants. In spite of my last name, which makes it appear like I grew up on a windy steppe eating beets and wearing folkloric blouses, I was raised in a WASPy household, where waves don't get made. To ask for something off menu or (heaven forbid) send it back, is anathema. So to cop vegan attitude, well, it's just not the Nake-id way. Still, the more people who do ask, the more restaurants will add interesting vegan options to their menus. Maybe I should grow sideburns?

Comments (1) -

October 28. 2011 14:08


That scene should be required viewing for all waitstaff. And, also, all people who eat in restaurants. It's a classic. Just like Jack.

Nadine |

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