Q: How does one respond when greeted by the maitre d' at a restaurant?

When I dine alone, it is easy. It's "Ah, Monsieur Fraser, bonsoir, good evening," and "Good evening, Martin."

But when I bring an acquaintance, a certain awkwardness creeps in. The maitre d' usually just smiles at the woman with me, says, "Bonsoir, madame," and leads us to our table.

Feeling that he and I are friendly, but not really friends, I've performed no introduction and simply followed him to the table.

Is there a better way? Should I say, "Have you a table for Miss Jones and me?", knowing that he does?

Or am I strangling on a gnat?

A: Miss Manners certainly hopes not. If you are, you must summon the maitre d' immediately.

Would you understand this ritual of greeting better if it were described as "cordial" rather than "friendly"? The maitre d' (what a silly term that is) is quite properly offering you a pleasantry, not his companionship. Those who really try to simulate friendship under these conditions ("Hi, I'm Joshua, and I'm going to be your waiter") forfeit their own dignity while intruding on your privacy.

Remembering your name is a bit of business charm that some customers consider the ultimate sign of having arrived in the professional world. The only reason to "introduce" the maitre d' to Miss Jones is to extend this to her, so that she may also be greeted by name if she dines there without you.

The non-social introduction is exactly as you have guessed -- one mentions both names in a sentence. As you know that Martin does have a table for you, you could say something like, "I have been telling Miss Jones what good care you always take of me, Martin."