The search for the perfect restaurant is not a quest of ours, but dining out for 48 consecutive days and it’s easy to become a bit critical. The lighting is either too bright, or too dark. Ambient music is non-existent, or ear shattering top 40 blasting from a distracting 42inch LCD in the corner. The choice of colours for tablecloths is either pink or yellow. It seems there should be some guidelines for running a successful restaurant.
Of course success is based on sales, or more importantly the bottom line. Replacing warm incandescent lighting with the more expensive, yet efficient, fluorescents does save a few dollars at the end of the year…but cast the room with this ghoulish glow killing any chance at romance. Any lady that has prettied herself up for the evening in less than perfect light conditions may soon find herself in challenging conditions not previously anticipated. Maybe Tripadvisor could add ‘lighting’ to their list of recommended ratings for eating establishments.
Music has always been a crap shoot while we have been on the go. In one place we were the only patrons, at which point the staff quickly adjusted the tunes from their favorites to something more classic…making me imagine what a hotel elevator must have sounded like 50 years ago. In other instances, lounge versions of classics such as ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and ‘True’ fill the air for the mix of clientele. As for that above mentioned top 40 blaring from a TV set, we’ll call that an extreme case of distraction. We have been without the distraction of regular television for almost 7 weeks now, so a Lady Gaga video following classic Bryan Adams can be a bit off-putting.
The location of the toilet can also be interesting. It’s always at the back or under the restaurant, but these ancient sewer systems seem to have a mind of their own with the occasional ‘burp’ that will float through the restaurant. Nothing like a little old world sewer stink to quash that appetite in a heartbeat. Maybe a quick sniff of that nearby cappuccino would help matters…and have that ball of half digested pizza head back down my esophagus into my belly for further processing.
I know every establishment can’t have the perfect dining experience. Vancouver seems to just have the correct amount of ‘right’ though. Knock a Cactus Club or Earls for their increasing prices, overly attentive staff, or kitschy atmosphere. They do have a lot of good things going on though, and to take an organized business like that and put it pretty much anywhere in the world and a restauranteur could demand 5 star prices.
We’re not 5 star folk though, which means when we order the half litre of house white…we should expect the small dead spider to be slowly floating to the bottom of the carafe. The bread should also be flavourless, and vaguely resemble a kitchen sponge for flavour, texture, and that crust that would easily scrape that burnt on chicken cacciatore from the bottom of a pot. And really, we should expect our pizza to show up uncut. Just give me a knife and fork to tear it apart into chunks I can roll onto a fork.
At the end of the night, it really is all about the company we keep, correct?