Best Of

Best Service in a Restaurant

by

“You from the neighborhood?” a cheery server asks as she leads you to the back patio at Grindhaus. “Oh, go on, take the bigger table — it’s better,” she’ll add, when you move toward the smaller, slightly rickety seat out of respect to bigger parties that might walk through the door. And so the tone of your meal is set, and a never-invasive chat begun — you might eventually find yourself discussing mutual friends or the evolution of Red Hook or a particularly odd aspect of the restaurant’s build-out in that easy way that suggests a long acquaintanceship with a regular diner. Except that this is your first visit (and it will almost certainly not be your last). It’s a refreshing approach: We may be in the process of dispensing with white tablecloths in fine dining in this town, but our expectations for service are greater than ever. There are dozens of hospitality ceremonies to fuss over — from big things like presenting the check in a timely fashion or making sure a table has received what it ordered, to smaller things like serving plates with an open hand or properly decanting a bottle of wine. But at the end of the day, those prescriptive components of restaurant hospitality are meant to accomplish just one goal, and that is to convey to guests that they are cared for. The staff at Grindhaus inherently understands that care is much, much greater than a sum of mechanical parts, and so the place has dispensed with the rules entirely to focus on providing it. Your wine glass will be ever full here, you’ll always have the proper utensil for your course, and your server will deliver dishes promptly and wait to hear how you’re enjoying your food. But more importantly than any of that, you’ll leave a meal here feeling genuinely loved. And that’s really all you wanted anyway.

More: