Absurd and Outraged.
Posted 16 January 2003 - 07:38 AM
What situations have amused you, what has left you or your punters outraged?
Posted 16 January 2003 - 04:00 PM
Barbecue is a beautiful American language with at least hundreds of dialects. And each dialect is proudly guarded in an almost religious (or at least politically-charged) way. Some folks view barbecue like sex. They like it no matter what style it comes in. Others truly believe that only the style they grew up with is legitimate. Still others have been downright angry that we even attempted to do it in New York.
In the first month or two we were open, I began receiving all kinds of care packages by mail or by hand delivery. Someone sent me his ribs from Florida. One woman brought me a container of her potato salad, someone else her cole slaw. One friend sent a caring letter critiquing our appetizers, and sent us a beautiful box of her homemade cheese wafers -- "the only true way to begin a barbecue meal." (We've recently consulted with her and are now making our own homemade cheddar-cayenne wafers.)
Somone broke down crying on my shoulder when she tasted our potato salad. It was exactly the one her grandmother used to make. I told her that it was funny -- we were using MY grandmother's recipe. (I later found out that our recipe is on the Hellman's Mayonnaise label!)
Not so funny in those early days were the two times jazz sets and barbecue dinners were interrupted by really loud fire alarms set off by our smoker. It scared the hell out of guests, and our staff. One of those times, a jazz set at Jazz Standard was being reviewed by Ben Ratliff of the New York Times. To his credit, the band played on right through the piercing alarm.
There must be something sexy about ribs and jazz. It seems to bring out the animal in people. Twice -- once upstairs at Blue Smoke and once downstairs at Jazz Standard, we've had to interrupt couples engaged in the act of.
After all these years in the business, I don't find too much that's outrageous anymore. The only things that truly annoy me are when guests are unnecessarily rude to our staff members or to other guests at the restaurant.