"I like going out with you," Karen the designer said. "I never get service like this."
I wasn't paying attention, but, yeah, I guess we were doted on at Sea Grill a week ago. She ordered a dirty martini. I had club soda. We shared a plate of crab legs. Drinks, napkins, plates and food were set before us with Indy-like pit-stop efficiency.
Thomas the manager stopped by for a friendly and informative chat about Sea Grill's Barents Sea crab legs. This is the same guy who sidled up to me at the bar one day last year and said, "Nice review this morning."
Karen and I finished up and headed to El Gaucho, where I recognized our barmaid from an earlier stint waitressing at Sea Grill, which is owned by the same company as El Gaucho. Karen changed her tune about great service when our $35 smoky martini arrived.
"Is that smoky enough for you?" the barmaid asked. "Should I add more bourbon?"
Whoa. That wasn't bourbon smoking up the gin tini. That was 30-year-old Laphroaig scotch.
Then we wondered about our ungarnished drink. The menu said it came with caper berries. When we inquired, our barmaid spooned a couple of caper buds (commonly known as capers) into the drink.
But caper berries are different from caper buds, the immature, tiny briny things you find atop chicken piccatta. Caper berries are the mature fruit of the same shrub; they bear a resemblance to olives. They're less salty than caper buds.
I looked at Karen. I gave her a smug smile and said, "Now that's the kind of service I'm used to getting around town."
How was the $35 smoky martini? Full disclosure: I'm a beer and tequila guy. But this one tasted like a mouthful of day-old campfire. I'd rather drink a Phillie blunt.