Archive of Ask a Waiter
With all the fuss over Apothéke, we haven’t heard many specifics about Albert Trummer’s drinks, which will cost anywhere from $12 to, well, “market price.” So we decided to ask the
Sure, Wildwood may be the new barbecue spot in town, with its Wii tournaments and its Jessica Simpson–endorsed T-shirts, but Hill Country remains our favorite. Where else can you devour a game hen that’s been smoked with a beer can in it while listening to a band play a country version of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”? We asked Morgan Peterson why she prefers her job as a cocktail waitress and bartender there to her old one at Planet Hollywood.
After we interviewed Trevor W., star of the mockumentary The Doorman, we noted that it was real-life doorman Fabrizio Brienza who stole the scenes with his outlandish outfits, copious chest hair, and his talk of doing very perverted things to a steak. At the time of the movie, Fabrizio was an owner of Happy Valley. Before that, the part-time model and actor (he has appeared in a soft-core porno — more on that later) worked at Miami’s hottest clubs, before coming here to do time at Pink Elephant, Crobar, Bed, and Guest House, back when it was cool. (“Now? Fuhgeddaboudit,” he says in an Italian accent.) These days, he minds the velvet rope at Danny A.’s exclusive lounge at the Plaza Hotel. We asked him whether his job is as absurd as The Doorman makes it seem and whether he’s allowed to wear his boas and alligator-skin suits at the Plaza. And, because we know you want it, we’re giving you another photo.
Yesterday, we revealed that the restaurant in Waiter Rant (for years the industry’s most notorious anonymous blog and now a book that Anthony Bourdain himself calls “the front-of-the-house version of Kitchen Confidential”) is none other than the Lanterna Tuscan Bistro, in Nyack. For legal reasons, the author, Steve Dublanica, can neither confirm nor deny this, but he was more than forthcoming when we asked him, on the eve of his unmasking, about annoying foodies, bad tippers, and waiters behaving badly.
As we reported earlier, Russ & Daughters — Marco Pierre White’s (and, for that matter, our own) favorite place for smoked salmon — is finally entering the blogosphere. Ron Riccio has worked the counter there for thirteen years, since before the store started using the Net to ship lox to displaced New Yorkers. We asked him how tastes have evolved over the years and how, exactly, he smells after a day of cutting lox.
The Doorman, premiering July 18, follows jet-setting gatekeeper Trevor W. as he enjoys a fast life of bribes, buxom beauties, penthouse apartments, and air-kisses. In the mockumentary film, Amy Sacco, of Bungalow 8, calls him the best doorman in the city, which is all too easy to believe, given his hilarious vacuousness (he can’t even do yoga right). One day, however, he gets canned from his gig at Crobar and blacklisted for failing to recognize Nicolas Cage, and outlandish boa wearer Fabrizio Brienza, of Happy Valley, takes his place in the limelight, tweaking his nipples for the camera and bragging that for the right price, he can put you anywhere in New York — even in the lap of Joe Torre. We asked lead actor Lucas Akoskin to channel Trevor W. (Make sure you watch the clip to get his voice in your head.) Not surprisingly, Trevor's musings about celebrity, style, and nightlife were, well, not much different than those of the actual doormen we've talked to in the past!
Giovanni Terzulli has worked as a waiter in Little Italy since arriving from his native Bari more than 40 years ago. In the mid-sixties he briefly worked at Florio’s Grill and Cigar Bar, under its namesake owner — seven years ago he returned to work for current owner Ralph Amoruso, who, along with his son Larry, operates an anachronistic cigar bar in the front of the restaurant, despite the city’s efforts to crack down. We were hoping Terzulli would tell us about the upstairs humidor and custom-knife club that can be reached via an apartment-building hallway, but his lips were zipped about it (membership is about $350, in case you’re curious, and you have to either befriend one of the owners or be referred by another member to so much as set your eyes on it). He did, however, tell us a little bit about the movie and military memorabilia gracing his "fame wall."
Nine months ago, Ratanak Joed Kong mastered the flat scoop at Grom on the Upper West Side. ("You have to make it round yourself," he explains.) Now he mans the gelateria's new location, on Bleecker Street. Considering that Rob and Robin declared Grom's gelato the best in the south Village this week, we checked in with Kong to find out what's really in the gelato, his feelings on Pinkberry, and the etiquette of tasting. —Alexandra Vallis
The afterglow of the Beard Awards hasn’t yet faded at this year’s Outstanding Restaurant winner, Gramercy Tavern. Maître d’ Amanda Dell, who has been there for three years, checked out of Sunday night’s after-party early (as in, 1 a.m., on Monday), but she tells us it raged on to the point where the bar ran out of certain items and had to spend the next couple of days restocking. “Mostly everyone was enjoying sparkling wine and beer,” she says, “but I do think people got into some bourbons. That’s kind of a GT favorite.” We asked her how this celebration compared to past ones and got some table-scoring tips in the process.
Amanda Freitag’s tenure at the Harrison — where Little Owl’s Joey Campanaro and then Brian Bistrong cut their teeth before her — has yielded rave reviews from Time Out and the Times. One person who’s happy about that is Omar Niang. The Senegal native worked for Daniel Boulud and Jean-Georges Vongerichten before coming to work for Jimmy Bradley about five years ago, but that doesn’t mean he’s been trained to spot critics. “We get Frank Bruni every night we work here,” he tells us. “Everyone is Bruni, my friend. Even if I see you for the first time, you are my Bruni!” Works for us!