Tag Archives: Maitre ‘D

What time are the fireworks?

28 Sep

Tonight table “4” came with a plan: agree to a 6:30 reservation, and then ride it out for five and a half hours, so that when the witching hour comes, and the glitterati arrive, they could be within gawking distance.

Smart girls? And I liked them a lot, they were eaters, drinkers, and bawdy business types. I just wish they had been honest about it and said, “Hi, what time are the fireworks, 11:30? We’ll wait.”

Instead, the girls played an embarrassingly long five hour game of Nurse-The-Miller-Light. Realizing that the only food item remaining to claim their campsite was a side of green beans, and that they had no intention of getting dessert, the girls decided to eat one bean at a time, for oh, two hours?  Every ten minutes the Maitre ‘d was coming up to me:

“The fuck is going on with The Baby Sitters Club on “4?” Pull their water. I need them out, out, out, NOW!

I had pulled their water. I had dropped their check –somewhere in hour two–, but each time I returned with the bill, seat three decided to take one for the team, and be the designated drinker, “She’ll take another beer.”

“Ladies, I’m sorry,” I said, “but the bill is closed. If you’d like another drink, please  join us in the bar.”

Well, the Designated Dessie wasn’t going down so easy. She took the bill and sat on it.  Now, usually this is a move that pisses me off but, in this case, the girls won me over –I don’t know, they reminded me of my pals from the Midwest, girls who drank beer– and I just decided not to care. Somehow, in the madness of five-hundred other people trying to get tables, the front-desk gave up on Table-4 too, and took them off the seating map, and just let enjoy the fireworks.

When the pretty people arrived, Designated Dessie had the crazed eyes of a five-year-old on Christmas morning, or perhaps a fifty-year-old at a strip high-end strip joint (Too tired for similes here). At the end of the night, my Midwestern ladies picked up the beer bottles, pulled the picnic blanket off the table, and tipped me accordingly.

“We’ll be back, what’s your name?,” asked Dessie.

I told them, but then failed to mention that if they ever wanted to come back, they’d have to do so under an alias, as Designated Dessie’s guest profile on Open-Table, now had a big red flag on it that said, “CAMPERS.”

The Devil Under Table “4”

12 Sep

Call me superstitious, but sometimes tables just can’t shake-off the bad energy, of the last pair who sat there. 

Certain  tables, on the right nights, that are just plain liabilities. In my restaurant for example, table “25”  is called “The Devil’s Lair,” some call it “The Arm Pit.” And on Satuday nights, “25”  is infamous for unruly parties (i.e. A group of projectile vomiting women, and most recently, Spaniards.)

This evening I’m in section 5, which is three deuces, a five top and an eight top.  It’s an easy section, but I’m concerned about  Table “4.”  You see, I’ve noticed that  Table “4”  is turning into one of those tables like “25,” that seems to  attract one shipwreck of New Yorker negativity after another.

Enter my first couple, Bitch Number One and her little balding-dog-of-a-man (We’ll call him Roni).  Bitch Number One had every idea, but no idea, about what she wanted to drink. She had similar ideas about what to wear. Roni had no idea, at all.

Let the scene begin:

“A cocktail, but I hate bubbles, the fizz you know. And I like sweet, but not too sweet… (She asks Roni  what she should drink in her native tongue -perhaps Russian-, he suggests something, and she, happy that he falls for this trap of confidence, belittles him for even thinking she might drink such a liqueur.) I don’t know. What do you think?”

Now, I wish I didn’t have to fall for the trap like Roni, because I know she’s not going to pick anything I mention; she will undoubtedly remember some drink she used to order in the nineties, but still, I must play, for it is my job. I must wait.

-Perhaps a vodka gimlet up?

-What’s that?

-Lime juice, vodka…

-No vodka. Ew!

Ah yes, so it begins, the long road to nothing. Time is of the essence. There are drinks to be run, orders to be taken, and I cannot forget the candle on that birthday cake, table thirty-four, seat three, the underage girl with unruly hair. And here comes the hostess , scouting out new territory. She spies my empty section, with hungry eyes to report back to the Maitre D’. It’s just a matter of time before she will navigate a school of people through the dining room, to colonize my entire section. One table at a time.

Bitch Number One must decide. Decide Bitch, decide. But no, it’s not about her decision. It’s about the charade of deciding.  She has no other profession or joy in life, but to decide; and she decides like a pro: the scalloped edge or the smooth… the turquoise or the teal… Cherry Hill or Upstate?  There must be a satisfactory number of options offered before the game can end.

And so I desperately throw suggestions in the air, until the quota is met.

-Uhm. What about a mojito without soda water?

-What is that?

-It’s mint, lime, lite rum shaken…

-No mint. I can’t tolerate mint.

-A light glass of reisling, perhaps a pinot grigio?

-Nooooo. Nooooo. A red. Something good.

-I have a beautiful pinot noir by the glass from Oregon.

-Not california?

-Not by the glass, no.

-Welllll.

Throw me a bone bitchThrow me a bone. After seven minutes of performing “What Drink Am I?,” Bitch Number One settles on a Bellini, despite her vow against “the fizz.”

And Roni, gets a Heineken Light. I pour the Heineken Light table-side for Roni. He lets me pour it; he drinks it, and then tells me he would prefer it in the bottle.

-No problem.

I bring a new Heineken, and Bitch Number One asks if she can “move the table.”

-Can I move the table?

-Uhm, like, move it over?

-Can I move the table up there (she points to the second floor seating)?

-Oh. Unfortunately, no.

I say this with enough confidence that the issue is properly dropped. And I go without incident for the whole meal, order, apps and check back, until Roni gets to the last three bits of his filet-MediumWell. He flags me over, points to three small, cuts of filet on his plate, and asks if I can add some more heat to them. Well, what am I going to say?

No, sir. It’s impossible to grill three pieces of meat this small, as they will fall through the cracks on the grill, and if I bring these three pieces of meat back to the chef, in the heat of service at 9pm, when he is trying to push out two hundred covers,  he is going to tell me to go fuck myself.

-No problem.

Fortunately chef said, “Fuck me! Fuck me!,” when he saw the three pieces of meat, and not, “Fuck you.” After the morsels were burnished brown, with a hand held blow torch from the pastry department, I ran them back to Roni, but neglected to bring him his original steak sauce.

-Where is the sauce? There is a sauce, no?

Roni found it highly amusing that I didn’t bring his sauce, it was as if I had poured wine on the table, without there being a glass to pour it into.

Hang on here. We both know the reason you are laughing at my alleged stupidity right now, is because you are uncomfortable that you just had me refire your dainty scraps of meat, and the bussers are looking at you for the fool that you are.

-Oh, I’m so sorry. Let me get that for you.

End scene.

Needless to say, there is difficulty turning this table –deliberations over desert, sent back espressos, and continued requests to “move the table–; but, I make sure that within twelve minutes of Roni finishing his meat-morsels, the only hint of this man and his Bitch is a signed check, on table “4.”

Within seconds, the table is reset and the newly seated pair –two women– situate themselves.  I approach the thirty-somethings, who appear to be  dressed for a rehearsal of Michael Jackson’s Thriller (Not the human part, the monster part.) And my deep suspicions about table “4” becoming a problem table are confirmed.

-Hello, ladies. How are you?

-Not so good, considering we waited half an hour for this shitty table.