The Philosopher king – and other NYC waiters

by Julie Frayn on July 14, 2013 in  Adventures in New York City

Adventures in New York – part five

At virtually every place we stopped to eat in New York City, we were impressed by the wait staff. Here at home, you get a waiter. Just one. Sometimes another person will fill your water glass, but not often. In New York City, we were served by a team of waiters. Whether it was at the renowned and upscale Butter, or a down-to-earth little café in the Village with wicked home fries and fresh squeezed orange juice, we were well taken care of.

Beer and Butter and overdone Halibut

Our first waiter was Javier at Butter. He introduced us to more than one new beer – since our goal this trip was to not eat anywhere we could at home, and not drink any beer we’d ever had before. He was patient with our questions, and amused as we snapped pics of each dish (for baby boy at home. All he asked us to bring him was pictures of the food). Baby girl loved her pork dish, but sadly my halibut was dry and overdone, the whole dish very disappointing. Not a good start to our attempts at being foodies in NYC.

At Guy Fieri’s American we discovered Kyle. His food recommendations were spot on (hello, General Tso’s pork shank!), and he was tall and dark and hot.

Guy Fieri's American

General Tso's Pork Shank O.M.G.

Baby girl said the chicken was good, but not as good as mine. See why I adore her? Kyle and his cohorts were completely distracted by the hockey game on the television, but he never missed the tiniest cue that we needed some attention.

Guac & Pacifico at Dos Caminos

We had the pleasure of being served by two different Almas – how unlikely is that? One at Dos Caminos in the Village (our first guacamole fantastico and where we fell in love with Pacifico beer) and the other at John’s Pizzeria in Times Square (amazing pizza, more amazing environment, and a singing flash mob! More on that in another post).

John's Pizzeria Times Square

Shout outs to Mauricio at Eataly (best linguine I’ve ever eaten. I could live happily if I ate that every day of my life) and Julia at the Sugar Café and Dante at Rosa Mexicanos (where they make guacamole tableside and have fantastic sangria). This is where we were so stuffed from enchiladas (crab for me, chicken for baby girl) that we had to pass on dessert. But how do you pass up churros? So we got them to go, and had cold churros dipped in cold dark chocolate sauce and cold caramel for breakfast. Fantastic.

Guac #2 and 1 broken heart at Rosa Mexicanos

We can’t forget old Arthur, the kind gentleman at the Sapphire Bar in JFK airport. He called me ‘young lady’ and carded us both (he said he carded anyone who looked younger than him). He will forever hold a special place in my heart…

Baby girl at Lindy's

Great service didn’t hold true for every place we found. There was Lindy’s, our refuge from the downpour and home of the world famous New York cheesecake. The woman who greets you at the door and guides you to a table must own the place because she sure acted like it. And Agustina, our waiter, well she gave ‘bossy’ a whole new meaning. Good thing for the fellow who filled our water glasses and took our plates. He redeemed the place, even if the cheesecake couldn’t.

And then there’s Dustin.

Bubba Gump Shrimp Company

When we saw the sign for Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, I knew we’d love it. A whole restaurant dedicated to my favourite movie and favourite crustacean? How could we go wrong?

We were seated in a booth and greeted by Dustin. This fellow is reminiscent of Guy Fieri (hair, goatee, voice, exuberance). He also reminded me of an ex-boyfriend – yeah, you know who you are.

Dustin made some recommendations and told us how the “Run, Forrest, Run” and “Stop, Forrest, Stop” license plates worked. The shrimp four ways was great, best coconut shrimp ever.

We mentioned we were going to MOMA and Dustin wondered if Tilda Swinton was still there with her performance art piece where she sleeps in a glass box. We wrinkled our noses, not being huge fans of modern art and scoffing at what much of what is considered artistic these days.

Dustin was enthusiastic about it and told us of another performance artist he admired. One installation in particular was just a naked man and a naked woman standing facing each other. Every person had to pass between them to move forward through the museum. The social experiment, as Dustin called it, fascinated him, observing how men and women dealt with the conundrum. Especially the men. Face the man junk to junk? Face the woman with an opportunity to brush her breasts, but leave your backside exposed to the naked dude?

Turns out, Dustin has a background in psychology. Our waiter in the Bubba Gump t-shirt, the renaissance man of Greenbow Alabama, New York City.

Dustin, waiter extraordinaire

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Part six is next. I have no idea what it’s about yet…


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike Schulenberg July 15, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Sounds like you had a great time in New York. It’s always great to eat at a place with a friendly and attentive staff :)


Julie July 24, 2013 at 6:36 am

We had a blast, Mike. We even enjoyed the places with rude staff, we were just glad to be there at all :).

J Timothy Quirk July 19, 2013 at 6:11 pm

I’m enjoying reading about your travels to New York! Glad to see you were well taken care of there!


Julie July 24, 2013 at 6:37 am

Thanks Joe! It was a wonderful trip. I’d say once in a lifetime, but I want to return and see more.

Erin July 31, 2013 at 9:50 pm

I am not much of a beer-drinker, but I was introduced to Pacifico last summer and actually keep some in my fridge because it’s that good. Like your writing. x


Julie July 31, 2013 at 10:29 pm

It is that good… Thanks, Erin! Next time you’re over I’ll be sure to have some on hand :)

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