Joe's birthday. Orchestra tickets. Dinner at a favorite restaurant with dear friends. Had the makings of a perfect evening. When I made the reservation, I mentioned the birthday; the reservationist said she would make a note of it and have a candle put in his dessert. There was practically no traffic and we arrived downtown in good spirits, eager for a delicious meal and a lovely concert.
When the hostess showed us to our table (I could see that Maggie had already arrived), before I could even sit down and while I was still greeting my friend, a short, bustling and imperious waiter asked me what I wanted to drink. I told him I thought I'd like to sit down before thinking about that. He wasn't pleased. The waiter (I found out later that his name is Saki) was standing near me when we placed our drink orders, and I quietly mentioned to him that Joe was the person who should receive the candle (I know you can see where this is going, but indulge me because there's more). Maggie whispered that she had also reminded him that Joe was to have the candle.
Three of us opted for the pre-theatre menu, while Frank skipped the appetizer and ordered a dish from the regular menu. The first course arrived quickly and the calamari was delicious. The restaurant was busier than usual, and there was
an interminable a long wait for the main course and eventually we were were supplied with two "complimentary" orders of bread. I find this practice a bit annoying, when restaurants think we might prefer to fill up on bread and not have room for what we had ordered. Nonethless, my lamb shank, when it finally came, was one of the best things I've ever eaten in our many times at Estia.
The entrees cleared away, immediately came the three desserts (none with a candle, but you knew this already) and Frank was never invited to order dessert. When we called the hurrying, officious waiter back, he actually scolded my friend for not ordering dessert, though he'd never been given the opportunity! Saki was so unpleasant when Frank wanted the same little dessert that the rest of us had, claiming that it was available only as part of the fixed price menu. I was furious and this disrespectful treatment and said to him, "You were reminded twice that my husband was to have a birthday candle in his dessert, but you didn't do it." He glared at me and pulled himself up to his rather unimpressive full stature and snapped at me, "I have arranged to do something very special for him! But you didn't give me a chance!" Then, of course, to cover his ostentatious lie, when he finally brought Frank's dessert, he came with a piece of candled cake for Joe. Oh, it was a tasty enough treat, but after a full three-course dinner including all of that complimentary bread, it was, actually, too little too late. I was glad that someone else was handling payment of the bill, because had it been up to me, I would have given Saki exactly two cents.
Don't be put off by my experience, friends. Go to Estia. You'll love the setting, the slide show of Grecian scenes in the lounge, the opulent restrooms, everything on the menu. Just be sure you don't sit in Saki's section.