13. Tap water. You have a right to be offered tap water without feeling stigmatized. The tap water shall be filtered. Unless there are overriding drought conditions, the water shall be replenished throughout the meal. And if we do order bottled water, no funny business (pouring gigantic glasses).
15. Right of refusal: wine. You have the right to refuse a wine that is not in good condition, and you shall not be required to pay for it. If Steve doesn't know what a corked wine is, he should fetch someone who does.
16. Right of refusal: food. Has the server asked how you'd like your steak cooked? You have the right to send it back if it's not cooked as requested.
17. Eating with the rest of your party. For any given course, all the diners at a table shall be served at the same time. No one likes to start before everyone else nor let their food get cold.
18. Proper level of wine in glasses. Wine shall be replenished as necessary, but servers shall not overfill the glasses. You have the right to keep the bottle on the table and pour it yourself if the server's not attentive.
19. Prices of specials. The waiter must tell you all the specials and their prices. Corollary: Apparently diners do exist in this town who absolutely don't want to know; we'll have to leave it up to them to glare at the waiter if it looks as if he's about to mention prices.
20. Silverware. You have the right to receive new silverware with each course; busboys should not ask us to keep our icky forks. You have the right to a cocktail fork when ordering oysters and a steak knife when ordering steak or when your lamb shank's undercooked.
21. Speedy service. You have the right not to be kept waiting unduly long between courses. If a course hasn't arrived 15 minutes after the last one has been cleared, you're entitled to an explanation. Poto finds that too lax: "I think 10 minutes is the most," he says.
22. Privacy. You have the right not to have your dinner conversation interrupted by a server. At the Culinary Institute, Keller teaches that after placing the food on the table, waiters should approach the table only "if the body language or eye contact from the table suggests there is some need from the table for the server." Under no circumstances should the waiter join in your dinner conversation unless expressly invited to.
23. Pleasure in dining. You shall not be asked if you're "done working on" your plate. Dining is not work; it is pleasure.
24. Not to be rushed. You have the right to keep your plate until everyone in your party is finished and have placed their silverware in the "finished" position.
25. VIP treatment. If you are not a VIP, you have the right to the same service as a VIP.