Sunday, June 5, 2011

Restaurant Babble

I confess. I love to eat. And, although I enjoy cooking, I love to go out to eat even more. I like the atmosphere of a fancy "in" restaurant, the feeling that I'm part of the crowd of sophistocated foodies. And yes, I also like down home hamburger joints, chain restaurants, and cozy neighborhood bistros. I've even been known to enjoy an airport concourse meal (but not too often).

What I don't like is NOISE. I don't want to have to shout across the table to make my companions understand, to cup my ears to half-hear what they're saying. I want a relaxing conversation to go with my nice meal, not an exhausting melee of clattering dishes, clinking wine glasses, giggling diners, intruding music. If I wanted all that clatter, I'd go to a Little Leagus game. Or the upcoming Britney Spears concert.

You know why so many people in these places are texting? Because THEY CAN'T HEAR EACH OTHER SPEAK.

It can't be because I'm a senior citizen. Surely other people want to communicate with their dinner partners in some other way besides shouts, grunts and sign language.

Why, oh why do the classiest of restaurants have to add to the noise level with high, hard ceilings, uncarpeted floors, lack of acoustic tile? Yeah, it makes them seem busier and livelier when the noise level increases--wow, this place is really hot--and maybe you eat faster to get out of there and into a quiet car or even a motorcyle. I guess it's good for business, but not for mine. I've been to several hot spots in Houston lately and my friends and I decided to cross them off our to-go list and come up with a list of "quiet dining for adults restaurants" in the Houston area. I'm thinking of enlisting the help of the Whine and Dine column in the Houston Chronicle, or starting a blog on quiet eating.

What's your opinion?


Carol Apple said... [Reply to comment]

Thelma - I agree with you wholeheartedly about the desirability of quieter restaurants! When I go to a restaurant, it is either to talk or to write. Maybe I should seek out and share a list of conversation-friendly restaurants in my area too (Southeastern Virginia).

thelmaz said... [Reply to comment]

Carol, why don't you leave a list? Maybe we can start a national movement for quiet dining

Bella said... [Reply to comment]

Thelma, I'm with you a 100 percent! If I'm going to throw down any amount of money, it's so I can enjoy my meal and the company of who I'm with. It's inconceivable to have to shout in order to be heard because this just kills the flow of the conversation. Also, while I have two children of my own and love kids, I find it irritating for parents to not supervise their children and have them running around the buffet table or the dining area. I would most definitely cross off my list any restaurant that does not provide a good dining experience where I can relax and enjoy my meal and good table conversation!

Suzi Banks Baum said... [Reply to comment]

Just recently my family sat in a favorite restaurant in NYC called "Noho Star" and noticed a difference. It felt like there was a big fuzzy bear in the room. The tinny sounds of the business were softened somehow and as we peered around this place we go to despite the noise level, we found they has lined the undersides of every single table with thick fat foam, the kind that soundproof booths have on the walls. It made such a pleasant difference. I agree with you Thelma, I usually dine out for festive reasons one of the main ones being, visiting with whoever I am with. Thanks for your thoughts! Love, S

Leah said... [Reply to comment]

Completely agree with you! I hate going to restaurants that are so loud. And even worse, why do they then turn up the music so loud? I also hate restaurants that have televisions on. Isn't the point of going out to not watch TV? I'm old-fashioned, I guess.


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