The full party rule

Setting: A Tuesday night in a half-full restaurant (recently opened) in small town Connecticut:

“Table for three, please”

“Sure thing, and…are you all here?”

“Two of us are here; my father is on his way.”

“I’m so sorry! We can’t seat you until your full party is here! Check back with me when he arrives. Thanks!”

The hostess promptly spun on her heels and glided away. Pardon my jaw dropping. What was that? You’re a spankin’ new joint in a small town and you can’t seat us at one of these eight empty tables until the man paying the bill arrives? As if my mother and I would sit down, dirty our water glasses and then scurry out the door…If I hadn’t heard the brussel sprouts were to die for I would never have considered staying!

Recently, more than ever, I have noticed this protocol of making small groups wait for their entire party. I understand if it’s a table of 10 and only  three people have arrived – but in this circumstance, mom and I were just left frustrated and standing in the second line at the over-crowded bar. Although I will admittedly go back, it is only because the food is undeniably fantastic and the location is convenient…which goes to show, the perfect blend of great food, unique ambience and thoughtful service is hard to come by!

Whatever food trends and new openings come and go, the one thing that keeps guests coming back is the delivery of genuine hospitality.

 

“Hospitality exists when you believe the other person is on your side”

- Danny Meyer

 

 

Juicy Barbera

Looking back on my year in Italy, one thing I find myself craving time and time again is a luscious glass of Barbera. Barbera is one of the three main grape varietals from the Piedmont region of Northern Italy, and can generally be enjoyed fairly young, unlike its Nebbiolo counterparts. With fairly high acidity and lower tannins, Barbera is vivid, but also light-bodied – a wine for which I find no comparison.

When I shared a bottle of Rivetto Barbera Loirano Soprano with my family at Christmas dinner this year, I was excited to garner their feedback on the wine. We concluded together that the wine has a pleasant nose reminiscent of prune and currants, which matched perfectly with the deep purple color in the glass. To my surprise, my family considered the burst of acid to be a “bite to the tongue, almost spicy,” yet perfectly round at the end and superb with the filet and creamy pasta with which we had paired it. While this wine is definitely acceptable for aging, it is equally enjoyable young.

For more on Barbera, please read my piece on winepassitaly.com: http://www.winepassitaly.it/index.php/en/learn/piedmont-wines-and-grapes/item/846-mini-guide-barbera-wines