Sunday, Ms Gloria and I had an early supper at Paesano’s at the
Quarry. Paesano’s has been an old family favorite from the time
they were a dinky place on McCullough Boulevard, so we were eager to
see the new place (they moved years ago, we’ve been busy). I have
good news and bad news.
The good news: the food is still great. My only complaint
was the lack of traditional Italian desserts, and the Grand Marinier
souffle made up for THAT.
The bad news is bad. For all its chic decor, Paesano’s has
adopted every annoying feature of 21st-century American restaurants,
and practices them as though they were virtures. The restaurant
has a cubist decor realized in concrete floors, stone or stucco walls,
and flat metal fixtures, all of which reflect (rather than absorb)
sound. Add to this a large open kitchen, 20% overstaffing, and
close wooden tables, and you get a room filled with constant
clamor. The hostess apparently felt I wasn’t getting enough noise
in my diet,
so she had thoughtfully seated me next to a door with the squeakiest
hinge in all of San Antonio. Our waitress had to lean over the
table to shout the specials out to us, and more than once could not
hear my order. The staff has obviously been trained to pester customers
every five minutes in the hope that you will either (1) order more
stuff or (2) take the hint to eat it and beat it, so Paesano’s can ring
up another sale. This insured periodic shouting matches with the
waitress, who had neither the ears nor voice to prevail. To top it all
off, some genius decided to pipe in salsa music, with lots of
drums.* I’ve had quieter meals at the Dairy Queen with a carload
of cheerleaders in attendance.
Just what is the appeal of dining in these noise factories? Noise
isn’t fun, noise isn’t your friend, it’s just frickin’ annoying.
I’ll be back at Paesano’s when they move someplace quiet.
*I was wrong, that wasn’t the topper. Check out their friggin’ website, which is playing Mexican music! Don’t these guys ever just SHUT UP?
Update (September 13): Maybe this helps explain the appeal of noisy restaurants–everyone under 30 is going deaf!