Front and Center is Eater's week-long series dedicated to highlighting excellent Front of House staff. This entry is by Shanna Jones, the "Urban Girl" half of blogger duo Urban Swank.
Sorrel Urban Bistro [Photo credit: Kimberly Park]
Everyone has her own personal method for measuring whether she has received bad service, good service or exceptional service. The majority of my dining experiences in Houston have bordered between good and great, which is no surprise, since Houston is a great city full of great people (shameless plug). However, there are those times when you leave a restaurant smiling; and that feeling results from not only having enjoyed wonderful food, but the fact that your waiter or waitress played a huge part in that experience. Sorrel Urban Bistro has become one of my "go to" places where I always know what to expect and head waiter Mike Rios can easily turn a bad day into a good day.
What makes Mike great? Well, there are four things that separate a "good" service person and a "great" service person and Mike encompasses all four. First is an honest and genuine smile. You know ... that smile that shows he is just as happy to see you as you are to see him. Second, an ability to provide recommendations for both food and drinks. Sometimes, I have no clue what I want to try, and, because Mike knows what I typically like, he jumps right in to offer suggestions. Mike has been known to have the chef "whip" up something when I want to go rogue. This is as simple as stating "surprise me" and Mike gets it done.
Third, Mike makes sure I am enjoying my dining experience by way of checking in on me and in a manner that is not annoying or excessive. He makes sure I never go without a cocktail ... what a guy! Lastly, he knows his stuff. In the time that I have been visiting the restaurant, I have had my own farm to table course personally taught by Mike and can truly say I know much of what there is to know about the restaurant and what makes them Sorrel Urban Bistro.
Mike gets an A+ and is an example of what I look for in a great service person. I always say that it is not just about the food, but it is also about the experience. We all know that your service person is as much a part of that experience as the ambiance, the crowd, and the mood of the establishment. Here is a toast to Mike for being consistent and knowing what a girl wants! You are appreciated.