It's all about WHERE you eat
I read this fun (and well written :) post about service and Zingerman's Guide to Great Service.
I'm not sure where Brooke has been eating other than Zingerman's, which I'll have to try next time I'm in LA, (you hear that Kim? Time for a Road trip), but the restaurants we eat at and the hotels we stay at have great, stellar, elegant service: And as you can see by my list, great food as well. Did I mention ambiance? Yup. Ambiance by the bucket full.
Now Brooke is a food writer. She also writes about Alice Waters. The last time we ate at Chez Panisse, I was not that impressed. Food was good, though. Time to go back and give it another try. I've eaten there since they first opened. Same with French Laundry. Shame I was having too much fun in High Tech to become a food writer.
The French Laundry (gold standard)
Per Se (platinum standard)
Tru Restaurant (they sweep here. Terrific.)
Perilla (seamless, homey)
Jardiniere (stylish and elegant)
Boulevard (homey and fast)
Le Bernardin (perfect!)
Elizabeth-Daniel (defunct, sadly, but they sweep.)
Rubicon (very elegant)
March (pretty much now defunct)
WD-50 (above and beyond)
DA|BA (super fun and very nice, above and beyond)
Le Ciel (Vienna) (This was beautiful and old world.)
Spago Palo Alto (now defunct but very personal service. Luke, we miss you. We'll see you in Atlantic City.)
Algonquin (The history and elegance. I love it.)
Four Seasons just about anywhere
Grand Hotel Wien (Pure elegance.)
Simpson House (Santa Barbara) (Perfect.)
Greenville Arms 1889 Inn (homey and country, and if you are lucky enough to eat there, terrific and I hear the chocolatier there is fabulous.)
L'Orangerie (Elegant, beautiful and now defunct.)
Just to name a few off the top of my head.
Here's a story about service at Le Bernadine. I went with Kim, my wife, Joyce, my mom, and a friend, Biffy, aka Lud, aka, Ed. The service was exceptional. Every time I stood up, a waiter was there to assist with my chair and every time I sat down, a waiter was there to assist with the chair. It was like magic. The waiters were invisible but always there. Folding napkins, delivering beautiful food, whatever you needed. It was so magical I could not believe it. I said jokingly, "I bet that if I just started to sit in the middle of the room, I'd have a chair underneath me."
Biffy, to paraphrase, said, "Bet." So, in my tux, I got up, chair whisked away, walked over to an area between tables and sat down, and voilà, chair was whisked underneath me. Beautiful. And true. Perfect service.
Tru has stools for the purses. Plus they sweep. Sweeping is where all the plates are delivered at the same time by a bevy of waiters.
French Laundry and Per Se has very knowledgeable and terrific service. They whipped up service on the spot for birthdays.
And I just want to make a note of Elizabeth-Daniel's Sweet Bread Raviolo with black truffle foam. Kim's favorite dish ever. She LOVED it. If anyone knows where to go to get it again, please email me. Thanks.
The reason I say Homey and Fast for Boulevard was because Kim and I used to eat there before going to the opera. So, we would only have time for an appetizer and a main course. Then the Boulevard shuttle would take us to the San Francisco opera. After the opera, it would take us back to Boulevard where I would eat the largest and most perfect crème brûlé ever made by man. I have a great, sad story about going to the opera and the Boulevard shuttle. However, it isn't about food. It's more directly about life and death, so I'll skip it here.
I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank WD-50 for sending me my hat. I left it there. It's still at DA|BA. I'll get in when I eat there again. And a thanks Momofuku for trying. I'd also like to thank one of the assistant pastry chefs and the manager at Tru, for suggesting Le Sanctuaire. So many stories, so little time to blog.
The list goes on and on. I would have put Park Avenue Café on this list but I recently had a bad experience there.
By the way, L'Orangerie in LA (West Hollywood) was great. Fantastic service and great food. Elegant. Too bad it is closed. I can't think of too many great restaurants in LA or West Hollywood for that matter, though I do like Shutters a Santa Monica Hotel and they have Krug. Yum. I like the place on the Sunset Boulevard (Strip) that has the mechanical bull. Food is so-so, service is questionable but, ah, the memories. :-) Saddle Ranch Chop House. The steaks were not that good. But a fun place. So, thanks Brooke, for reviewing a LA restaurants on your blog.
For more of my reviews, click on this link. For even more restaurant reviews, please go to Innsane. I originally published many reviews there before I started Life by Chocolate.
Labels: restaurant review