Sunday, February 6, 2011

Enjoying Great Service in the Caribbean

Thanks to our friends on Kamaloha I was able to take Carla out for a special dinner tonight. We had several recommendations to try out the new Indian restaurant in town and since we love a good curry we had to give it a try. And it was fantastic!

The place is quite new so the owner is very keen to ensure that every guest experiences amazing service. And they did a pretty good job. Actually, they did an amazing job considering that they are new and are trying to cater to NA customers with a mix of Indian and local staff. But I probably need to explain this a bit lest it sound condescending. We've come to expect, and enjoy, a different kind of service here in the Caribbean. Servers down here tend to mumble a bit (English, as it's spoken in NA, is not usually their first language), they seem to avoid eye contact or have a stern air about them and seem to get distracted but we've learned that in pretty much every case they want their guests to have a great time. The reason, I think, that many North Americans, especially those here only for a short time (including us until we started to "get it"), get confused and come away thinking, "what strange/poor service," is that the body language, service protocols and expectations are all quite different than what we're used to in NA. It's not all business and fake smiles and overly keen eye contact. It's actually a very respectful approach. You are given a lot of personal space (thus the reduced eye contact) and lots of time to do your thing, whatever that might be. They are most certainly not hurrying you out the door so that they can fill that table once, twice or three more times that evening. And if they weren't serving us then they'd be serving their friends and you don't need to put on fake smiles and hurry your friends along or tell them all the details about your offerings that night because friends would already know what they were. So if you want really good, pleasant service in the Caribbean, relax. Find some way to interact with people on a personal level (talk about family usually works quite well) and they'll treat you like you were their friend, which is what we really want anyway.

But I digress. This new Indian place is trying hard to serve their customers as most North Americans would come to expect. The result is ... nice, but awkward in a different kind of way. We certainly enjoyed ourselves, don't get me wrong, but it was interesting to see them try so hard. Too hard probably. Oh well. We'd certainly go back given the chance as the food was terrific and the service, despite my ramblings above, really was quite pleasant.

For our foodie friends. I didn't get a picture of our spread, but here is a breakdown of what we ordered.

- Samosa Chat
- Chicken Tikka
Shared Mains:
- Fish Rasila with fresh local Mahi-mahi (very, very good!!)
- Mutter Alu
- Butter Chicken
- Garlic Naan
- Basmati Rice
- Veggie Pilau Rice
- Masala Chai
- Sweet Lassi

And they served us a nice little fudge cake and sang Carla Happy Birthday for fun. And now we're more stuffed than a Thanksgiving turkey.


  1. Glad to hear you had a chance to get out -- just the two of you!
    And to eat yummy food, too!

  2. Hey family! I just read this and the sound of that food made my mouth water, I can't wait to be down there! 42days! Btw I don't know why hen I post this it says big bird as my name, but at least I stand out