For those of you who dine late and long, you know well that point in the evening when the dining room suddenly empties, and you’re left alone with your company. The room goes quiet, and for those last remaining courses, as servers clear and reset the tables, you’ve got the restaurant to yourselves.
Some get nervous, afraid to overstay their welcome. Ever-mindful of the hard-working staff, I have to admit, sometimes I feel guilty for being the only thing standing between them and their pajamas. But a well-trained restaurant staff should make you feel welcomed to enjoy your stay (as long as you’re not needlessly camping out), regardless of the hour. When this happens, the end to a meal can be quite a magical and intimate experience.
A few days ago, I had the pleasure of dining at The French Laundry.
Though we weren’t the last party to leave, we did outlast most of the tables around us. In the still of service, I took this photo of a nearby table that had been cleaned and prepped for the next day’s service. I love the almost painterly peacefulness of the setting.