But we braved another request: Could we get a salad between the first and second courses? "I don't know," the waiter sniffed. "The salads are made fresh, and it is a matter of timing." Yes. Well. And it is difficult, too, to pull out a stick shoved up one's, uh, nose.
When the meal came, the waiter brought me a dish that neither I nor anyone else at our table had ordered. He never did bring a salad, between courses or at any other time, then blamed the kitchen for forgetting it. The hard, bland scallops in a tablemate's dish tasted, as he put it, "like an eraser." The truffle risotto was topped, stingily, with a couple of shards of aromaless black truffles.
Meanwhile, the waiter disappeared. A different waiter took his place. "What happened to our waiter?" we asked. "Oh," the new one answered, "he had to leave."
He had to leave? As in, he had a family emergency? Or as in, he wanted to go have a smoke? Or as in, "Hey guys, I'm pooped. I think I'll pack it in early tonight"?
The new waiter brought some port or wine or beer or who knows what. By then, the evening had become a computer crash.