by Katharine Branham - Archive of Katharine’s Articles
Restaurant thieves are my biggest pet peeve. Thefts in high-end restaurants where a patron spends up to $100 for dinner occur more often than you think.
I was enjoying a wonderful dinner one night at a high end restaurant and commented to the waiter on how uniquely beautiful the wine pitcher was. The waiter gave a brief explanation of the pitcher as he poured the wine. He also said a few have been stolen by guests. I was really shocked, considering the pitcher was about 14 inches tall and 6 inches in width. How was the pitcher carried out? Looking around, most of the lady guests carried small clutch purses and, well, the guys can only fit so much in their pockets.
Our food arrived and those that ordered steak, of course, were brought steak knives. The knives were large and aroused a few comments. It seemed the restaurant had not only upscale wine pitchers but they also provide top quality cutlery for their guests. We have visited every steak house in town and, while the cutlery is high quality at other places, no restaurant tops these steak knives.
The waiter was very enjoyable with his expertise in fine dining and his attentiveness to the table. We called for the tab, paid it and sat enjoying our after-dinner drinks. I ordered desserts to-go and the waiter brought the bag to the table right before we left. When I got home and pulled out the desserts from a large paper bag with handles, a napkin laid rolled up. I thought ‘how odd’ as I unrolled the napkin to find four steak knives. How did this happen? My table guests are not thieves so I rethought the events of the evening.
The waiter kept an eye on us while we finished our drinks and then he brought the to-go bag, which I took it from him as we called for our car. So it had to be the waiter. I did not even order steak or ask for these. Fumbling through my purse for the receipt I called the restaurant and asked to speak to my waiter. When he came to the phone, I identified myself and told him about the discovery in my bag. He explained that it was his gift since I asked about the knives he thought I would love a set and hopes we come back. What was I going to do with these knives? I liked them at the restaurant, but I can’t eat using stolen knives. It all adds up to big slices of guilt. After all, the reason I asked about the knives and the wine pitcher was because I was doing a restaurant review of the place, not shopping for knives.
Finding a way to return the knives was going to be tricky. I called the restaurant the next day to make lunch reservations and ask when that waiter would be working again. The hostess said “Friday” so I made reservations for a Thursday lunch so as not to risk running into him again. In the end, I did return the knives to the restaurant and also enjoyed a guilt-free lunch.