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October 09, 2005



This past friday a man called to make a reservation and to ask how we do things. He explained it was his wife's birthday and wanted to make it special. He wanted to know if there was a special table or something like that. I explained we take reservations for large parties only and told him when the major rush was and how to avoid a wait. I told him all our tables and guests were special and he would be treated as such. I told him I would be doing the seating this weekend and if he introduced himself I could be sure to seat him at a table off the beaten track. He never did introduce himself. They did come during the "rush" and were seated at a table that is harder to seat, because it isn't touching a window (but it is a very good spot). I only know that he came because he left a note on the comment card thanking us for making it a special and memorable evening. Had he told me the age his wife was turning and alerted me to their arrival I would have seen if Chef could make sugar numbers for her dessert. All this for an eighth of the price at the Ritz. why am I saying this? Because I think we treat every "regular" customer like they are special and at the Ritz the "special occasion" customer was just regular.


Congratulations on your major press! Next time, try a different four star place, would you? ;-)


We will Pim, we will. The Ritz was an almost spur of the moment thing. By the time we've driven down to SF driving another few hours for dinner is a little daunting. But I swear....


I'm sure that reservationists is pre-programmed to hear only the words birthday and anniversary when he asks the question about special events. You could say yeah the biopsy on that thing they took out came back negative, and it's not going to register.

On wine, I think you raise a good point. We had Siegel's food about 3 years back at Masa's and it was really good, but not good enough for me to still remember any dish but one --and that was a really fatty slice of Toro paired with a wonderful old Riesling. Without the memory of the wine, I doubt I would remember it.

RE the wine list -- I think it's proper to give you one. Especially if you're known to be a chef you might want to see what they have.

Dr. Biggles

Hmmm, Ritz. I don't think I've eaten any place that sounded that fancy. And speaking of fancy, I'm going to smoke a goat leg for dinner.



I vote for "Zagat-rated Hustling Hottie" on the back and the name of your restaurant on the front. Or vice-versa. I'm also not a 4-star kind of guy, but I would second Pim's recommendation.


Dr. Biggles - I haven't met you yet but I already like you. You crack me up.

Dr. Biggles

Hey JSP,

I smoked a Goat Leg for dinner. I say, MORE GOAT FOR EVERYONE !!!



The wine list was a minor quibble and indeed we nearly always look at them to see what other places are offering. The point is though if they had had the information that we were restaurateurs it could have been handled differently by acknowledging that we don't drink but as professionals might want to enjoy the wine list anyway. Like I said a minor quibble, the wine-based gelees on our food were the real mis-step.

You're probably right about the reservationists but then why does the place enjoy such a distinguished service reputation?


Where did you find a paper big enough for a whole goat leg?

Dr. Biggles


Naw, papers don't work well with goat, too squishy. It's far easier to use a b0ng and small torch.
Jeez, I wonder if I could use the b0ng water for a marinade?



I agree with you that a higher standard is required of a place that touts its superior service. The alcohol-based gelees were definitely out of bounds.
I've been meaning to ask you to e-mail me the name of your restaurant so that I can drive up for dinner, and now that you're in Zagat, I *definitely* have to come (smile)! E-mail me at: iheartnovato (at) gmail.com


Wow. I'm SO sorry to hear that.

Of our 18 courses, I think there are 4 or 5 that I will always clearly remember; but the wine pairings certainly helped in at least two of those cases.

I'm glad to hear you didn't let it ruin your natural "buzz"--I expect nothing less of you!

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