So yesterday my friend took me to her favorite Chinese restaurant near the office.
She got me prepared as she pulled up to the strip mall that looked like it had been dipped in Chinatown on what to expect when we got to the restaurant.
She told me the food was amazing and that Chinese people ate here. It’s always a good sign to see Chinese people eating at a Chinese restaurant. It makes me nervous to walk into one that doesn’t.
She said that on weekends the line to get a table was out the door. Another good sign.
But then she also gave me a warning. People who work here are rude. They don’t pretend to be nice, they don’t care about you or your damn feelings.
We walked into the very large but relatively empty restaurant less than half filled at noon on a Monday.
I reminded myself that Monday was always the day the least people went out to lunch.
I tried to imagine how many people it took to fill that large restaurant on weekends and still manage to have a line of people trying to get in.
We walked in and were greeted by a man who seemed like the manager. He gave off a “manager vibe.” And by “greeted” I mean he looked at us with utter disdain and said nothing.
Finally since no one had asked us, we had to ask if we could sit.
He showed us to the table. And by that I mean, he grunted and begrudgingly pointed in the general direction of the right side of the room.
We walked over to an empty table ourselves unsure if this is where he wanted us to sit. I was almost scared he would yell at us for picking the wrong table.
It must have been right because he then walked over and held the menus in his hands, looked at each of us and let them drop on to the table with a loud thud. Then he grunted again and walked away.
A somewhat nicer lady came by who I assumed was our waitress and brought us green tea. When by “nicer” I mean she didn’t give us the death stare the manager did.
Her look was more of a “I don’t care if you’re here or not” type of glare.
We went over the menus, and picked out what we wanted. The waitress came over and took our orders.
When I asked for brown rice instead of steamed rice she said they don’t have it. I was trying to be healthy in asking for the brown rice. So naturally I went with the very healthy option of pork fried rice (yeah I don’t see my logic either).
I have to admit, the food was amazing. The egg roll was crispy and just right. When the manager came by to take our appetizer plates away I told him so.
For the first time he spoke to me. He grumbled with a frown, “yeah but some people think it’s too crispy so..” and he walked away. It was hardly a love declaration but at least it was more than a glare and a grunt.
The duck sauce was real duck sauce with no food dyes, even the spicy mustard was different. The rice and my szechuan chicken was perfection. We were both happy with the food.
That’s when I realized why they are so rude here. Because they can be.
The food speaks for itself. When the food is really good you can be a jackass if you want to.
I understood their arrogance, their disdain and their need not to please the customer. The food does all of that. We don’t need their sweetness, kindness or smiles. The food does all that.
I’d rather have good food and mean waiter than a nice waiter and bad food-but that’s just me.
After we got the check we walked over to the cashier to pay. And by “cashier” I mean they guy who was sitting behind the counter eating a huge bowl of noodle soup.
He glanced over, said nothing, took a couple more bites, then begrudgingly walked over and took our money.
No one told us goodbye or hello for that matter. No one even bothered to wish us a nice day or thank us for coming.
But somehow it didn’t matter. I wasn’t even upset about it.
If this restaurant could have a motto it would be “Fuck you, and just..fuck you and then.. fuck you. But try our wonton soup it’s amazing!”
(pardon all the cursing )