Monday, March 23, 2009

From Our Moscow Bureau

I thought you might enjoy seeing what a typical night out to dinner consists of here in Russia. To be honest, I don't even know what I order (or eat) half of the time. There is no rhyme or reason to my method. I just peruse thru the menu like I know what I'm reading and then point at something that looks appetizing. Often times the waitress will ask me something in Russian during my feeble attempt to place my order and I will respond "Koneshna" which means "of course!" Even though I have no idea what she has asked me.

I've given up on trying to understand anything that is going on in the kitchen or anywhere else in the restaurant. I kid you not; often times the server will bring out the appetizer after everyone has finished their meal. This has happened to me on three different occasions. Like all restaurants in Europe, the service here is HORRIBLE. The thing that I don't understand is why the waiter/waitress tends to bring out everyone's meal one at a time (most of the time the meals come out 15-20 minutes apart). This means that if you are at a table with 3 other people and you are the last to get your meal, you will have probably eaten your napkin and maybe the ashtray (yes they still smoke everywhere) before your meal arrives. Then when your meal finally arrives, the others, having finished their meals while you stared at them with your tail wagging like a starving dog, are looking at their watches ready to go. So you end up scarfing down your food like you haven't eaten in weeks. My guess is that the kitchen only prepares one meal at a time. And it doesn't matter what I order, I'm always the last to get served. However, while the service may suck,the food is delicious (possibly because after waiting an hour the waiter could bring me just about anything on a plate and I would eat it).

Here is what probably happens when the waiter shows up to take my order:

Me (stupid American pointing at something on the menu and then brutally trying to pronounce it): "May I have the pig entrails with a side of cole slaw?"

Waiter: "Would you like your meal served to you after everyone else at the table has eaten and is ready to leave?"

Me: "Of course!"

Waiter (looking at me as though I recently ran off with his wife and stole his entire collection of Waylon Jennings albums): "Very well, I will make sure that your meal is delivered to you sometime between now and the second coming of Christ. In the meantime, please enjoy some second hand smoke."

~The Moscow Correspondent

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