Speaking of waiters. Back when the East Village was still a cute idea and Avenue A was the eastern border of commerce in Manhattan – we’re talking 1998 here, more or less – my chefly friend Joe was one of the people behind a spiffy downstairs restaurant called 85 Down. The food was monster good, the prices were mostly right, the beer was decent and often better than that, the joint was molto simpatico, and it was a regular stop for me.
One of the waiters, Andreas, was a strapping guy with a barrel of a voice, a couple of early piercings, and the occasional visible tattoo. He’d lumber toward tables of paralyzed tourists with a thundering head of grave deadpan (“Just be calm, Mabel, let me do the talking – and keep your hands where he can see them”), and take up a glowering watch position for a few moments. Then, when they were good and nervous, he’d conjure a menu and daintily set it down, just so. And in his soft, resonant basso, he’d say, “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Would you like to see a wine list…?”
Got ‘em every time.