Last Friday evening, I took a GF out for a belated birthday celebration. She chose Marben, a first visit for me, a return for her. When I entered at around 8 pm., the place was nearly empty, with a half-dozen suits clustered at the bar and one table of diners.
Though I had reserved, the host led me to the worst table by far, a two-top butted into the wait station. "We're a little jammed tonight", he said, "is this all right?" I said firmly, "I don't want to be here", and was then offered a choice banquette.
She arrived late, burst into tears (stress- a move and reno from hell), polished off a glass of red, and we settled in for a companionable evening. Good food, proficient service. At my rejected table, a young couple made first-date conversation.
I suspect the Table of Doom is given to non-regulars, or those so "over-served" during cocktail hour that that they can ignore their perch on top of the dish bins.
As we were leaving, the host, chatting with his mates near the door, asked, "Have a happy birthday, dear?" So here's the deal, so-hip Marben: If I catch even a whiff of condescension, in any establishment, I am never coming back. Your form of address, coupled with your seating strategy ensures that "dear" dines elsewhere.