I’d like to apologize for the slowness of our service tonight. I’m aware that you’ve been waiting a long time for me to bring you your menus. I have seen you waving at me repeatedly as I passed by your table. I have also overheard you cursing about the fact that I seem to be totally ignoring you. I assure you that is not the case. It’s just that several of our waiters are out sick today, so we’re a bit shorthanded.
Let me begin by telling you about our specials this evening.
The first is a grilled fillet of salmon with hollandaise sauce, accompanied by a side of asparagus and roasted baby potatoes. It’s light and delicious, and it goes perfectly with a glass of cold, dry chablis. It’s really the ideal dish for a warm summer evening like this one, and that’s probably why it’s already sold out. Sorry about that.
Our second special is a braised veal cutlet topped with caramelized onions. I use the term “caramelized” only because that is how the restaurant’s manager instructed me to describe the onions, which were, in fact, simply burnt to a crisp by mistake. I’m afraid our chef has been drinking again. It comes with a side of overcooked carrots and a potato purée which is lightly garnished with flakes of ash from the chef’s cigarette.
We know that the chef shouldn’t smoke while he’s cooking, but the problem is that his wife recently left him, which is why he’s drinking again. We’re just afraid that if we don’t let him smoke, then his nerves might get to him, and he might end up stabbing one of our customers with his carving knife… again.
Our third special of the evening is a wild boar goulash. It’s thick and hearty, with a powerfully distinctive flavor. Just like before, those are all words that my manager instructed me to use in place of the ones I personally would choose, such as “lumpy,” “congealed” and “suspicious tasting.” I mentioned that several of our waiters are out sick today. Guess what they ate for lunch. It’s served with homemade dumplings, but unless the recipe for those dumplings has been changed to include penicillin, I’m afraid they’re not going to be of much help to you.
Oh, look. Some other customers are frantically waving at me, just like you were. I wonder if it’s because they want to order something, or whether perhaps someone at their table requires emergency medical attention. That happens a lot here. After your food arrives and you’ve begun eating, I’ll be stopping by your table regularly to ask, “Is everything okay?” It won’t be to enquire whether you need anything, but rather just to ensure that you are still conscious and breathing.
If none of our specials sound appealing to you, here is our standard menu. I’m happy to say that everything listed on it is available this evening, with the exception of the sirloin steak, the roast duck, the grilled pork chop, the lamb, the trout, the pike, the sea bass, the swordfish, the cheese soufflé, the cheese fondue, the cheese omelette, anything else requiring cheese or eggs, all of the varieties of pasta, and most of the vegetable side dishes.
Can I start by taking your drink orders? If you’d like some water, I’d recommend bottled water rather than tap water. It seems there was recently some kind of leakage into our local water supply from the town’s sewage system. They say that it’s safe to cook with once it’s boiled, but…
Oh, my, are you leaving already? Well, that’s certainly a pity. Of course, it does mean one less table I’ll have to worry about.
Just as I expected.