This has been bothering me a lot lately and I don't know what the "rules of service" are about it.
When dining out, servers seem to feel it is necessary to whisk away dishes as soon as they appear to be empty. Often times, this leaves DH sitting across from me with nothing but his water glass and a napkin while I am still in mid-meal. Last night, they even brought the check while I was still eating (they did ask if we planned to have desert or coffee). The restaurant was busy but not full at that time and we were on our way to another event right after so were not dawdling.
As soon as I took the last full bite of my side dish, it was whisked away while my fork was still on the way to my mouth. Bread plates...gone even though there was still bread and butter on the table.
I was taught that the signal to that someone is finished is by placing the knife and fork in a certain direction--maybe also with the napkin placed to the left of the plate on the table.
I'm tired of fending off the hovering servers and would like to ask them not to remove anyone's plates until we are finished eating. Am I being SS? How would others handle this?
I'd probably never eat there again. I hate feeling rushed.
Long ago, when I worked in a fairly nice restaurant, I was taught never to start removing plates until everyone at the table was finished eating. (It's probably different if it's a very large group, but I'm talking about a small group of 2-6 people). And I've always remembered that, because when I'm dining, I want the same treatment. I like to relax as I eat, and I feel rushed if everyone else's plates are whisked away. I get thoroughly irked if dessert is offered to my companions before I am finished, and when that happens I assume that management has not given their staff any training whatsoever. I probably want dessert too, and I want it at the same time as the others, so please wait!! Likewise, if I finish first, I am happy to sit and chat until EVERYONE is finished and ready to move onto the next segment of the meal.
And please don't whisk away my plate before I've even put the fork down from my last mouthful.
I think it's fine, even good, to take away extraneous plates that are clearly getting in the diners' way, such as soup dishes still sitting there from the appetizer course (they should be gone by the time the main course arrives anyway, unless the diner has for some reason saved some to have with the main course). Or empty serving plates from shared dishes.
Last time I was out with two family members, and two of us were finished the main course while the third was still eating, and the server whisked away our plates and asked if we wanted dessert, we just said, "We might, but we'll wait till he is ready." I just wonder if some of these people were raised in a barn.