Saturday, December 10, 2005

Slickety Jim's Chat and Chew

Slickety Jim's Chat and Chew (2513 Main St., at Broadway) is a fun breakfast hang-out. Kitschy, eclectic, offbeat...I'm not even going to try writing this post without using those words that hover around this place like flies. They have a menu that's an entertaining read, and you'll just have to go eat there to see it, because it's not posted on the web (as far as I can see). The service is patient and welcoming, so you actually feel like you have time to read through those grandiose descriptions. One thing that gets reported over and over (not to mention their very appealing name implies it too) is that you are never rushed here. Having heard this, I had high expectations going in, and Slickety Jim's definitely didn't the point where our waitress was still offering refills on our coffees after we had settled up the bill. I like that, and it's the kind of thing that brings me back to a place. Oh, and get this, she asked me if I wanted my poached eggs in my benny to be cooked soft or medium. It's hard not to get impressed with a place that's ambitious enough to promise that level of poached egg precision. I chose the Fun Gus Benediction (ohhhhh, it had mushrooms! Hee hee, I just got the name), from a nice list of benny choices, and my dining companion had a breakfast dish with eggs and salsa. The food quality was high, and there were lots of enticing choices on the menu. They also have lunch dishes like salads and sandwiches. It really IS a great place to go for a good daytime chat and chew. They're open from 8 am - 5 pm weekdays, and 9 - 5 on weekends. Be warned though - apparently there are often waits, but when I went on a Tuesday morning about 11 am, we were able to get a table right away.

I can't resist one last rant: why can't every server in town be as friendly as this one? And what is it about breakfast joints that leads to consistantly friendly waitresses? Elbow Room excluded, of course (which I have not visited, and don't really want to. I can find plenty of sassy attitude for free, thank you very much. But I guess for some people this might be a novelty). I swear I often get better and more hospitable service at breakfast joints than some fine dining or mid-range restaurants, despite the fact that the servers in the fine dining/mid-range restaurants are getting considerably bigger tips. Someone once said that every man must fall in love with his breakfast waitress at some point. Remember As Good As It Gets? What we need to do is get some sort of snooty waiter/waitress detector, scan the city's restaurants with it, suck up all the dudes with 'tude, and replace them with breakfast waitresses (no offense to competant and friendly male breakfast servers, by the way. I just don't run into as many breakfast waiters). Or alternatively, every dinner server could just try to exude a little more "breakfast" to all of their customers - that little extra bit of hospitable, friendly, and on-the-ball cheeriness could do wonders for everyone involved. By the way, I tend to be friendly to everyone, a generous tipper with good service, and order full meals and drinks, but I find it offensive to think that a server would justify being nicer or colder, or giving better or worse service to any particular customer based on what they are ordering, or what they expect that customer to tip based on appearance. I mean really, were you raised by wolves? I hate to even wonder this, but has my being Chinese been part of the attitude I've's probably best that we don't even go there. Restauranteurs of Vancouver, if you have this type of server on your staff, they are doing your business more harm than you may realize. I'd give a restaurant a second chance with a slip up in the food, but never with a rude, unwelcoming server. Hmm, I'm leaning towards the 'tude detector/sucking machine. Okay, enough ranting. In other words, those folks at Slickety Jim's - they're nice people. Go if you like that sort of thing!

Incidentally there are plenty of nice dinner restaurants filled with great servers around. It's just disappointing to encounter otherwise. For example, the last mid-range or fine dining place that I've had brilliant service? Nu. In fact, I got that breakfast waitress effect, and wanted to take that waiter home with me. Outrageously enthusiastic, knowledgable, and attentive, he sounded like he sincerely loved the food there, made recommendations, and showed wonderful hospitality on a busy night. Also, there were no slip-ups despite a meal with many components (cocktails, small bites, appies, mains, desserts and coffees), and all this in only the second month of operation for the restaurant. Things weren't quite as flawless with the hostesses/reservations (as part of my party arriving before I did was enough to confuse her), but I'm sure that will all get ironed out if it hasn't already.


Julie said...

This is a great place for breakfast, and an even better place to come for a sald at lunch, because it's less busy. Nice review and nice site!

Dumpling_Girl said...

Hi Julie,
Thanks for reading and thanks for commenting! This restaurant grabbed me the first time then horribly disappointed me on a return visit. Please see my July 21st, 2006 review for an update. I don't think I'll ever return again. I even went back to discuss the bad service with the server (probably owner) of the restaurant after I had done some shopping (not normally something I would do for myself, but I felt like I needed to give her one more chance before I wrote up something on the internet), and her reaction to my displeasure was to laugh in my face, literally. I didn't mention the website, or act like a foodie prima donna. I was just a paying customer to her (and presumably a fellow human being), but I didn't even get some basic respect.