Extravagance for Whom, Exactly?

Disclaimer: I am speaking from a position of privilege, and I recognize that. This is a very personal rant about people close to me that are themselves complex people.

Despite the online booking system claiming otherwise, my dad and the family friend from Boston managed to finagle a restaurant reservation tonight at chef Cindy Wolf’s Charleston fine dining restaurant in Baltimore. Turns out a call and who knows what other dubious method they used to get a table worked.

The occasionS are my mom’s birthday, Hsuan being here, and my remission. Ultimately, however, these extravagant meals always end up pleasing my dad the most. After all, he gets to show off to his friends and family that he can afford such luxurious, over-the-top meals, while the rest of us, the actual dining companions, would not have personally chosen such a place themselves and/or normally do not eat such food.

Take my mom, for example. Her dietary preferences lean toward Asian, especially Chinese, and she tends to have a small appetite. She does not like many Western staples, such as cheese, steak, and creamy pastas or other heavy, fatty, or raw dishes (save for sushi, of course). At Western establishments, she gets full very easily, one reason being she often stuffs herself with the starter breads. To take her to a Western restaurant, especially a fine dining one, is likely not the best choice. At the same time, Charleston has been sort of a go-to for special occasions these years for us. For my dad, it is inevitable that we return with Hsuan and our family friends.

It isn’t fine dining without one scallop.

And after tonight’s experience, it became very clear that these meals are mostly for the enjoyment of my dad. While everyone else seemed to enjoy it, I felt that the service was so notably poor that I vowed I would never return on my own will. If my dad pushed it again in the future, I would try to suggest another place. But would he even listen? I think my mom has been influencing me too much in terms of her negative feelings toward my dad. Their relationship has been strained, to say the least.

I plan to write a full review of tonight’s dining experience at what is supposed to be the best fine dining restaurant in Baltimore, if not Maryland. For now, all I will say is that I’m too young and frankly privileged to appreciate and understand spending upwards of $1,000 for a dinner with substandard service.