Try the Scrod

Lately I have noticed that restaurant servers are deliberately drawing my attention to particular menu items.

They call them menu ‘ highlights ‘ as in : The menu highlights tonight are the Smoked Scrod on a creamy seaweed ganache and the laser-seared Flatiron Steak which comes from a part of the cow that no one in our kitchen seems able to identify. The specific mention of these items by an employee of the restaurant who is standing table-side in an earnest (if not downright eager) recitation… makes them, to my hungry eye, special. But, apparently, they’re not ‘specials ‘  They’re highlights. There’s no discount over the regular menu price. Why then, I ask, are you telling me about them?

The server, who must be rolling his or her eyes secretly into the back of his or her head while the surface of their teeth begins to stick to their lips in a forced smile, tries to explain that they are simply bringing these mouth-watering offerings to the forefront. But why do this if you’re not going to give me a break on the price? I can read the menu as well as anyone. I don’t need highlights that aren’t specials confusing my already tenuous grip on reality.

What follows is a forensic transcription of my conversation with a waiter just the other night.

Waiter: Would you like to hear about our monthly highlights?

Me: Are they specials?

Waiter: No, sir. They’re highlights.

Me: Are they good?

Waiter: They’re delicious.

Me: Are they popular?

Waiter: People can’t get enough of them. We often sell out.

Dave: But they’re not specials?

Waiter: No. They’re highlights.

Dave: They’re a little special, aren’t they? I mean you yourself said they were big sellers.

Waiter: Sir, would you like to speak to the manager?

Dave : Is he special?

Waiter: It’s a woman.

Dave: Does she have highlights?

Waiter: I’m sorry. I just went off-shift.

Despite all of this, apparently, it’s been their pleasure to serve me.

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