Memorable Meals III
Sometimes, it is the waiter that makes a meal memorable.
My wife and I recently took her parents out to Carver's Steakhouse in Saskatoon to celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary. What can I say? It's a steakhouse. You can count on getting a good piece of beef cooked any number of ways with some options for sides, salads and desserts. For variety, there are some fish, lobster and other dishes. Nothing too elaborate, but good tasty food.
I'll tell you what I can say.
This time, it was the waiter that made the meal. Tony was a delight. He was immediately warm and friendly, and willing to be with his customers rather than aloof. Pat and I are always looking for waiters who are "willing to play," meaning that they build a relationship with the clients and don't take themselves, or the waiter/customer relationship, too seriously. Tony was willing to play!
While making table-side Caesar Salad, one of those steakhouse staples, he told us that he never makes it at home for his wife. He says she makes a better salad than he does. Meanwhile, he still made sure there was enough garlic and Parmesan for our likes and asked if we preferred to have anchovies in the dressing. When it came time to put the romaine into the bowl, he excused himself for a moment and came back with a bit more lettuce. He didn't think what was set out would be enough.
He adopted names for each of us during the course of the meal, at one point leaning over to "The Lady" (Pat) to tell her that "Mom's" side of vegetables would be out immediately. For some reason, I was "Super."
Tony was there to take care of us when needed, and away when not. At the end of the meal, none of us felt like dessert but moments after serving coffee Tony returned with a small dish of gelato with a caramelized sugar garnish and a candle. After all, you can't celebrate 55 years without something for dessert!
Now, some of you may cynically say that Tony was playing to his audience to get a bigger tip, and that's all right with me. I say that when we go out to eat, we want an experience, which includes being cared for and, at least to some extent, entertained. Thank you, Tony, for helping to make my in-laws' anniversary a Memorable Meal.
And congratulations again, Ruth and Norm.