Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Our Hungry? Hat Off To Accommodating Manager, Part I

In a town like LA where the reservation list at a restaurant can read like an A list for a movie premiere, how is a regular Angeleno supposed to get good service at a quality restaurant?

The answer lies in a not-so-little Italian restaurant in Pasadena—Il Fornaio. At Il Fornaio, the homemade pasta and innovative twists on classic Italian dishes, like Butternut Squash Ravioli and Gnocchi, in combination with a constantly changingregional menu and wines that pair perfectly means that most nights, especially the weekends, they are fully booked. But for being a busy and- dare I say it?—chain restaurant—the food and customer service is that of a family-owned restaurant.

This largely due to the he manager, Ricardo Capor, an attentive gentleman who learns his regular customers quickly and treats them accordingly. Just the other day, my parents went in for dinner. He greeted them with a kiss on each cheek and whisked them off to a table sans menus.

"Tonight," he said, "I will be serving you, so you won't be needing menus." Capor personally picked out each of the seven courses, cheese all the way through to dessert, paired them with wines, then delivered it to their table and chatted with them about each course as they tasted his chef's culinary creations. And the price of this personally guided tour through the culinary regions of Itay was no more than a regular dinner entree. They left more than satisfied, both with the food and the above par service, guaranteeing they'd be back soon.

It just goes to show that loyalty to a quality restaurant with a manager like Capor, who takes great pride in the food his restaurant serves and enjoys sharing his enthusiasm with his customers, makes for an amazing dining experience… and you won't even have to name drop!

—Kaelin Burns