In booking tables, what sorts of tricks do you employ that average Joes can use?
Stay persistent and patient. A follow-up is very important: Send them something saying thank-you for extending yourself. Mention if someone is celebrating an occasion restaurants really love being part of that. Establish a friendship the manager of a certain restaurant will leave to open the next hottest restaurant.
To what extent will you get involved in a members personal life?
We did a proposal a while back in Paris. We had a caricaturist set up at the table across from the couple he drew a picture of her with a ring on her finger.
Do you get foreign reservations that are just too tough? El Bulli, for example?
El Bulli is great with last-minute cancellations. We had a member who was traveling to Spain who was dying to go with their mom. We called as far in advance as possible and they had nothing. When we called the day of, we were able to secure a reservation.
Whats the hardest table here in town?
Id tell you Per Se, where its twelve tables total. But because we do have a relationship with them, I feel like we could secure tables.
What kinds of requests have you been unable to fulfill?
One of our members whos kosher asked for a croque madame at a kosher restaurant, which is the least kosher thing he could ask for. There wasnt too much we could do about that.
Whats the most bizarre order youve gotten?
I was involved in doing a catered dinner in Kentucky during the derby. He wanted to serve Kobe beef. I had to find Kobe beef in Kentucky, which isnt the easiest job. We actually flew it in it was roughly $700 to get it there.
Whats the most outlandish display of wealth youve facilitated?
One of our members hes in the financial world, Ill leave it at that wanted to do a birthday party at Tenjune. He spent about $55,000 in three hours. Magnums of Mot will take you a long way.
What does getting your members into these places entail?
Its partly a matter of educating them. We want to make sure they wouldnt go to a door with eight of their guy friends. Not all of them know to have an equal ratio of men to women, or at this point, more women than men. They dont always know that if theyre with a large group that they should sit down and get a table.
Have you ever made a really bad call?
When I first started, one of our members wanted to go to a new and exclusive steakhouse. I offered Bull & Bear theres no real draw to it. He came back thinking I was absolutely crazy.
You must have a pretty good eye into the future. What do you think the next hot clubs will be?
When Double Seven reopens, its going to be a hit. And One Oak, which the guys that currently own Butter are going to be opening up.
How do you tell when a place has jumped the shark? Have you crossed certain places off your list?
Absolutely. Its all about a lack of demand our members will come and say, I want to go to Tenjune or I want to go to Rose Bar. As soon as you stop hearing those requests, you know youre not going to recommend it anymore.