“Jessica Alba was our poster child for a second.”Photo: Melissa Hom
Actor Jason Raines has served at the Stanton Social (Handsome Dick Manitoba’s second-favorite spot for sliders) since it opened in April of last year. We figured he’d have more than a few stories emerging from the dining room’s curious mix of Upper West Side black-Amex holders and Lower Eastpacking District tattoo artists; apparently his job also entails telling overenthusiastic and/or drunk couples to get a room, serving Jessica Alba everything on the menu, and helping Robert Downey Jr. stay sober.
You close at 3 a.m. on the weekends. Do ne’er-do-wells stumble in late at night?
Mostly guys messing with the hostess. Sometimes a girl will be like [in breathy voice], “Can I have a drink?” and they’re really close. It’s like, “Your boyfriend is right over there! He’s paying the check, isn’t he?”
Do musicians ever come in after shows?
Michael Stipe is always in here hanging out with Mario Batali on the mezz. He was in here with Adrian Grenier Sunday night. Alan Rickman was in here enjoying wine, talking about real estate.
What else have you overheard?
Tables don’t think you hear them, but you do. One time I was walking by a table and I hear, “Are you kidding me? He’s high all the time! If he’s being shot, he’s high!” I didn’t get the name of the actor.
Are you ever privy to bad dates?
You know when something’s gone wrong because this silence comes over the table and you’re like, That’s all I need — I gotta get bottles of wine, spoons, and now they’re breaking up. I know to get the check ready.
How about good dates?
You get the couples that start making out near the table next to them. One time we actually had to comp someone else’s meal. He was like, “This is freaking me out.”
Have you ever made a serious faux pas?
I was here when Robert Downey Jr. was here. I went over to offer them champagne. I was like, Wait a minute, Robert Downey Jr. can’t drink! Everyone at the table was ordering Coca Colas and shot after shot of espresso.
You have about 40 plates on your dinner menu. Do people ever order them all?
Jessica Alba actually got everything on the menu, in cute tasting portions. She was here with fourteen people. She was like our poster child for a second — it was like, “Put a Kobe in her hand.”
Just how popular are the Kobe sliders?
If we get 400 reservations, it might be 400 or more Kobes. I tell people how the menu works, and they’re like, “Give us two Kobes. That’s why we’re here.”
How do you help people gauge whether they’ve ordered enough?
For two people, four dishes from anywhere on the menu is fine. If it’s six people and they order four things, I say, “I’ll leave an extra menu here.”
Do jaws drop when all of those little dishes add up at the end of the night?
The average check is about $45 a person. Every now and then you get a 21st birthday and you know the dad’s paying. You know he’s thinking, $2,000 for this? And you’re like [politely, as if handing over the check], “Here you are, sir, thank you.” — Daniel Maurer