At the restaurant, everyone is happy to see Oblonsky. Oblonsky orders an elaborate meal, speaking in Russian rather than French. Though Levin eats the meal, he would have been more comfortable with plain bread and cheese. Levin wants Oblonsky’s advice about Kitty, but doesn’t want to soil his relationship by talking about it with so many strangers chattering around him; instead, he talks about the ills of urbane society.
French is trendy in Russian society, but Oblonsky paradoxically asserts his dominance over the waiter by refusing to respond in French. Tolstoy slips into Levin’s point of view to show his perspective on the meal: Levin is awkward both with the fancy feast and with the crowded atmosphere.