In his “First Bite” column, Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema visits the new Del Frisco’s Grille on Pennsylvania Avenue where the service is, shall we say, intense: “Never have there been fewer than four smiling faces to welcome me to Del Frisco’s Grille, where no fewer than three managers introduced themselves to me during recent meals.” My party had a similar experience when we dined there a few weeks back (it was, in fact, their first week open)—managers greeting us and a crew of waiters and busboys who swarmed our table to remove plates. Believe me, I’m not complaining, and I much prefer this over the alternative.
But can it go a bit too far? A few days ago I received a thank you note in the mail—from my waiter at Del Frisco’s. It was handwritten and even mentioned my drink of choice at the time, the Negroni. I don’t think I’ve ever received a letter from a waiter before this.
Will the correspondence continue on each visit or (as I gather) is this simply a hard sell for a new restaurant in an extremely competitive market? I am reminded of food writer Alan Richman’s observation that back in the day, you waited a few weeks before trying a new restaurant (after all the kinks are worked out). Today you go as soon as it opens, while the food and service will be at their best in anticipation of a critic’s visit.
Sure, the eagerness did remind me slightly of the waiter from Office Space—So can I get you gentlemen something more to drink? Or maybe something to nibble on? Some Pizza Shooters, Shrimp Poppers, or Extreme Fajitas? But no, it’s not like that parody from the Onion entitled “Welcome to T.G.I. Friday’s! May I Annoy The Living Shit Out of You?”
Come to think of it, I appreciate the note, which is sitting on my desk.