Best Service in a Restaurant - 2004
L'Escalier at the Breakers
Great service in a restaurant is about making you feel as though you belong. Some dining establishments have an easier time of this than others. Diners, for instance, would seem the perfect choice to make you feel at home. They are informal, unpretentious, low intensity. But at the palatially elegant L'Escalier, the wait staff manages to treat every customer like a regular -- a regular member of royalty, that is. Dining here is like having your own personal butlers for a few hours. Food is placed on the table, and removed, with the quiet precision of a Swiss -- or Japanese -- watch. A master sommelier advises on wine with the assuredness that you'd like to experience with your stockbroker. Should you retire to the restroom, your chair will be dutifully pulled, your napkin crisply refolded. Service is smooth, sweet, formal, and thoughtful. Most refreshingly, no member of the wait team will ever interrupt your dinner conversation with a chirpy "How is everything?" It is assumed that if anything is needed, you'll let them know. Amazingly, this professional and elegant service is provided without a hint of pretension. Even the best of butlers have a hard time pulling that off.