Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hotel Number 1, continued

The Grand Hotel's bar/restaurant has a large plasma screen (!) showing the Euro 2008 Football Championship, but aside from the eight bored-looking waiters in faded bow-ties, it is empty. I attempted to eat dinner there Sunday night (no other open options), and walked in at 8 pm to a deserted room. Out of nowhere, a tall waiter shows up and tells me to pick any of the sixty ornately set tables (we are talking blue, yellow, and gold table cloths, cloth napkins, and 1980s era engraved plates with the hotel's emblem in gold). He brings a menu with over ninety numbered choices all translated into English, ranging from fruit soup to lobster to beef stew. Impressed, I was immediately agog at the apparent ability of an empty restaurant to sustain such a diverse and opulent menu (Lobster? In land-locked, Eastern European Kosovo? Reeeaalllyy?). As the waiter, who turned out to be named Enver (you know, like the Albanian dictator), and was incredibly nice, sat in the corner I picked out fruit soup and tomato salad. When I relayed my choice to him, he apologetically said that out of the 12 soups listed, they only had chicken, pork, or mushroom. I think he was also pretty disappointed that I didn't order any real food, but I wasn't too hungry. What can I say, I just have a weakness for fruit soup.

By this point, the empty, gargantuan dining room was beginning to freak me out. "Hotel California" started playing in my mind. I made sure I didn't drink the wine.

1 comment:

Betsy said...

I LOVE reading these entries. You are an EXCELLENT writer and catch the nuance in any situation so perfectly!
The Grand Hotel sounds a little sad. The waiter must have been SO HAPPY to have a CUSTOMER!