How to annoy your waiter at Lao Shanghai

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Lao Sze Chuan owner Tony Hu may be the hardest-working man in Chinatown. With a cooking show, Downers Grove AND Connecticut branches of LSC, and now two new regional Chinese restaurants, Lao Beijing and Lao Shanghai, the peripatetic Hu is constantly bustling among the parts of his empire with an aura of frenzied efficiency.

That's consistent with an interesting feature at Lao Shanghai (review coming). Each table is equipped with a small electric device for summoning the waitstaff. I have no idea whether this is a common feature in Shanghai restaurants, but it seems like something that carries a lot of potential for abuse.

Late Saturday night we waited for a legitimate opportunity to use it, but the restaurant is fairly small (occupying the space vacated by the short-lived KS Seafood), and it seemed that anytime one of us entertained the thought of asking for something, our clairvoyant waiter was at our service before we could lift a finger.

Since we were the last table in the joint we gave the buzzer a go as we were packing up to leave. The fuzzy two-tone signal is audible all over the restaurant.

When we asked the staff how irritating it is for them, they laughed politely but didn't deny that it was.

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