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Hostess Confidential: Why I Love Old Jewish Men

Restaurant Week is war. We stockpile our kitchens. We deploy troops of food runners, busboys, and cooks. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong during Restaurant Week. We prepare ourselves for a high number of casualties. Restaurant Week is … Read More

By / February 1, 2008

Restaurant Week is war. We stockpile our kitchens. We deploy troops of food runners, busboys, and cooks. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong during Restaurant Week. We prepare ourselves for a high number of casualties. Restaurant Week is an event. Upscale restaurants across New York City charge twenty-four dollars for three-course meals for two weeks. Which means four hundred customers a day. Which means a lot of staff working a lot of hours. Service is slow, the kitchen is backed up, people quit right and left, and everyone is left feeling exhausted, angry, and emotionally fucked with. It is a dark time. And so, during the hysteria of restaurant week, I really appreciate the customers who aren’t high maintenance, who don’t send their food back to the kitchen, and who do not yell at the host staff if they have to wait five minutes. Which is why Mr.Klausman is my favorite customer. As if his Jew-fro was not reason enough to love him, he is also the most considerate man I have ever met. He always comes down to the restaurant and makes his reservation in person. He makes sure that he comes at a slow time. He patiently waits for us to seat and greet people before him. He introduces himself to the hosts and shakes their hand. He says please, thank you, and excuse me. Last Monday, a very befuddled Mr.Klausman came into my restaurant and said “Excuse me, miss, I think I may have a problem.” “How can I help you?” I asked, which was the first time that day I meant the question. “My reservation is for next Tuesday, and right now it’s for three people but it may be for six people, but I don’t want to make the reservation for six because I don’t want you to reserve a table that you may need later.” “It’s not a problem—“ I start. “No, but then I’ll feel guilty, and then we’ll have to switch tables, or you’ll have to break down the table you reserved for us, and then we’ll have to wait around, and we’ll be in the way.” “Mr. Klausman, it’s fine–“ “No, it’s a huge inconvenience. It’s Restaurant Week and you have a lot of reservations and I don’t want to take up space in your book if I’m not going to use it, so please, just keep our reservation for four.” “How about this? How about I make the reservation for four, and I write a note that says you may be six, and just come in a day before your reservation and let us know if there are any changes.” “That sounds great. Take care, I’ll see you next Tuesday.” Mr.Klausman smiles at me and waves goodbye. I wave goodbye to Mr. Klausman. I start typing the reservation note: May go up to 6 ppl. VIP, Regular. Very nice man. Quiet table in the back. Please send out extras. Ok’d by Isabelle. No good deed goes unpunished. To be continued!

Hostess Confidential is Jewcy's ongoing column about the dirty secrets of a swanky Manhattan restaurant. In the past it's tackled antisemitism, lecherous customers, and why you should never drink with bartenders.

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