Monday, October 22, 2007

On The Reservation

#310 On The Reservation

The Texas style steak house don’t take reservations. But you can get on the “call ahead” list. Except not if you call too early.

If you want dinner at, say, 6:30 PM, they won’t take your call until five. And before you learn that you have to listen to a lot of “howdy pardner” kind of gibberish, delivered in a distinctly southwest Brooklyn regionalism.

Eventually a chirpy, presumably live body answers and gives you the bad news.

So let’s see what happens at 5PM:

“Well, Howdy, you’ve reached da Tessas Style Steak house. If youse is familiar wid’ the call ahead system heah, jes press wun. If not, hole on an we’s give you all thanstrukshuns.”

The live body answers.

“What time did you want to come in?”

“If I say 6:30, how long will I have to wait?”

“Oh, 30 to 40 minutes.”

“Do I have to show up and wait there for 40 minutes or can I just come in at 7:10 or so for my 6:30?”

“Yes, you can do that. Come in at 7:10.”

”What happens if I want a 5:30?”

”Wait’ll be about an hour.”

“Okay, so put me down for 5:30 and we’ll come in at 6:30.”

At 6:30 we walked through the door with our secret Texas-style code number, issued by the phone person and were seated immediately, while dozens of people waited on line.

Sometimes, things work out. Of course this cut the bill down by ten, maybe 15 maybe 20 bucks.

No, there were no discounts. But when you have to hang out waiting for a table, where do you wait?

The bar, of course.

And what do you do at the bar?

You drink, of course.

And that adds a bunch of money to your bill. Plus you have to tip the bartender separately.

Plus they’re fast.

Or at least the start out that way.

“You wanna pick out your own steak, sir?”

“How will I know when you cook it that it’s the same steak?”

“…um…. Well, we cook the one you pick.”

“So I have to take your word for it?”

“Well, yes, you do. But our word’s good. A cowboy’s word is his bond.”

“But you’re not a cowboy. In fact, if appearance is any indication, you’re not any kind of a boy.”

“I promise you, sir, you’ll get the steak you choose.”

“You work in a steak house. I don’t. You deal with steaks every day. I don’t. You know what a good steak is before it’s cooked., I don’t. Why don’t you pick.”

“Yeah, okay.”

Then you go through the adjective lesion, a careful explanation of what the terms “rare,” “Medium rare,” “medium,” “medium well” and “well done” mean in this particular place.

“How accurate are your cooking thermometers?”

“Okay, I guess.”

Annie Oakley takes the rest of the orders and wanders off toward what we expect must be the kitchen.

They don’t hustle us out, afterward. But they don’t encourage us to stay, either.”

Stayers also do that bar thing.

So these guys aren’t too smart.

But then, what do you expect from a Brooklyn cowboy?

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2007 WJR

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