12/11/2012 05:19:00 PM

Service Week Debate: Are Tableside Presentations Totally Antiquated?

In an era of dining where it seems like everything old is new again - are tableside presentations still cool or totally awkward? Watch two Zagat editors discuss the finer points of the argument below in this Service Week-inspired debate. Let us know where you stand in the comments.

Kelly: So I'm all about entertainment while I'm dining, but aren't tableside presentations getting a little antiquated at this point?

James: I don't think so - I actually had dinner at Eleven Madison Park the other night and was bummed that they weren't carving the duck tableside anymore.

Kelly: It's just slightly awkward. You're sitting there eating and then someone comes over to like "work" next to you for ten minutes. And then do you tip them? It's like umm..

James: Well, they get tipped out of the tip pool. I like a little showmanship - if you are going to a restaurant of that caliber, it's part of the atmosphere.

Kelly: It just feels a bit dated to me, like it should have gone the way of lazy Susans and apps served in martini glasses. Plus, when you're trying to talk about something scandalous, it's like a ten-minute silent hiatus.

James: Ha, well that's true. I think that those trends have passed, but they all add to the "fun quotient." I for one like a lazy Susan at a Chinese restaurant. And the tableside presentations are special - who can argue with the fresh guac at Rosa Mexicano? Or, I LOVE the cocktail cart that they wheel out at the Nomad - the bartender will make your drinks right there.

Kelly: I enjoy those too, but what's next - is someone going to come out and chiffonade my herbs for me? Plus, people are so ADD these days - I'm not sure it's a trend that can be revived to its previous glory.

James: I personally like how restaurants have adapted it. Only a few places are doing old-school stuff like dover sole. Or bananas foster - I think that anything you can do to make the experience more memorable, the better. No one ever sees them start wheeling a cart out and says, "Um, can you please put that away?"

Kelly: Ha. I mean it is a fire hazard. I guess I'm just tired of the "old is new" thing. How about just like "new?" That'd be refreshing.

1 comment :

  1. I teach at a prestigious culinary school and we cannot all come to an agreement on this exact topic.