"Service Included,” Phoebe Damrosch’s memoir about Per Se-NYT
Kind of a funny review. It addresses some of the stuff people have been discussing the last few weeks. In preparation for the impending review by Frank Bruni, yes, they recognized him right away. Which addresses the anonymous reviewer thread.
The following rules were laid down:
rules for staff behavior read: “No cologne, scented lotions, scented soaps, aftershave or perfume are to be worn during service”; “No first names, no flirting, no hands on the chairs, no touching the guest”
addressing the wait staff comment thread.
Funny, he really doesn't talk about the book much; it's as much about the whole essence of Per Se-level dining than anything else.
Personally, I wasn't crazy about her book. I thought this should have been a long magazine story, rather than a whole book. I agreed with him comment that it's best when she's talking about the restaurant, and the insider's look at developing the restaurant is interesting. But it felt like she focused on her relationship a lot to add depth to the story and it didn't quite work.
She's a good writer, but I was anxious to get done with it - and it's not a long book.
It's getting mixed reviews on Amazon.
I've been reading it on and off for the last few weeks, and find myself jumping around for some reason. Probably because I just want to read the restaurant parts, not about her numerous boyfriends. The Per Se stories are fascinating though.
Having read the book right before my dinner at French Laundry sort of "ruined" the overall experience since I was focused on the level of detail of their service rather than just going enjoying the experience.
With that said, the service was very good but not mind-reader like service Phoebe mentioned in the book.
However, perhaps the student just got better than the teacher. I've been to Per Se a couple of times and the level of service was exceptional. I wasn't so focused on service as I was when I was at French Laundry but it did feel like the mind-reader like service both times. The service was so seamless from one "chef" to another.
Anyway, the book was an easy read.