“Oh no, don’t look,” said one of our evening hosts a few nights ago.
Of course, we all looked where she was looking.
And there they were–another romantic couple without a care in the world that the host staff, managers, back wait staff, and pretty much everyone else in the restaurant could see them.
Booth 307–perfect for anniversary celebrants, couples ready to take their casual relationship to the next level, and anyone else who wants to be lucky in love. No kidding, people cannot help themselves when seated here. It doesn’t matter how stilted and formal they are when they walk in, Booth 307 lulls them into snuggling and kissing within a half hour.
“Do you think they think we can’t see them?” asked another host as the couple’s lingering kiss lingered on and on.
“Maybe,” I said. “But maybe they don’t care. No one seems to care about anything except each other when they’re seated in that booth.”
“I think it is so romantic,” the first host sighed. And the three of us continued our momentary voyeurism in silence.
We are very careful about who we seat in 307. What’s one booth, you ask, in the grand scheme of seating? A lot, especially on a busy weekend night. Shifting preassigned tables sometimes means rewriting the entire map. Thus, the hosts and I scan the reservation notes very carefully before we assign 307.
“My friend’s birthday,” reads one note. Iffy. Might just be a couple of friends out to celebrate. No need for 307.
“A nice quiet table,” reads another. Hmm. Maybe.
We continue reading through notes for deuces that simply state “Web Reservation” or “Window Seat” or “Non smoking” and look for more overt requests. Finally, we snag one:
“Romantic table for our anniversary, if you have one.” Yes! 307, penciled in for 7:30 p.m.
“Do you think it has the same effect at lunch?” wondered the second evening host.
Both hosts looked at me, waiting for an answer. They know I know lunch.
“Actually, I have never seated 307 at lunch,” I told them.
“Try it, tomorrow,” the first said.
“Yeah, see what happens,” the other added.
I assured them I would, if the right couple came in. It would be Friday, after all. Maybe not every guest would be power lunching.
“Do you have a private booth?” asked our first guest yesterday at noon. “The other person will be here in just a minute.” I tried to read him in the few seconds I had to gather up menus. Here to talk torts? Navigate a competitor’s nuance? Salvage a sale?
I showed him to an area of booths I knew would be less crowded at lunch.
“Actually, I was thinking ‘private’ as in not next to a window, where someone can see in.”
Booth 307, get ready. Although there are windows near this booth, they are covered in shades.
“Will this be okay?”
“Perfect,” he smiled.
His guest arrived moments later–a petite woman carrying only a purse. No laptop, no visible Blackberry. Anything could happen from this point on, I decided, even in the bright light of broad daylight.
I observed them as much as I could. We don’t have a regular daytime host, so I was it yesterday. Which was fine because I could interact with guests that much more. But I wished at least one of our evening hosts was there to help keep watch over 307.
But here’s what I was able to observe:
*No kissing, but intense conversation.
*No snuggling, but heads very close to one another to keep up the intense conversation.
*No dreamy smiling into one another’s eyes, but many knowing looks exchanged.
I have no idea what was up. Beginning of an affair? Covert operation? Secret job interview?
Lunch service 307–mysterious. Dinner service 307–where lovers light.
Worlds apart. Worlds to watch.
Only just a glimpse, from afar.