Tuesday, January 06, 2009

S&M Dining in Seattle

This article in Seattle's The Stranger newspaper caused a flurry of mail on the food & wine mailing list at work. While many people tool exception to the overall negative tone of the article and got very defensive in response, I tend to agree with a lot of what is said and didn't think the author was being unreasonably cranky.

I've not yet been to any of the restaurants mentioned, although Poppy is high on my list of places to try in the first few months of this year. I wonder if the communal dining thing is a fad, or whether the hard economic times will force restaurants to be more accomodating and offer a la carte menus with cheaper options? Time will tell...

Have any of you been to communal, fixed menu restaurants? What's your take on them?


:: Wendy :: said...

Communal eating? I can think of 3 types of occassion where I've experienced this
1) in UK works canteens where the tables are layed like formica versions of hogwarts dining tables.
2) in UK 'bead and breakfast' establishments where the breakfast is served at a single large kitchen table and all guests sit together. This is extremely pleasant, meeting the other guests. The fayre for English breakfast is fairly standard so there are no complaints about the set menu.
3) at weddings, where the seating plan has placed me at a table where I don't know the other people. This is oftwn the case because I'm such an unsociable bint. At one wedding I was seated at the table of 'ex-girlfriends', as the first ex-girlfriend the others had all heard of me and I knew nothing of them. Most disconcerting.

Mark said...

Yeah, the situations you describe are common here too.

The work cafes sometimes require you to share a large table with other people, but I don't remember every chatting to them - people are too shy?

We've stayed at B&B's in a few places in the US where breakfast is a communal affair (and usually quite pleasant if you are up to making small-talk first thing in the morning)

It sounds like the commmunal dining restaurant craze has not really taken off in the UK? (And to be fair, it's only a few places in Seattle that are doing this - the more trendy ones).