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Can you talk? I’m no Joan Rivers (I’m a bit younger and I’ve had less work done) but we can all agree that the Academy Awards is the most elegant night of the year. I’ve always had an eye for style and fashion to the point where I used to pick out outfits for my mother (yes I was a unique child). But when I decided to pursue a career in the restaurant industry my quest for style and the ultimate elegance was in no way over – in fact my search was just about to begin.
Yes, yes we’ve all been to those stuffy elegant restaurants – white tablecloths, gloved servers, silver cloches, monogrammed butter and perhaps the snooty maitre‘ds. We thought we were it – we were in the temples of food and we were loving them. Then we slowly started to notice – people were going from tailored to relaxed fits – and everyone still looked good and downright elegant but much more relaxed.This trend followed in restaurants – and casual but gorgeous restaurants came on the scene. Places like Sable in Chicago (the hot new gastro lounge) – where people are enjoying small and large plates for sharing mixed with great cocktails in a very dramatic space.Stuffy no! Elegant yes.
With the recession and changing dining patterns – elegance has been redefined and quite frankly – I like it. This isn’t to say that all four star restaurants are stuffy (they aren’t!), butin these daysof designer denimcasual elegance rules. And elegant means appropriate; how to present well and to always respond with grace and decorum. It means always giving guests a warm greeting, and accommodating their wishes – even if it falls outside your usual realm. It means making sure the restrooms are always adequately stocked and pristinely clean with fresh flowers and lots of hand towels.
Elegance can be conveyed via atmosphere – I love David Burke’s Fishtail – on the upper eastside of Manhattan – the room evokes a glamorous residential townhouse while maintaining a casual atmosphere with an unpretentious and fun menu. Elegance can be displayed via service;visitone of Danny Meyer’s restaurants,service is spot-on and exactingno matter the price point. Elegance comes through the kitchen, with a menu that is well thought outexhibiting a tailored touch -where focus rules and each dish is clearly designed to be appealing and delicious.Elegancemeans putting guests at ease, treating them well and always, always putting on a great show. We love restaurants that know how to make this work!