Restaurant Reviewing: A Not-So-Glamorous Story

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Think restaurant reviewing is glamorous? It is – sometimes. And then there are the “oops” reviews, the ones that provide me with great story-telling material.

Years ago, I headed up to Nevada City to review Citronee Bistro and Wine Bar (one of my all-time favorite restaurants in the region). After happily settling into our snug table, located in a raised alcove above the main dining floor, a glowering couple was seated below us. “Looks like they just had a big fight,” my husband whispered. He was right – you could practically hear the nastiness crackling around the couple as they contemplated their menus in sour, combative silence.

A moment later my husband accidentally knocked a candle off a low wall next to our table. It fell to the floor beside the angry couple, then bounced. The woman leapt up in an instant and began shrieking. “You got wax on my skirt!” she screamed, purple-faced, finger waggling furiously at my husband. The restaurant fell into shocked silence, all eyes locked on the couple.

Suddenly, the man stood up, raced towards my husband (who, if I didn’t mention it before, is a hale 6’ 4”) and furiously punched him in the arm. Patrons gawped as my husband stared at the man in amazement. You could have heard a pin drop. Later, my husband told me he contemplated walloping the man in return, then decided to take the high road. “I can’t believe you just hit me,” he said in an amused, measured tone. The man wiped the spittle off his face, grabbed his glowering wife, and they stalked indignantly out of the restaurant. “They’re a team, now,” my husband observed. “Maybe their night will get better.” Ours did, too. We had a great meal, and Citronee got a glowing review. No, I didn’t mention the punching incident in my review, though I was mightily tempted.