Finally...I asked for my favorite waiter and got him....
Today at lunch I asked to be seated in a particular waiter's section, and unlike previous instances where I had made this request (at other restaurants) they didn't say "he's not working today" or "his section is full". (Due to my lack of success I had begun to think that asking for a particular server worked in theory but not in practice).
So today they seated me in his section as per my request and when he came he was delighted and thanked me for asking for him.
Lunch of course went perfectly this time as I figured it would. This waiter had of course waited on me a couple of times in the past and the experience was enjoyable each time. That's why I asked for him.
What made me decide to try again and ask for a particular waiter was that lunch last week was a nightmare of poorly timed food delivery (see one of my other posts) and I didn't want to take a chance again. So I thought why not try making a special request again?
So I guess sometimes it really does work.
In my previous thread I didn't say I didn't like being recognzed per se, I said I would feel funny being recognized if I weren't dining alone. This came up because I was having lunch with a former coworker and the waiter we got was one I had had a few times before and I thought I would feel funny if the waiter acknowledged that he remembered me because my dining companion would think I must eat there too much or something.
But in any case, I think I've gotten over that. I don't think I'd really care anymore if I were "recognized" when dining with a companion. Who knows... they might even be impressed.
On the other hand...today I went back there for lunch again.
The good news: as soon as I walked up to the front desk the hostess recognized me and also remembered (without me telling her) who my favorite waiter is. (I have to admit I'm impressed that she remembered this, since this is a chain restaurant, not one that you would call a "fine dining" establishment).
The bad news: before I could even ask to be seated in "Steve's" section, she said "Steve's not working today". Oh well. But the substitute server was still pretty good.