Everyone at the restaurant is excited because Gourmet magazine is doing some feature on our place and apparently they will be reviewing us soon. Therefore, every table that comes in, I'm wondering if it's it. I know I complain a lot about my second job and the bad <=15% tippers and all, but I really do like the restaurant where I work, like the owners, like the food. It's a small family owned restaurant with just a small staff; the chef is brilliant and the place is full of characters (like Dmitrov, who writes his autobiography for new servers, and Leroy, who is the patron saint of Fell's Point). It's also the type of place where you can really talk to your tables and get to know them, which is probably what I find most interesting. I think my affinity for the place I work shows in my service; I'm an excellent waiter, even if I do say so myself. I'm considered one of the three strong servers we have at the restaurant, which admittedly only has about nine. I'm not the best employee in the world - I come five or ten minutes late to my shifts sometimes, my apron is sometimes dirty - but I'm a damn good server.
Last night, there was a table I was pretty sure was the reviewers. They were a slightly dorky 40-ish couple who said they were from Toronto, visiting for the weekend. I wasn't thinking of them being the reviewers for the first half of their meal, but then I looked over and saw the woman taking notes. Shit, I thought, I wonder if it might be them. I had a good vibe with them already, so I wasn't worried about that. I was talking up Fell's Point a bit, telling them that if they like history, it's the best place to be in Baltimore. I pointed in the direction of the bar where Billie Holiday used to sing, pointed in the direction of Frederick Douglass's house (and the woman didn't know who he is, which is the perfect time to slip in that I'm a teacher and that he was an American slave who wrote a couple of books and we teach his books in our schools), and told them about a few of the former brothels and ghost sightings in the area. It was going well, and then the subject came on to weather. They knew I was from Michigan, and since they said they were from Canada, we were comparing the weather, how the winters are less severe here. Then, the guy said somethign that I totally could not hear; the music was too loud and I asked him to repeat it once and still couldn't hear. So I just grinned and nodded. Then I told them that my mother had told me it was 97 in Michigan today, and since it was just 94 in Baltimore, that shows that the summers aren't that different.
Well, my comment was apparently totally off-base from what he had just said, and both at the table cracked up and said, "You didn't hear me, did you?" and I had to admit I didn't. They then said never mind and I was embarrassed. I was also a little worried because we had a table of four people around the age of 25 sitting right next to them, and they were very, very loud, to the point where another table of mine asked to move to a different section.
I later figured out that it probably wasn't the reviewers, because I did a really nice dessert presentation and said we were known for our desserts, and they didn't get one. I figure if someone is reviewing the place, they're going to get all the courses. Plus, they really were from Canada, as their credit card showed. And I think she was taking notes because she was writing down the name of the beer; she must have been a notetaker in general, because she asked me Frederick Douglass's name and the title of his books before she left, and wrote it down.
Even if it was, I think they liked me, as evidenced by their 25% tip and the thanks for excellent service comment in the guestbook.
I had a lot of great tables last night. Even though a couple of them stiffed me, they were all nice talking to, and many remembered my name, which I think is a good sign.
I'm always worried, because if you go to the aol city guide page for our restaurant, next to all the accolades and "Best Brunch" awards, there's one review from Feb of 2004 that reads, I am not new to this restaurant, but I had a new experience there this weekend. Food was delicious! However, there were many negative aspects to my experience. Called for reservations and asked for a table for 2 near the live music. We sat upstairs...didn't even hear the music over the loud conversation of the large 12 top behind us. Everytime the waiter walked up the steps, the floor shook, moving the beverages across the table. The waiter was sweating to the point, that we were wondering if the soup had a "special addition"...if you know what I mean. The service was horrible. We waited 20 minutes just for our first drink and the wine glass left much to be desired...come on...you could have put a little more in the glass....tryin' to make a buck are ya?? When the meals came, no one checked back with us to see if we needed anything..."uh, how 'bout the beer I ordered with my appetizer about 20 minutes ago???" I am sorry, if I am paying good money for a meal out with my special someone(which we do often), I want attention, timeliness and my glass full at all times. I don't think we will be back very soon. -oh and, could you purchase your silverware somewhere other than the dollar store. Sorry, not a pick for me anytime soon. I hope that I hear it has changed, because the cuisine was wonderful...but all the negative things outway the good meal. I give 1 star for the food....
Now, most of that - the not checking back, the long wait for drinks - doesn't sound like me. But the fact that they said "waiter" instead of "waitress" doesn't leave many choices. And I do sweat when I work. There were a couple other male possibilities at that time, and I'm hoping it's them, but it's a longstanding joke as to who the sweaty server might have been. Last night, the owner messed with me by handing me a napkin to wipe my brow before I went and talked to the possible review table.
Geez, sorry if I work hard and sweat a bit.
Overall, though, it was a good night. I made around $100, even though it was real slow for a Saturday night. Zack is getting married in a week so he was primed and ready to do some drinking after our shift ended at one o'clock. I didn't really want to, but I went to the bar down the street where the Polish girl bartends, and had a Coor's Light. Afterwards, he and this other guy invited me back to watch Anchorman and "read children's literature," which is the code work for getting baked. I did not, although I was tempted. Then I remembered that I'm a teacher and 27 years old. We'll see if I remember tonight, when I also work with him.
Today is the day of my long run and I'm just stalling at the moment. I better get on that.
Transaction Retrospection: The Jackson-Hudson Trade - It's not often that you see a well-regarded starting pitcher (or any well-regarded player, for that matter) appear on eight different teams prior to his 30th...
1 hour ago