Brunch at Daedalus, or, How Not to Bartend

The problem with having a restaurant review blog is that I’m not good at writing about nice things. If I go to a restaurant and have a simply divine time of it, I can only generate boring blogposts, waxing poetic about the texture of my momos or the oil-to-vinegar ration of the salad dressing. Thankfully, this weekend Katsu and I brought our Quest for the Perfect Brunch to a new location in Harvard Square and discovered a mixed bag of the sublime and abysmal.

Daedalus is a restaurant I’d been to a couple times before – once with a friend who generously picked up the check, allowing me to order just a little higher up the price ladder than I would normally, and once with Katsumi, allowing me free reign over lengthy drink menu. It’s a restaurant where it’s just as easy to nip in and out for under thirty bucks as it is to linger over long, slow meal that sets you back a C-note. And their cocktails are fabulous. Since Sunday drinking is one of my favorite pastimes, I was super-excited to try their brunch.

We got there at one-ish and were greeted by a hostess that actually looked UPSET to have customers. The fact that we were a party of two only served to aggravate her further, and when we asked if it would be possible to wait a bit longer for a table upstairs, I swear I saw her soul curl up and die. She wrote our name down on her list and took off in a huff while I found a recently vacated seat at the bar and settled in.

Five minutes later, someone else’s dirty brunch plate was still moldering under my nose. When the bartender finally came around to snatch the offending plate away, the following dialogue ensued:

“You want a menu or something?”

“oh, no, we’re waiting for a table”

“ok”

Exeunt bartender.

Like, if you’re waiting for a table but sitting AT THE BAR maybe that isn’t a clear sign that you’d like a beverage while you wait. When it became clear that a drink was not in the cards, I flagged him down and ordered a screwdriver, a Paulaner (for katsu) and a water. He promptly became engaged in a conversation with the surly hostess and forgot about our order.

It was around this time that I noticed he was a mouth-breather. You know those people – those people who never ever close their mouth entirely and walk around with their shit hanging open like they’re waiting to catch grapes. I know I’m inherently evil, but mouth-breathers bother me on a deep level, and the fact that this bartender left me sitting with a dirty plate, then didn’t offer me a beverage, then FORGOT that I’d ordered a beverage, AND was a mouth-breather… too fucking much to bear before coffee, let me tell you. After Hostess returned to her Den of Bitchiness, I flagged him down again to remind him of our order.

“a screwdriver and a… paulaner?”

“and a water”

He underpoured my vodka in the screwdriver, filled Katsumi’s Paulaner in two stages (HELLO, IT’S NOT A GUINNESS), and forgot the water entirely. Big suprise. When he returned, sans H2O, to request payment, Katsumi asked if we could start a tab. Then – GET THIS – the bartender was all, “you want to start a TAB while you wait for a TABLE?”

Like, why don’t you just call me an alcoholic, you mouth-breathing asshole?? Yes, it’s Sunday morning, yes, we’re waiting for a table, and YES we want to START A TAB. If you’ve got a problem with daytime drinking, maybe you want to take a job at the Starbucks around the corner. GOD.

during the twenty or so minutes that we waited for a table, I took comfort in teh realization that his shitty demeanor wasn’t directed at us alone, but was equally distributed over all his disgruntled customers. The guy sitting next to me waited 10 minutes for a half-pint of Sam Adams, the guy across the bar waited 5 minutes for coffee then had to practically light himself on fire to get milk and sugar, and the couple a few stools down were none too pleased at the length of time they had to wait for their check.

Happily, the service once we were seated was far better than what we received at the bar, and the food was so good I practically inhaled my omelette. But I won’t go into that, because bitching is just so much more fun.

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