Timeline: A Very Odd Dinner at Raw

Sometimes a restaurant experience is so bizarre — even at a favorite spot — that only a timeline can do it justice. So when a recent Thursday-night dinner at Raw in Center City started to go downhill quickly, I just had to get out my notebook.

7:20 p.m. Arrive at Raw and ask for a table for two. (Note that I never specified outdoor seating.)

7:22 p.m. Host walks us through the dining room and seats us outside. Now, I love Raw’s outdoor lounge as much as the next person, but on a particularly muggy Philly night — or any summer night for that matter — a host/hostess shouldn’t presume that you’d prefer to be seated out of doors. Sometimes you’d just like to bask in the AC.

7:30 p.m. Place order: one avocado salad, one spicy sashimi salad, rock shrimp tempura, a wasabi lobster roll, and the special white tiger roll.

7:40 p.m. Sushi arrives … before the salads or tempura. Confused — and hungry — we start eating.

7:43 p.m. Tempura and salads arrive. At this point, our table is so full of food that the runner puts the shrimp tempura on the empty table next to us. (See photo above.)

7:44 p.m. Said runner apologizes for what he attributes to a mix-up between the kitchen and sushi bar.

7:55 p.m. My less-than-perfect chopstick skills are put to the test as I attempt to reach, pick up, dip, and then eat the bite-size pieces of shrimp tempura from the table next to us.

8:01 p.m. Our waitress clears the sushi plates, never acknowledging the manner in which the food arrived.

8:09 p.m. We overhear a Raw manager asking a solo diner two tables over to move to the food-covered table in between us. “I’ve got a large party coming,” she said. The diner decides to leave (wouldn’t you?) rather than help us polish off the rest of our shrimp tempura.

8:12 p.m. I snap a quick photo of our unusual eating arrangement. These plates aren’t cleared until after we’ve signed the check.