Full Disclosure: I have had a 12-year old Glenlivet, shared a very nice bottle of 2001 Barolo, a 30-year old Ballantine, and am now nursing an 18-year old Macallan while watching the Sabres do very well against Ottawa while my wife sits next to me on the couch. In other words, I am in a very
happy place, so please excuse any grammaticical annomilalilies. But i promiss to stil spel gud.
Tonight, we had our belated Valentine's Day/Anniversary dinner. Our official anniversary of beginning our second round of dating (the night during which we discussed how long was proper to wait before announcing our engagement) is the 16th. Due to scheduling, we couldn't have an evening to ourselves until tonight. We generally go to Lombardo's
for special occasions. The more well-known place of that level is Oliver's
. We had each been there a few times before. We had previously been unimpressed by the food, and noticed that former mayors
and other such riffraff tended to be there. We therefore generally avoided it.
Unfortunately, ES1's likely future employers gave out gift certificates at Christmastime. We found ourselves with $150 to spend there. We figured - "What they hey."
This was the first time either of us had been there in a group of 2, instead of a larger crowd. It was also a fairly slow business night. Whatever the cause, however, we were not expecting it to be as nice an evening as we had.
It started with a 5-minute conversation at the coat-check. The part-time coat-check girl, daughter of the bartender, is an old acquaintance of ES1's. We finally went in to make sure that we were actually on time.
After being seated, we were assigned the most adorably cute (re: smart and nice but very nervous) imaginable. It was at this point that I ordered the Glenlivet.
Throughout our various conversations (note to bachelors - if you never run out of stuff to talk about, even (or especially) if you can't remember any of the conversations later, you've found the right one) we talked about the general theme of "fancy" restaurants vs. "nice" restaurants, and why this place could really be considered a nice restaurant.
A nice restaurant is a place that wants you to visit - A fancy restaurant is a place that thinks you should want to visit.
A nice restaurant has good food - a fancy restaurant has food that, if your palate is 'sophisticated' enough, you can appreciate.
A nice restaurant has staff that makes you feel welcome - a fancy restaurant has staff that lets you know how lucky you are to be there.
A nice restaurant has good wine - a fancy restaurant has expensive wine.
A nice restaurant gives you more than you expect - a fancy restaurant gives you what they think you deserve.
The bottom line was that it was generally a nice experience. A nice restaurant may cost more, but they give you an enjoyable experience. It's not a place to go every week (or month), but it's definitely nice. Do we prefer Lombardo's - yes. Are there cheaper places with better food - yes. But they tried hard and did well. The woman who walked in wearing jeans looked really out of place, but was treated with the same courtesy as those actually dressed appropriately. That's what a nice place should be like.
In conclusion, let me just say one thing:
Bah weep graaagnah wheep ni ni bong.
And if you don't understand that, be grateful.
And, yes, the 18-year old Macallan is starting to kick in.