Well, it was just as i predicted, when i walked up to the hostess at Mozzeria and signed, “A table for two, please”, she responded by waving back at me so rapidly i couldn’t even see her hands, but luckily she could hear me when i begged for help…aloud.

The first thing you notice in the restaurant is how quiet it is.  Well, yes, since the great majority of the diners are using ASL rather than shouting at each other over the din, it’s the quietest restaurant in the city, at least until all those talkers and shouters discover it and ruin it.

While i was waiting for Jeff to arrive i decided i’d go ahead and use some of the ASL i’d studied, so i waved the waitress over, signed “want”, “drink”, please” and pointed to a Duvel beer on the menu.  While she was getting it, it struck me that i could have communicated the same thing by simply pointing at the beer, but no, since i went to the trouble to learn those three signs, i’m for damn sure not gonna waste them.

The hostess also served as our waitress, probably because we’d been tagged as talkers, and after Jeff and i had negotiated the dishes, i grabbed the menu from him so that i could use my pitiful collection of signs to order as appetizers the roasted Japanese eggplant Parmesan and ricotta crostini and the crispy pork with white bean, rosemary, and garlic aoili.  For pizza, the margherita and for pasta, the fava leaf parpardelle with pork sugo, tomato confit, burrata, and asparagus.  Every bite was delicious.

For dessert they brought us a dish we hadn’t ordered, but we were both so pleased with the rest of the dinner that there was no possibility of complaining that they hadn’t asked us what we wanted.  So we both speared a piece immediately.  Not sure what it was, balls of something that seemed like a seasoned nut mixture fried and floated in a thin chocolate sauce.  Good enough that we scraped the plate, but the weak point of the evening.

The only hearing staff member on duty that evening was the young hostess who’d also taken our order, but the rest were all pleasant and friendly and better yet, all understood immediately every ASL sign i used.

And speaking of ASL signs, i noticed that in a deaf restaurant everybody’s constantly looking around the room, and then i realized why.  You can eavesdrop on ASL at far greater distances than you can hear a spoken conversation.  That said, i’m guessing that etiquette in deaf society requires that if you’re not in direct conversation with someone, it’s impolite to stare at her hands.

And well, maybe it shouldn’t be called eavesdropping because the bartender was clearly keeping the entire bar spellbound with his witty ASL, and i guess everybody in the room wanted to see what he was joking about.  I sure did.

Good food, great fun.  I’ll go back for the food, and i’ll also look harder for a local introduction to ASL class.

mystery plantAnd hey, i was so entranced by the newness of my first deaf restaurant that i didn’t think to photograph a single dish, so as a substitute we’ll have to make do with this piece of Noe Street fauna.  My friend CK has taken to inserting every day a nature photo into  Some Assembly Required, his fine political/economic blog, and this has encouraged me to try emulating some of his techniques.

And OK, in my defense i’ll squeal that he actually had a class in photography.  And in his defense i’ll admit that it wouldn’t have made any difference if i’d had one since nobody can tell me anything anyhow.

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