I feel like I have hit the big times. I was actually invited to a private “soft opening” of a restaurant. Okay, I was the “plus one” but still I was “requested”!
The restaurant is a Spanish tapis bar. We walk in and the air has a feel of electricity in it. The vibe is different than most restaurants in our town. The energy level is high. You can feel the anticipation of the waitstaff. They are almost on “high alert”. The owner greets and welcomes us. Later I observe that he is almost “pacing”. The customers are a blend of young and hip, foodies, food critics, chefs and business people. As I look around, they feel comfortable, many already deep in conversation and lost in their own world. The tables have food and wine and the smells are calling me.
We are seated and immediately again welcomed by waitstaff that appear to have been working here for ages. There are no obvious nerves or awkward moments. She explains how the evening will progress. The owners are obviously “up” on new trends because the menu has a unique design and this becomes the first conversation piece. All questions regarding food choices are answered quickly and clearly demonstrating a very good understanding of the food. Because this is a “small plates” restaurant, we decide to each choose one item from the categories available requesting they be served at the same time. We will all share giving us an opportunity to taste a lot of items. The food is quickly served. The evening is spent dissecting what is in each dish. Everyone has their favorite. Then dessert is chosen. Oh my! Very simple but with a unique twist, fried quina on top. Who would have thought of that! This communicates that there is a true “chef” using his creative ideas and testing our palates. So refreshing!
The evening flew by! It has been a long time since I have had a meal that was the topic of the conversation of the evening. In between, there were glimpses of “whose who” with quick explanation to those of us not “in the know”. Sips of wine, much laughter, and great food. A perfect evening!
As much as I am enjoying being in the food world, I know opening and running a restaurant is not going to be something I do or even want to do. I think I have an idea of the amount of work required and it is enormous. I have the utmost respect for all people in the restaurant business. However,I will mark having a restaurant off my list!