Win/Fail Fridays: Yay for Sel de la Terre, Nay for Ironsides

Welcome to Win/Fail Fridays, where food editor Donna Garlough mouths off about her latest dining-out adventures.

This week’s WIN: Better bussing at Sel De La Terre
I’ve always had a thing about how restaurants clear their plates. It’s pretty annoying when a busser clatters the dishware around loudly when removing finished items from the table, very annoying when they take a plate too early, and frankly kind of gross when you have to watch someone stack a plate on top of uneaten food. (Maybe I didn’t want the rest of that burger, but I really don’t care to witness you smooshing it with a bowl of pasta before you take it away, thankyouverymuch.) So I was delighted to notice when, during a late lunch on the patio at Sel de la Terre on Long Wharf, our server took tremendous care clearing dishes from our table. I’d brought my snoozing 3-month old with me, and, observing the sleeping baby, our waitress whisked everything away rather gingerly, clearly in an effort not to disturb the little one’s nap. Details, people. They make all the difference in the world.

*On the subject of dining with children, I think it’s hilarious that so many restaurants in town try to hand my 3-month old a kids’ menu. Thanks, guys, but I am the kid’s menu.

This week’s FAIL: No eggs for you at Ironside Grill
Though it’s a matter of recent debate, I can totally see why chefs can be irked by special orders. If you ask the kitchen to prepare your spaghetti carbonara without eggs or cheese, or request that your tasting menu be prepared sans sugar or fat, well, it just isn’t going to taste like what it’s supposed to. But last week, after a long Sunday spent laying brick on our back patio, my husband had a craving: A burger with a fried egg on top. (I know, so cliché, but the belly wants what it wants.) So we headed to our neighborhood bar and grill, thinking they’d surely honor such a simple request by a regular; after all, they serve eggs at Sunday brunch. Nope. After looking at us like we were insane for placing such a bizarre order and checking with the kitchen, our server returned to our table. “Eggs aren’t on our dinner menu,” she snorted. “They won’t do it. They’re really busy, you know, cooking food.” Mmm hmm. Guess we’ll have to get our fried-egg burger somewhere else.

Stay tuned for next week’s Win/Fail!