?

Log in

No account? Create an account
entries friends calendar profile Previous Previous Next Next
Cafe Artscience adventure - Qualified Perceptions
firstfrost
firstfrost
Cafe Artscience adventure
One of my self-appointed jobs is to go to the new restaurants and then drag other people to them later. So I went to Cafe Artscience this evening after work - I'll admit it was in the hopes of getting to try some Mad Science Food, but instead I got tasty food and some of the awesomest service ever. So I'll talk about that instead, but it gets kind of convoluted.

First, I got seated at an Interesting Table. I had made a reservation for one person, and I kind of imagine that they thought "Hey, this would be a really cute single table, put here on the curve of the banquette." I've never actually had a one-person table before, and in theory, yup, definitely cute. In practice... sitting on the inside of a U curve is more comfy than sitting on the outside of one, and... I felt vaguely like I was not cool enough for the table. You know how some restaurants have the high table in the window, to attract passer-by? I think they probably want to put Fabulous Customers in those tables. ilhander would be perfect to sit at that sort of table. He would probably have been perfect at this table too. Anyway, it wasn't *un*-comfortable. It was just vaguely awkward, in a "hmm, am I supposed to be sitting slantways to the table? Or straight on? Which direction am I supposed to be facing? I think I'm doing this table wrong...".

Shortly after they poured the water, the waiter (Rich) came up and said, could I do them a great favor and possibly let them move me to this other table over there? I said oh, of course, and got moved; in the process it became clear that I was being moved to a "more comfortable" table. And it was a more comfortable table - a little two person table, with a normal U-shaped comfy chair.

It took me a while after being moved to realize exactly what had happened, and then I was beyond impressed. First, I don't think I was conveying "I hate this table" or anything like that. I wasn't *thinking* "I hate this table." It had really only impinged on my awareness about as much as "hm, I feel like I'm not doing this right." I certainly wouldn't have complained or asked to be moved. I wouldn't ask to be moved unless perhaps the table is on fire and sinking into the swamp. But they noticed more clearly than I did that I wasn't quite comfortable - and then, asking me to do them a favor and move was masterful. If Rich had asked "Would you like us to move you to a more comfortable table?" I would have said "oh, no, I'm fine". So he didn't ask that. Instead, he asked *me* to do *them* a favor, and it got me moved to a place that I was clearly happier. It was possibly one of the single most impressive fast-social-manipulation I've ever had used on me, and I am in awe. (I told him that later, and he did the little thing with his fingers and said "these are not the droids you're looking for." Yes, just like that.)

Right. So that was the first thing. Then, I was in Travis's section, and while he might not have been a Jedi master (or maybe he was, it just didn't come up), that generated its own set of anecdotes to talk about.

I said before that the food was tasty; I should digress here into what I ordered. (Smallish plates)

* Beef Carpaccio, Canadian Lobster, XO Sauce, Burgundy Truffle
* Artichoke soup with focaccia crouton and some sort of hard sharp cheese and a surprising piece of anchovy. (The cheese was a very nice contrast/complement with the soup.)
* Potato-crusted tautog with lardo and brown butter celeriac
* Oh, also an Eon-ish drink with One Large Ice Cube.

The carpaccio came out first, and Travis came by and said, would it be all right if he brought me a splash of red wine to go with the carpaccio? I said (of course!) sure, and he did, and it really turned the carpaccio (or more accurately, the dabs of ?XO Sauce? up to eleven. I think that was one of the best "this drink makes this food taste better" combinations I've ever had. After that, I told Travis that I would defer to his judgement in All Things, and after the dinner part was over, he picked a coffee (cortado!), and a "little spoon" of deconstructed foamed PB&J, and then one of those many-things-on-a-long plate desserts that I think showed up on the check as "birthday" cake and was fascinatingly delicious, especially with the spicy sweet popcorn.

Oh, right, also, when I was finishing up the soup, and scraping the tag ends out with my spoon, he wandered by and used Expressive Gestures to indicate the bread and the soup bowl, as if to say that if I used the bread on the last of the soup, he wouldn't tell.

Anyway. I like being a regular at restaurants, and bonding with the waitstaff. This was a fascinating example of feeling bonded with and charmed on a first visit - not because I'm so adorable and I assume waiters must love me - but because these waiters were just so perfectly charismatic. I would suspect them of being secretly actors in disguise, if this were somewhere else like Boston or LA. (It felt kind of like meeting M for the first time, which only shumashi/mjperson/harrock will understand).

7 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
twe From: twe Date: November 14th, 2014 02:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Okay, that all sounds wonderful!
(Deleted comment)
merastra From: merastra Date: November 14th, 2014 04:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
*Wow*. Yes, that is amazing service. I *love* that anecdote. :) Apparently jedi masters go to work at this restaurant during the off season.

>> It was possibly one of the single most impressive fast-social-manipulation I've ever had used on me, and I am in awe.
It is definitely the most impressive fast-social-manipulation I have ever even heard of, much less had experienced on me. Actually, I think I would not even have noticed that level. If they are enough levels above, you don't even notice.

>>would it be all right if he brought me a splash of red wine to go with the carpaccio? I said (of course!) sure, and he did, and it really turned the carpaccio (or more accurately, the dabs of ?XO Sauce? up to eleven. I think that was one of the best "this drink makes this food taste better" combinations I've ever had
That's really cool. That may even count as some food science. I normally don't do wine but given this story, I may have to rethink that. XO sauce by the way is an asian "yummy" sauce, a bit spicy and made w/ seafood. You can just buy it in the store. I am guessing at a place like this they may make it from scratch, using their mental jedi powers alone.

>> After that, I told Travis that I would defer to his judgement in All Things
Good move. :-)
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: November 14th, 2014 09:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
The XO sauce did not look like Google Images suggests the standard sauce looks like - it was a mushroom-colored puree. Actually, now I'm wondering if the blobs were burgundy-truffle puree, and the XO sauce was the thing I was thinking of as pickly? I am not sure at this point. :)
kirisutogomen From: kirisutogomen Date: November 18th, 2014 02:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
If the XO sauce was actually truffle and the truffles were XO sauce, then the splash of red wine turned the burgundy-truffle purée up to eleven? I don't suppose the red wine that you splashed was just more of the same burgundy that was already in the truffles?
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: November 18th, 2014 02:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Possibly? :)
kelkyag From: kelkyag Date: November 14th, 2014 06:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
That sounds delightful!
7 comments or Leave a comment