Ask Ann: Loud Talkers & Father’s Day Recs

Got a dining question? Our dining critic answers it.

Read all of our Ask Ann questions.

Ask Ann
Illustration by Koren Shadmi

Q: Is it just me, or has loud talking in restaurants hit epidemic proportions recently? I find it very difficult to enjoy myself when another table is drowning out my dinner conversation. What’s a diner with sensitive ears to do?

A: I hear you (sorry, I couldn’t resist). Restaurants are noisy places for lots of reasons – whether it’s the hard-surface interior “aesthetic” or the dynamics of the seating arrangement. But all too often the culprit is a group of loudmouths. I have witnessed f-bomb-dropping arguments, solo diners practically yelling into their cell phones, and raucous occasions where the guests grow more and more boisterous with each drained bottle of wine. How do you salvage this meal?

My first resort, if I’m not ready to forgo my table, is to approach the offending party with candor but no rancor and say, “I can see you’re having a great time, but I bet you’d be surprised how much diners around you can hear. The decibel level is a little too high for us. Could you please pull it back? We’d really appreciate it.” If that doesn’t work, I’d go to the management and see if you can be moved to a quieter table, or if the staff would talk to them. If you’re bothered, likely diners at other tables are too, and appreciate somebody taking the initiative.

Q: With Father’s Day coming up (June 18), I want to take Dad out for a nice meal. Where should we go?

A: Brunch is synonymous with Mother’s Day, but there’s no question it’s also a perfect meal for feting dads. And spots like Harbor House, Cafe at the Plaza, Wolf Peach and Muskego’s Bass Bay Brewhouse add the element of standout patio ambiance to their stellar brunch menus. Alfresco season is so ephemeral, I suggest embracing it when and where you can!

If your dad is a steak guy, try Mason Street Grill or Palmer’s Steakhouse in Hartland. Want to really treat him? Pop for Lake Park Bistro. Lively atmosphere? Maxie’s and its N’Awlins cuisine. You have kids in tow? The SafeHouse, or Highland House in Mequon. ◆

Have a dining question? Ask Ann!

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‘Ask Ann’ appears in the June 2017 (City Guide) issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

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Ann Christenson has covered dining for Milwaukee Magazine since 1997. She was raised on a diet of casseroles that started with a pound of ground beef and a can of Campbell's soup. Feel free to share any casserole recipes with her.