I have concluded that space in restaurants in Seattle's U district must be a precious commodity, and this makes the servers, not the customers, the ones with the power. This was apparent Friday evening, when my Seattle roomie and I decided to take a break from the Asian restaurants that are highly prevalent, and try some Italian. We walked over to Mama Melina's and after the server discovered that we did not have a reservation, he informed us that it would be a 15 minute wait, which was no big deal to us, and that we would only have the table for an hour, which shocked the both of us. Neither of us had ever been given a time limit on our stay before! Perhaps this is customary in many locations and we are but hicks. We were imagining a big clock ticking at our table. While the food--gnocchi di ricotta--was delicious, the memory that stood out was the fact that we only rated an hour at the place.
Even funnier was our lunchtime encounter. We were wandering up the Ave, wondering what to pick. I expressed an interest in noodle soup, so we picked a pho place. The moment we walked in, both of our glasses fogged up and we couldn't see a thing. Before we could even recover our vision, we were directed straight to a table. Now not only could we not see properly, but there were people already sitting at the table. Our confusion and reluctance only made the server yell louder, so we sat at the table. Neither of us can read without our glasses, and both of us were still fogged up. So while the menu was right in front of us, we could not decipher it. That didn't matter. Server #2 was ready to take our order. I asked him about vegetarian pho, and he told me I was having bowl A. Then he demanded what my friend wanted. When she expressed an interest in actually seeing the menu (still fogged), he demanded, "beef or chicken?" She said, "Uhm, beef?" and he said, "You get this one" and rushed off. He didn't even give me a chance to ask for spring rolls, and it took several attempts just to get a server to stop long enough to request those. Once our glasses cleared, we saw on the menu that the place served boba. I finally got a server's attention, and asked for boba, and she growled, "Not today" and rushed off. They came to clear our plates before we were even finished, and were wiping the table off before we could even get up to pay.