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Damrosch doesn’t have the necessary skills—-the writing chops, yes, but apparently not the discomforting honesty nor the ability to think beyond pithy anecdotes—-to make me care about her personal relationships the way Reichl did in her memoirs. Besides, she no doubt got the book deal to dish dirt on Per Se, its famous chef, and its even more famous clientele. C’mon, Damrosch: more dishing, less romancing.
With that said, Damrosch does offer up a “diner’s bill of rights” that strikes me as far more reasonable than the one that the Los Angeles Times recently coughed up like a half-digested corn dog. Besides, as a waiter at one of the best restaurants in the country, Damrosch has a far better idea of what are really “rights” and what are just prissy little desires from overly pampered diners who want to create a caste system in every high-end dining room.
Below is Damrosch’s “diner’s bill of rights.” (Incidentally, her list reads much more like a bill of rights than the Times‘ meandering, repetitive, sometimes even ungrammatical list. I mean, a “right” to “Eating with the rest of your party”?)
1. The right to have your reservation honored
2. The right to water
3. The right to the food you ordered at the temperature the chef intended
4. The right to a clean, working bathroom
5. The right to clean flatware, glassware, china, linen, tables, and napkins
6. The right to enough light to read your menu
7. The right to hear your dining companions when they speak
8. The right to be served until the restaurant’s advertised closing time
9. The right to stay at your table as long as you like
10. The right to salt and pepper