We figured we couldn’t go wrong. They cook stuff right in front of you, make those little volcanoes out of the onion rings, flip shrimp onto your plate. They give the kids those paper chef-hat menus. It’s a coloring page. It’s a hat. It’s a coloring page again. What fun, right? They start bringing you food as soon as you order, then while you’re eating all that, they do the show in front of you, cooking your entree. They bring drinks with little paper umbrellas. Really, what isn’t kid friendly about this place? I mean, last year when we came here, the baby was only one and he threw several bowls on the floor, smashing them, but he won’t do that now. He’s past the bowl-smashing stage. So we thought we’d try it again.
It starts with the six-year-old screaming because he can’t figure out his chopsticks and refuses to use a fork and his chopstick paper wrapper lands on the hot grill. We smile weakly at the other couple seated at our table. The childless couple.
My four-year-old keeps shoving her crayons entirely too close to the hot grill and complaining about everything from the rice being “too steamy” and the chef being “too noisy”. The toddler keeps banging his ceramic spoon on his ceramic plate. None of them are paying the least bit of attention to the chef who is literally playing a drum solo with spatulas on the grill just inches from them and catching shrimp in his hat.
Then the toddler announces loudly: I POOPING!
Husband peeks into the back of the diaper and confirms. I take the toddler and head out to the car, pushing against the day’s 50 mile per hour winds, only to discover that there is no room to change him in the back of the mini-van, what with the stroller, a pile of muddy boots, various sporting equipment and so forth. Oh, and did I mention it’s really windy?
I grab the diaper bag, change him in the restaurant bathroom (nope, there wasn’t any poop, as it turns out), return to the table where my dinner is getting cold and the 4 year old announces, “I have to go poooootttttttyyyyyy!!!!!!” Husband carts her off to the bathroom while she screams, “NOOOOOOOOO, I want Moooommmmmmyyyyyy to take me potty!!!!”
While they’re gone, the six-year-old looks at the shrimp on his plate and proclaims that he’s changed his mind, he wants steak instead.
The toddler again announces loudly, “I POOPING!” This time I can see that he means it, what with the grunting and all.
I fling some of my steak in the direction of the six-year-old and start shoveling food into my mouth. When The Husband returns with the four-year-old, I become Scary Mom and start yelling at them all to finish eating fast. I am not going out in the wind to get another diaper out of the car, we are just going to cut our losses and get the hell out of here.
I toss aside my chopsticks in favor of a fork so I can get the rest of my Teriaki steak into my mouth faster and tip my head back to chug the rest of the wine in my glass, while simultaneously putting on my coat. The waitress and the manager start hovering, asking if they can help us, do we need anything, etc.
Again, I cart the toddler out to the van, shove all the stuff into a corner and squeeze onto the seat to do a quick change. The Husband appears with the other two kids and the four-year-old immediately starts shrieking that she left her paper chef’s hat on the table.
The noble Husband tucks his chin to his chest, braves the wind, and goes back into the restaurant, returning with a new paper chef’s hat. But it is not the one she had at the table, the one she drew pictures on and she does not want it. Furthermore, she’s now had time to realize that she also left her little paper drink umbrella at the table. Too late. The Husband is already behind the wheel, foot full force on the gas pedal, screeching out of the parking lot and headed towards home.
We drive in silence for a while, then he says, “The next time we go there we are totally getting a babysitter.”
Agreed. Actually, I’m pretty sure they have a photo of our family posted at the hostess stand with instructions: “These people will be back again in about a year. They won’t think to make a reservation, so smile sweetly and tell them we have no available tables. If they won’t leave, tell them that they can only dine here if they provide their own dishes and sit ten feet away from all the grills in a soundproof booth.”