The Truth Behind the Tip™

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Posts Tagged ‘Beast’

A ‘Beastly’ Experience…

Posted by gratrueities on November 19, 2008

in a good way, that is…

After reading that Naomi Pomeroy, chef at Beast (pictured at right) restaurant in Portland OR, was named ‘Chef of Year’ by Portland Monthly Magazine we were anxious to give it a try.

Beast is a small French bistro-style restaurant located in the  Alberta Arts District of Portland.

Let me tell you a little about our dinner and, of course, how it relates to the topic of tipping!

The concept of Beast is simple. The menu is prix fixe, six courses and changes weekly – and it is very meat-centric (an additional attraction for my carnivore husband!). The restaurant seats 24 people at two communal tables, with two seatings per night.

Before making reservations, we checked out the menu online to make sure it was something that appealed to us, as it is clearly spelled out that substitutions are “politely declined!” The day before our dinner, we received a call confirming our reservation and instructing us to arrive promptly at 6:00. The latter struck me as a bit unusual, but I later understood why it was stressed…and they did mean “promptly.”

We arrived in the nick of time, were immediately seated and began chatting with our table mates. It was a festive atmosphere – warm, cozy (i.e. small) with an open kitchen and rustic decor.

The servers greeted us and checked to see if we wanted to order wine (they only order they were responsible for that evening) – carafes of water and a description of the meal were waiting on the on the tables. And with that our meal began!

The courses were nicely paced by the kitchen and the service efficient, pleasant and unobtrusive (actually, it was nearly invisible since the main task was to clear plates and walk approximately 8-10 feet to pick up and deliver the next course). Throughout the meal I considered how this style of dining simplifies the job of the server…no specials to recite, no recommendations to offer, no orders to take, no unusual requests to fulfill, no water to refresh, no attempt to entertain the diners…just service, pure and simple!

We thoroughly enjoyed our meal, as well as exchanging opinions and comparing favorite restuarants with the people around us.  When the checks arrived – en masse – as they prepared to clear the restaurant for the next seating, some discussion arose concerning the gratuity. The consensus reached was that the usual 20% was in order, but It was clear to me that I was not alone in recognizing that this was a different sort of service than the norm.

A little more discussion on tipping ensued…basically when, where and why!

I left both content after the delicious meal and convinced that people are becoming ever more conscious of what exactly they are tipping for…and aware of what their tip dollars are saying.


Posted in Chefs and Cooking, Dining experience, Pop Culture, Portland, Tipping, Travel, Wait Staff | Tagged: , , , , , | 7 Comments »