This week, San Francisco Chronicle food critic Michael Bauer emphasized the importance of service with a smile to the overall dining experience on his blog, and I (and his other readers) cannot agree more.
I’ve recently had a series of exceptional meals. One was more remarkable than the next. Sadly, my streak was shattered by a horrible experience at a popular New York restaurant. The food was beyond mediocre, but the fatal flaw was the poor service. Our waiter looked distracted and disinterested. Bus staff hovered and tried repeatedly to pull still-full plates from our table. Our order came out, well, in the wrong order — which they then tried to re-serve to us after it clearly had been withering under heat lamps for 20 minutes.
I could go on about this dreadful dinner, but I won’t. The bottom line is that most restaurants are truly raising the bar in a very holistic manner. The food I’m eating has, typically, been getting better and better, and there’s a palpable emphasis on service. The wonderful wait staff I’ve encountered lately (this last experience not withstanding) have been more like culinary guides, shepherding my fellow diners and I through an evening of gastronomic delights, rather than mere order takers.
Have you experienced a higher level of service as of late? Or has poor service marred a meal for you? Let us know here or over at Facebook.
There’s never been a better time to be a diner in Boston. Restaurant Week Boston kicks off Sunday, August 9 and runs until August 14, and then from August 16-21, 2009. Many, but not all, restaurants will participate on Saturday, August 15 as well.
There are three ways to make the most of this unique Restaurant Week, with $15.09 two-course, light lunches, three-course lunches for $20.09, and three-course dinners for just $33.09. There are hundreds of participating restaurants, including Bouchee, Harvest, Masa, No. 9 Park, Olives, and Pigalle, among others.
Reserve tables at Boston’s finest restaurants to make the best of the rest of the summer.
Diners in the New York City area don’t just live in one of the most delicious cities in the world. They also live in one of the most affordable ones, at least where dining out is concerned — thanks to the extension of New York City Restaurant Week. Now through Labor Day, you can take advantage of special three-course, prix-fixe $24.07 lunches and $35 dinners at participating restaurants, from Aquavit and Artisanal to La Fonda Del Sol and Lupa, and scores of others.
Fill your calendar (and your belly )with discounted meals during the best weeks of summer. Reserve today.
Of course, every course was delectable, but what really made the meal beyond memorable for me were the side dishes (creamed corn and farro risotto). I don’t usually order a side unless I’m in a steakhouse — and that’s all going to change going forward. After dining at a restaurant with a carefully crafted menu, such as Perilla, I realized the side dishes are not an afterthought or filler. They’re on the menu because they’re standouts that will complement any of the main courses. You can be sure of this, in particular, when you see but a few intriguing sides listed on a menu.
Have you dined at any restaurants with to-die-for side dishes? Tell us about it here or join the discussion on Facebook.
The fine folks over at Forbes Traveler have weighed in on U.S. cities where the restaurant scene is reason alone to hop in your car or on a plane this summer. Although they admit that there are foodie-friendly cities throughout our nation, they direct culinary tourists to New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco (“America’s great foodie town”), Chicago, New Orleans, and Las Vegas.
The list is, in my opinion, a bit slim as we’ve become a nation of gourmands, and most major metropolitan areas are culinary destinations in their own right. What cities do you think should’ve made the list? Tell us by sharing a comment here or over at Facebook.