The Ruined Oysters

So another Summerlicious event has come and gone. I continue to be underwhelmed. This bi-annual event where Toronto restaurants offer a super-cheap prix fixe meal continues to deserve its bad rap – both in regards to cheapo customers and craptacular service.

I only did two restaurants this year, figuring it was all I could handle. Our experience at Starfish, a local oyster joint, would have gone perfectly had it not been for the service at the table next to us.

Our regular waiter was obviously one of those rare lifelong professionals and the service we received from him was exemplary. Even though we were there for the cheap lunch, he was perfect. Not so the gal who was assisting him when things got busy.

One of the appetizers was a plate of raw oysters – four oysters and two scallops to be specific. It came with lemon, horseradish and some nasty seafood sauce type thing. It was probably made in-house, but it was too reminiscent of the stuff people serve at holiday parties with a defrosted shrimp ring.

I’m a naked oyster kind of girl myself, but I know some people find them more palatable with stuff piled on them. Like the girl at the next table who asked for Tabasco sauce.

“Sure, if you want to ruin them!” was the server’s reply. The whole table looked shocked. Greg and I sat at the next table with mouths agape. The cheeky server girl tried to explain that Tabasco shouldn’t be used, that the customer should really start with lemon and see if she liked them that way.

Of course, the customer didn’t have the nerve to tell the girl off, and she was out of earshot from me at that point or I’d have pointed out that if they didn’t want people to “ruin” the oysters, perhaps they should stop serving them with piles of crap like seafood sauce.

I don’t know if she was just trying to be cutely sarcastic or just bitchy, but her reaction ruined the meal for a good half dozen people. People who likely won’t come back and order food off the regular menu at full price, lest they be accosted by a bitchy waitress who mocks their choice of condiments.