Sometimes you lose your napkin. It happens. When you need a replacement, don’t just grab one off another table next to you. A staff member will likely see you doing it, and you’ll be ostracized. If you drop your fork, kindly call your server’s attention and ask for another. Don’t just grab a new one from the perfectly-set table next door. Nothing will draw a server’s ire more than messing with his or her finely-manicured, detailed station. Would we walk into your office and grab the stapler off your desk without asking because we need to staple something? Of course not. We’d ask permission.
When asking for wine recommendations, be specific about what style of wine you prefer. You can help your server make better suggestions if you avoid generic, subjective terms like “dry,” “smooth,” and “big” in favor of more specific descriptors like “spicy,” “earthy” or “fruit-forward.” Instead of critiquing a wine because it has “a bite”— which can have a different meaning to different people—say it has “too much acidity.” It can also be helpful to let the waiter or sommelier know what other kinds of wine you like to drink. Saying “I’ve been really into Spanish whites lately,” for example, can help the staff better understand your palate. If you can articulate your preferences in wine more clearly, your server will have a much easier time finding something that suits your taste.