The host-guest relationship puts all the onus on the server, particularly during the pandemic, and points to the dysfunction at the heart of the business.
One of my last restaurant meals before the shutdowns started last year was at Swan Oyster Depot in San Francisco.
I waited on the street by a fishy-smelling puddle until I was waved toward a seat at the well-worn counter.
Crushed between two strangers on a wobbly stool, I happily ate as much fresh, sweet, cold Dungeness crab meat as I could.
Happily, because the server across the bar was making me feel comfortable and cared for, safe and unhurried, though I can’t say exactly how he did this.