Unexpectedly good service
This morning I had a simple breakfast at the St. Charles Tavern. The waitress offered me ketchup or hot sauce for the potatoes. When she came back with the ketchup bottle she realized it was pretty darn cold and asked if I would prefer packets of ketchup instead. It may not sound like much, but I appreciated her thoughtfulness immensely. Sometimes it's the simplest details that define good service. This young lady made my day. I'd love to hear other similar experiences.
It's the unexpectedly bad service that sticks in our minds and what we usually comment on. When you receive good service in a fine dining restaurant you also expect that so it is not exceptional.
I've been doing a lot of traveling and dining out and because of location or timing I've been eating in chains or local mom n pops. The service staff has been high school or college and has ranged from barely satisfactory to poor. (However, the absolute worst service I have had in years was at a Ruth Chris in St. Louis).
So I can't add to your very nice occurance and hope that some others can brighten up the service scene.
We did eat at a very well regarded restaurant in a very small southern resort town and the day's special flyer advised of a "sweat and sour" sauce that went with a dish.
I'll give you one. It wasn't necessarily unexpected but it was definitely above and beyond. Last time we were in NOLA we had a terrible couple of nights at our hotel (The Frenchman) that ended with me tearing the owner a new one at 4am over a series of unfortunate altercations. In the morning we abandoned that hell hole and booked into the Monteleone, having to wait hours before we could fully check in (not their fault but still, we were tired). The damage was done: Our mood was shot and our energy was sapped. That evening we retreated to an empty backroom at Napoleon House for some muffelattas and cocktails. The food was helping, but what really lifted our spirits was that the waiter, a gruff-voiced, quick-witted guy, sensed our foul moods and took it upon himself to subtly turn them around. He kept stopping by and sitting down, cracking jokes, telling stories, and just generally commiserating. He was hilarious and completely saved the evening for us. He knew just how much to get involved without overdoing it. Definitely won't ever forget that.
Also, one tiny detail at Mr. B's once was that my wife went to the restroom after we ordered. I then saw our waiter just sort of milling around the pass, attentively watching the stairs down to the restroom. When she returned he magically appeared with our starters. He didn't say anything but I could tell that he wanted to make sure the timing was perfect and that the food wasn't sitting on the table getting cold while she was gone. It was like he made it his mission to give us the best experience possible.
The little things, man. The little things. As someone on this board once said, "in the world there has to be a best place for dining. It's New Orleans."
Napoleon House Bar & Cafe
500 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130