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Patria, with a little huff


Restaurants & Bars 2

Patria, with a little huff

Deb Van D | Nov 24, 2002 10:55 AM

Never having been to Patria, because I have been eating elsewhere, propinquity led me there last night after a day of work and play. I had a curious exchange with the hostess, more of a hostette, really. I had slithered in at 5:00, when they open, and was the first, and only, person there. I asked her if I could get dinner without a reservation. She said it was really better to have a reservation on a Saturday night. She asked me if I would like to make a reservation. I kept thinking I was missing some key piece of information here. I said that I was hoping to get dinner Now. Oh. Then she asked how many were in my party. Now, I consider myself a heck of a good-time gal and all, but I can hardly pass as a party when I’m on my own. I would feel silly. I resisted the urge to throw an exaggerated over-the-shoulder look, and said, “One.” Okay, this is the part: she made me give her my name. And she wrote it down. I’ll admit to having a brief and unworthy fantasy that consisted of me clipping her a good one on the jaw. This was less about attitude (hers, I mean, I had enough for the two of us), I think, and more about a rather dim-witted agenda with that Old Devil of officiousness thrown in. It started me off darkly, though, and the puffed up maitre d’ who deigned to seat me, albeit reluctantly, did little to improve things.

Waiter and servers turned things around, however, and I was glad to have them in my camp. I also like a restaurant that trusts me with my own pepper grinder on the table. I started with a tuna ceviche, an unfortunate choice. A very amusing presentation, it was served in half a coconut on a bed of ice with ringlets of fresh coconut and mache surrounding. It was sweetish, flat, no zip. I salted it for lack of any other solution (note to self: stop first at Olives for a drink next time, improve attitude and snitch a piece of lime). The waiter asked how it was and I was truthful, and he offered to change it. That was nice, but I passed. This wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t... good. The American black bass served over chowder, however, a special, was perfectly wonderful in every way. The grilled bass was served over dice of fried potato in a coconut milk broth that included perfectly cooked squid and slices of lobster. It was truly heaven in a bowl and I only just stopped myself from licking the dish clean.

End of saga, except that the maitre d’s shirt became unstuffed as I was leaving and he was tripping all over himself to help me with my coat and inquire after my dinner. This mystified me, unless my tacky habit of taking notes when I am alone made his antennae quiver. To heck with him. Thank you for letting me huff. Would I go back? Hmmm.

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