Dining at Malaise

How restaurants repel customers

Welcome to Malaise. Tonight, prepare yourself to be annoyed by many of the things that annoy diners nowadays. It starts with the recherché name of the restaurant: a state of being, rather than someone’s name. Why can’t restaurants have names like “Antoine’s” or “Galatoire’s” or “Bud’s” anymore? Oh well.
As you take your seat, you’ll notice that the table is too small. So, for the entire meal, be careful not to knock over your drinks as more and more plates fill the inadequate space provided.

Yeah, you’re right. It is dark in here. You’ll barely be able to see your food. We have another dining room, called the “Fluorescent Room,” if you’d prefer to sit there.

What’s that? Oh, you can barely hear me? Yes, that’s because the music is way too loud and that thumping beat is inappropriate for proper conversation or digestion. Also, we don’t use tablecloths, curtains or carpets, so it’s an echo chamber in here. But it’s better to look good than to feel good, darling.
Speaking of which, how did this blood and gravy get all over my apron?

Now I’m going to disappear for an extraordinarily long time. Look over your menus and wine list, but don’t bother asking me for advice. I don’t know what I’m talking about.

I’ll be back in half an hour with your water. Flat or still?

Ta– … tap water?
Surely, you jest.
(Later …)

Here’s your water. Note that I’ve held the glass from the top, right where your mouth goes. That way, you can ingest the germs from every plate I’ve cleared tonight.

Hey, look over at the next table. That lady is actually a wealthy executive who has taken her assistant out to dinner for his birthday. Get a load of her reaction as the waitress looks deep into the man’s eyes and, thanking him and him alone, hands him the check. Yikes.

Let’s take your order now. No, I’m not going to write it down. And yes, I am going to forget something.

Oh, the restroom? Follow the dirty mop-water smell down the hall to the left. You’ll notice that it’s about as clean as the Superdome men’s room at halftime. No doubt that will lead you to wonder about our kitchen as you enjoy your entrée – which will arrive 60 seconds after your appetizer.
(Time passes …)

How are you enjoying everything? Just thought I’d check on you for the seventh time in the past 10 minutes, right when you put a bite of food in your mouth.
So, you’re ready for the check? OK, I’ll be back in a half an hour. I have a bunch of other stuff I’d rather do first. Like, first I’m gonna shoot Windex wildly at this table right next to you, so you can breathe in some of the chemical mist as you finish your microwaved — I mean, fresh – coffee. Then I’m going to give those other customers over there preferential treatment, OK? See ya.

NOTE: This miserable dinner is a composite of many gripes collected from friends, family, bons vivants and personal experience.

Categories: The Magazine