Stranger In A Strange Land

A German restaurant just opened in Berkeley and I thought I should have a look at the relevant Chowhound thread before venturing there myself. It sounds authentic indeed:

“There was no hostess so people did not know how to get a table and were left loitering near the door (none of the servers bothered to pay any attention to the number of people standing around waiting for a table. Bizarre).” (breanac on Chowhound)

Oh my, poor Americans, standing there like third-graders whose mom forgot to pick them up from soccer practice…welcome to the third world, where people just sit down! This is how we roll in pre-civilization Europe. You’re on your own. People fighting over chairs and tables. Tushies lowered onto seats without a hint of official authorization. Couples hogging four-seat tables. In short, anarchy. Adjust your tip accordingly! Overall, the restaurant sounds OK enough to check out, even though it threatens to deliver “Cooking and Baking with a North-German Twist.

(This comment makes me doubt the overall qualification of the contributors to this forum, though. I will not take this kind of abuse from the inhabitant of a country where “fresh joe” is routinely served from something fittingly named a “coffee urn” sitting on the counter, filled with a fluid so obnoxious that “refill” sounds like a death threat to anyone with taste buds or even just an innervated tongue.)

5 Responses to “Stranger In A Strange Land”

  1. ilse Says:

    I had to laugh out loud about this post. I didn’t know they called their coffee “Joe”.

  2. Felix Says:

    Love the comment about the first day: “I am somewhat shocked because after all they are German – so I would have expected more preparation.”

  3. croco Says:

    Lachen musste ich über die zu kleinen Portionen und die nicht platzierten Gäste.
    So ne Kaffeeurne haben wir im Lehrerzimmer auch stehen. Seit heute heißt sie auch Urne :-))

  4. Anna Mindess Says:

    Good point. I sometimes find it perspective-broadening to scan the yelp/chowhound comments (with like a handful of salt) before heading off to a new place and then try to figure out where some of the outrage (if it’s that’s what’s there) comes from. Cultural misjudgments may often be at the heart. Gaumenkitzel seemed to attract a lot of irate words from people whose expectations were not satisfied. Interesting. Just returned from a trip to Berlin where was told that “seat yourself” is the norm.

  5. cohu Says:

    After going there myself, I have to say that the “seat yourself” policy is probably not the only problem they have…they seemed a bit overwhelmed in general. Well, maybe they’ll settle in…the room is really nice and we’re missing a place to have Kaffee&Kuchen on Sunday afternoons.

    Aside from cultural differences, I’m just glad standards regarding service and food are very high around here and even small things (like seating policy, portion sizes etc.) are seen as valid concerns, even if Yelpers seem somewhat too high-maintenance at times – like reviews complaining about the macro-location of places, a la “I’d give this Pizzeria 5 stars, but it’s in the East Bay and a 20 minute drive for me!” – come on, people! 😉

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