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What's a "good table" at Danko and how do I get it?

eel | Oct 4, 200408:22 PM

I’d like to celebrate a very special birthday (mine, and it ends in a “0”) with dinner at Gary Danko. Problem is, I keep getting what I consider lousy tables at great restaurants in San Francisco. I’d rather not be disappointed again if I can help it.

For example, at Fleur de Lys, I was seated in the anti-room, as I call it (i.e., a room, nice enough, but off the gorgeous main room that I was hoping for); at Fifth Floor, I was also seated in a small separate room without the beauty and excitement of the main room. (I did, however, get an awesome table at Masa’s a few years ago.) In each case, I explained upon making the reservation that it was a special and festive occasion, and requested a “good table.”

Perhaps that is my problem. Maybe it’s a question of semantics—they figure that a “good table” is a quiet out-of-the-way table, while I have a different idea of what “good table” means. My definition: a location that reflects the best of a restaurant’s décor; its scene; its sound, feel and visual flavor. Should I find out where I want to sit and ask specifically for that table or area of the restaurant? I hope that's not the only way because it could get costly!

I have also considered that maybe telling them it’s a special occasion is my undoing—they figure I’m a one-time diner from whom they will not get repeat business or that I won’t spend much. The later is not correct—I and my dining companion typically order full-on tasting menus with wine pairings or with cocktails and a good (though perhaps not extravagant) bottle of wine. These meals tend to be money-is-no-object events (hence doing it only twice a year…): planned, anticipated, savored, ooh-ed and aah-ed over, discussed at length, and sometimes dreamt about (the pork belly at 5th Floor…).

So, two questions, if you please:

1. How can it get what I consider a good table at a place I haven’t been to before and don’t know what specifically to ask for? Is there some restaurant-speak that I don’t know about?

2. If asking for a particular table or room is the way to go, what should I ask for at Danko?

Thanks much.

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