Front and Center is Eater's week-long series dedicated to highlighting excellent Front of House staff. This entry is by Daniel Chang, whose blog, Confessions from a Gluttonous Chinaman, offers honest, succinct opinions in his dining adventures.
Since I used to wait tables at various establishments around Houston, I think I know what I'm talking about when it comes to food service. I believe that the service person should accomplish the following: match the ambiance of the restaurant, be helpful (and honest) with the menu, and not be overly pesky (finding the right mix of I'm there for you when you need me while giving a patron enough space to enjoy his/her meal is a very tough task to master).
A few years ago, I had an experience with a service person at Damian's in Midtown that was a perfect 10/10 based on the criteria listed above. The fact that I can still hear his voice, whispering sweet nothings about fresh jumbo lump crab meat and giant Alaskan sea scallops should be proof on its own. The man KNEW the menu, spouting off all of the evening's specials, while asking me about my mood before suggesting the perfect dish based on my cravings. He wasn't overly pushy on the more expensive items on the menu and even suggested a wine pairing; yet, he wasn't disappointed when I passed. The timing between our appetizers and entrées was perfect. He came by approximately 2.7 times to check on how we were doing. I'll always remember the way this particular meal played out, as the waiter with the unbelievable food knowledge, timing, and dark brown eyes will forever be in my heart. All while serving the meal in a three-piece suit. Simply Magnificent.