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From: [an eater]
Date: Friday, April 17, 2009
To: eater complaints dept.
Subject: Socarrat's Time Limit
As you know, Socarrat has one long communal table. Diners are literally inches from each other. Sitting next to us was a couple who may have been on a first date. They ordered appetizers, a big platter of paella and a bottle of wine. They ate their food, were polite to the staff and halfway through the paella, ordered a second bottle of wine. Everything seemed fine.
Then once the paella was done, they lingered a bit while they sipped their wine and paid the check. My husband and I were there the entire time that couple was enjoying their first date. Seemingly out of no where, the waiter approached the couple and told them that there was a time limit for dining at Soccarat.
The waiter asked the couple to stand up and finish their wine at some stools near the door. Surprisingly, the couple agreed. Soccarat is a very small, extremely narrow restaurant and I could see the two stools near the door. They were literally pushed up against the wall, directly in front of the door. There is no way my husband and I would have agreed to sit there and finish what looked like 1/2 - 3/4 of a bottle of wine. Still the couple agreed and walked up toward the stools.
When they got there, they saw how awkwardly situated the stools were and looked annoyed. They said they were not going to sit there and said goodbye to the staff. A few minutes later an older guy, who looked like he could be the owner, chased the couple out the door. I couldn't hear what he said. But my husband could because he was outside smoking a cigarette. He heard the man say to the owner
...I peeked over at the couple's check and it totaled just under $150. They left a 20% tip. What do you and your readers think about Soccarat's time limit? My husband and I are very curious to know what the restaurant world makes of it.