Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Sunday, December 8, 2013

AN OPEN LETTERQUETTE TO LE BILBOQUET



            I recently had the privilege of being turned away from your restaurant in its new location. I have fond memories of the old location, small and cozy and delicious. Apparently, I’ve lost some of my fabulousness.
           I had just enough time for a glass of champagne before a reception nearby on Madison. It was 6pm, one person was at the bar, the owner, Philippe Delgrange and another person occupied one table facing the entrance.
            The first challenge was the door. I struggled to open it and was helped by the hostess. She opened the door, barely, as if  she were hiding something.
“Hi, I’d like to have a glass of champagne. I have a half hour before an appointment.” (I figured mentioning my drink of choice would let her know I’m not some barfly.)
            “We don’t really do that here, you can have a drink at the bar only if you have a reservation,” she explained.  I guess that’s fair but there were empty tables, (Beautiful People don’t eat at six.)  It seems like I could’ve been seated at a table for two for 20 minutes.  She explained the other way I could sit at the bar is if the owner says it’s okay. I saw him, Philippe, I don’t know if he saw me but the last thing I was going to do is beg to spend my money.
            “So, you’re not going to let me in?” I asked incredulously. “I’m sorry about this,” I added. Not being let in an establishment touches a highly sensitive chord in me. As the writer, Zora Neale Hurston said, “How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company?”
            “Me, too,” she said feigning remorse. “The policy sucks but it’s not mine.”
            You have the right to curate your patrons. But there has to be a way to do that with style and class. A show of politeness is a good place to begin.           
It all worked out. I went across the street, was warmly greeted at Philippe Chow where I ran into a friend. I had a good chat, a good glass of champagne and enjoyed the rest of the evening. So, thank you, you helped make every place I went that night more special.

                                                               All the best to you,

                                                               Yvonne Durant