Send a six-pack to the kitchen: A charming bar list addition or just annoying?
It's been an entry on the beverage menu at Table 6 for ages, but we're starting to see a common line popping up on drink lists around town: an invitation to diners to send a six-pack of beer to the kitchen -- an invitation that caused quite a bit of controversy when Table 6 chef Scott Parker suggested diners reward his kitchen with beer rather than verbal kudos.
But it's not just Table 6 that's issuing the overture: In the last week, we've spotted it on the menus at The Berkshire and Pizzeria Locale -- and we've talked to another bartender who's been toying with adding it to his list.
And we can't decide if we think that's a charming way to interact with the kitchen or an annoying way to extort more money from a guest while cheapening the whole reason you'd send drinks to the back of the house in the first place.
Don't get us wrong: We think sending beers to the people responsible for cooking your food is a great plan. If you do it of your own accord, it's typically perceived as a signal that you're in the industry (or that you're hip to the way the industry works), and it can buy you extra love from the line, like extra courses, an appetizer or a dessert. And the back of the house doesn't share the gratuity you leave for the waiter, so it's a nice way to tell the chef how much you liked the food. This can also be accomplished by rolling up to the host stand with a rack of beers (though, uh, incur the legal consequences at your own risk) or doing a round of shots with the cooks.
But that whole wink-wink-nudge-nudge is sort of lost in translation when a restaurant is telling you to do it, no? It just seems like a less authentic way to be a part of the club, right?
Then again, the people sweating in front of the ovens on the other side of the swinging doors definitely deserve some gratitude -- and why not remind diners of that?
Maybe the apt comparison here is the Food Network: It tunes more people in to the cool secrets of the restaurant industry while cheapening those secrets at the same time.
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