Win/Fail Fridays: Yay for No. 9 Park, Nay for 49 Social

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

This week’s WIN: Super servers at No. 9 Park

As a food editor and occasional critic, if I’m having a great dining experience somewhere, I make a point to observe how other restaurant patrons are being treated. This helps me discern whether the service is actually great, or if I’m getting an atypical amount of attention. At No. 9 Park last night, I was thrilled to see our server lavish tons of attention on the table next to us, walking some wary diners through a number of food terms they didn’t recognize — yuzu, orecchiete, veloute — without a wink of condescension.

Even better, though, was what happened two tables over. Between courses, the two diners mentioned to their server that they were out-of-towners whose trip had taken an unexpected turn, and that their dinner plans for the following night had been ruined. They chatted a bit about where they had planned to go. The server then offered to assist with reservations for the next night, and stepped away from the table to make a phone call. Moments later, he returned with a reservation confirmation for his guests at another restaurant. One where tables aren’t easy to score. In Chicago. Needless to say, everyone was getting the star treatment, myself included.

This week’s FAIL: Skipping the spellcheck at 49 Social

I’ll admit it: I’m a word nerd. But usually I’m willing to overlook typos and grammatical gaffes on restaurant menus because I know that the folks who write them are usually chefs, not linguists. But you just have to laugh at the online menu for 49 Social, the recently opened restaurant in the former Ivy space, because it’s trying so damned hard to be upscale. Would you like some “buratta” or “gorganzola” cheese, kind sir? Do you prefer that “vinnaigrette” or “aoli” (wait, maybe it’s “aoili”) on the side? How about an “arugala” salad, a “marghertia” pizza, a basket of “pommes frittes,” or some fried calamari with “red thai,” whatever that is? Or perhaps you’d like to try my favorite plate, the pleasantly aromatic “Wellfeet clams”? (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

Stay tuned for next week’s Win/Fail!