This is definitely more of a quandary for the San Francisco/Portland set (see illustrative Portlandia clip below) than it is for anyone anywhere else in the country, but Jonathan Kauffman explores an important question today: How many questions is too many when it comes to asking about the preparation and provenance of your food? In other words, what should your server readily know, and what should everyone be within their rights to ask, without veering off into truly obnoxious, tedious territory?
In short, they ought to be able to explain what sous-vide is, if that’s something the kitchen does, and if there are farms name-dropped on the menu, they had better know where those farms are, if not the color of the farmer’s eyes. Also, he reminds us that servers in busy restaurants are taking it from all sides, so they may not always be able to get complicated answers: “You should know that, on a busy night, every time waiters approach the kitchen window to call out a question to a crew of whirling cooks, they risk a verbal beatdown receiving some negative feedback, so show a little sensitivity.”
And if you’re still uncertain, refer here for a lesson in what not to do: