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FW: something unsettling

From: [an eater]
Date: Friday, May 4, 2007
To: eater complaints dept.
Subject: something unsettling

Dear Eater,

Twice in the last two months something unsettling has happened to me at fairly upscale restaurants, and I'm wondering if it's indicative of some sort of sea change in the NYC hospitality biz. In early March I had a 6:15 reservation at The Kitchen Club in Soho for four. We arrived on time missing one of our guests and indicated that we would go on without her. The maitre d', who was also our waitress (it's a small place), told us twice that she would need the table at 8:45. We were on our way to a black-tie event and dressed accordingly, ordered cocktails, wine, appetizers and entrees. The maitre d' and two other employees, including the owner/chef, continued to remind us about the deadline throughout our meal. It was thoroughly offputting and entirely unnecessary, as we got out of there at 8 even with our fourth arriving late and ordering her meal. The same very unpleasant thing happened at Otto tonight. I was with a party of eleven. We had a reservation, again for 6:15, and were told repeatedly that they needed the table at 8:30 before we were even seated.

If they really need the table, can't they just be stealthily quick with our orders instead of guilting us into speed-eating? The situation at Otto was less egregious than that at the Kitchen Club, but both were out of line. I find this practice extremely gauche and rude. Am I just behind the times?

Your input is appreciated.

Eater Complaints Dept.