How To Eat at New York Restaurants

Arriving in NY from Europe, and especially from Mediterranean countries, you have to prepare yourselves for different service at restaurants. I have said many times this city is rushing, and everyone who lives here rushes with it. New Yorkers love to come to restaurants, but they do it so often and it’s such a part of their lives, that they do not add special meaning to it, or think that it’s something particularly worth celebrating. Recently I came in contact with a man from Europe, who complained that as soon as he was done with his appetizer, the entrée has arrived. According to him, it happened much too fast. And according to a typical New Yorker – it happened exactly as it should have. Believe me: New Yorkers hate waiting. They are accustomed to the standard of quick service at restaurants; the New York standard is different from any other city in this country.

Here’s the whole process, step by step:

1. You go in and wait for the hostess to point you to your table (don’t just run to the table, wait patiently to see if there’s seat for you) and give you your menu

2. As soon as you sit, the busser will clean your table and bring you water (tap water with ice is usually served right away)

3. As you peruse the menu, the waiter approaches you, introducing him- or herself and asking what you would like to drink

4. The waiter brings you drinks, but your main courses will be most likely brought by the runner, not by the waiter

5. After you’re done eating, the waiter immediately appears and asks if you’d like a dessert. If you don’t, the waiter gives you the bill (usually it appears as quickly as lighting)

That was precisely what I was initially irritated by when going to restaurants here was concerned. The second you say you’re done, you get the check (I already mentioned it in my post on brunch). Immediately you feel obliged to pay and leave. I assure that you will find it very irritating at first, too. 

And yet this is precisely what a New Yorker expects. He expects that all the aforementioned steps will proceed swiftly and the waiter will make sure that everything was perfect. If one step will be missing, a New Yorker will immediately call the manager to express his or her negative opinion – or won’t be coming back to the place. If you don’t like it, I recommend you choose a place in Brooklyn, not in Manhattan. Time flows more slowly in Brooklyn. Maybe that’s why Manhattanites don’t like going to Brooklyn that much.