Brianne McDowell played the part of the Little Mermaid at Tokyo Disneyland before she came to New York. When she’s not trying to make it as a dancer, she’s a nimble server at STK, navigating its packed front lounge. Since the place celebrates its first anniversary with a party tomorrow, we thought we’d ask her whether that “chick-friendly-steakhouse” thing ever took off.
You launched as a female-friendly steakhouse. What’s the mix these days?
Thursday nights we get a lot of business men. Fridays and Saturdays are a good mix — groups of women come in to eat and have some drinks.
What’s the difference between serving a table of men and a table of women?
Most men like to get really nice bottles of wine, like big Cabernets. And big porterhouse steaks. Women tend to drink the sweeter, fizzier cocktails, or martinis. Most women will order the filet.
Do you get the tables of guys who dare each other to hit on the waitress?
I get business cards from guys. I’ve been offered a job to sell jets. I’ve been offered a job to be a personal trainer. I’ve been handed hundred-dollar bills.
Do people order Shrimp Rice Krispies just because it sounds cool?
They’re definitely fun because they’re served over shrimp chips. You pour a shrimp bisque over it, and it makes a snap, crackle, pop.
Can you actually hear that over the music?
If you get up close to it.
What song does the D.J. spin most often?
The Journey song from the end of The Sopranos. Or Bon Jovi.
When should you avoid the place if you don’t want to deal with the crowd?
Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10 p.m. on, it’s a madhouse.
If I walk in then and want to get seated without a reservation, does it matter who I’m with? Should I bring two models?
That definitely comes into play sometimes. We want to see that we have a pretty crowd. Some people might slip the maître d’ money.
Is it maddening leaving work and having to walk through the meatpacking district?
Yes, it can be, because we’re serving all these people and now I’m in it as a regular person. I usually go home right away or go over to the Brass Monkey where it’s more mellow.