Posted on: Sunday, June 2nd, 2013
We had about a half an hour to 45 minute wait for a table last night at Piatto Pizzeria + Enoteca. And for good reason. When a restaurant gets it right on every level as much as they do, people are bound to flock there in droves.
Piatto doesn’t take reservations, which makes perfect sense. If you know you’re going to be slammed from open until close, why would you risk setting tables aside for people who, for any number of reasons, might not show? Instead, they have a system in place that is both thoughtful and convenient.
If you arrive to a full restaurant and would like to wait for the next available table, you can sit at the bar and drink wine and snack on complimentary olives, even order an appetizer, like we happily did. Or you can leave and receive a text message notification when your table is ready, giving you ten minutes to return and claim it. If you know you will need more time to make it back, you can text back and they will bump you to the next available table.
The front of house staff we encountered, including the hostess, the bar tender and our waitress, were all cheerful and attentive and just really on their game. Our waitress, a young woman named Alexx, with her confident and relaxed demeanour, was especially adept at handling our tipsy table of six. Bonus points for never needing to write anything down and getting it right every time.
And the food. Piatto’s caprese salad, with tomato slices as thick and juicy as steaks, topped with fresh buffalo mozzarella and a basil leaf, then garnished with salt, pepper and olive oil, can do no wrong. While their prosciutto pacchi is a saucy, chewy addiction waiting to happen. And of course there’s the pizza, cooked in a wood burning oven and made from a special flour that is extremely low in gluten. One is easily enough for two people to share, possibly even with a slice left over.
All that and three glasses of wine and my bill was in the $50 range. I was sure I was robbing the place, but I checked my bill and it was all there. Make no wonder there’s a 45 minute wait for a table.
At Blue Lounge my butt had barely hit the stool when a sharply dressed, tattoo-clad bartender was there to serve me. As it turns out, this was the recently appointed bar manager – something Blue Lounge never had prior to his arrival. I’ve had drinks here in the past and the experience was on par with just about any other bar in town. But tonight was on a whole other level.
There were maybe half a dozen staff either behind the bar or moving back and forth between it and the tables, serving up carefully crafted drinks with such fluidity that you’d swear there was a conductor at work somewhere in the room. I guess that would be the bar manager, but the impression I got was that his instructions had been given long before this night began, and his presence was all that was required to see them implemented.
The lounge was bustling with patrons, but it felt so relaxed. Throughout the night, I’d finish a beer and lay it on the bar and someone would just be there to happily clear it and ask if I’d like another. Shots were mixed, poured and distributed with purpose. Drinks prepared and served with care. It all lent itself to the distinct feeling that our presence was not only welcomed, but that it mattered.
Piatto is located at 37 Duckworth Street and is open Monday to Thursday from 11:30am to 10:00pm, Friday and Saturday until 11:00pm, and Sunday from 5:00pm to 9:00pm.
Blue Lounge is located at 319 Water Street and is open weekdays from 10:00am to midnight, and weekends until 2:00am.