#23- Chez Panisse

I have been feeling pretty smug ever since getting a reservation at The French Laundry for my 2012 Bucket List, and was eager to not only experience divine food again, but to also employ my Call-Center knowledge at different locations.  Once again, it worked like a charm and I had dinner reservations in no time at the Restaurant portion of the World-Famous Chez Panisse in Berkeley.

“Tell me again, what is this restaurant?” Blake asked me as we suited up to go.  The baby-sitter smacked her forehead and I shook my head in amazement.  I opted not to entertain the question, hoping he was half joking.  We love watching Top Chef, we have established that we love great food, we’ve anxiously followed the news about the devastating kitchen fire earlier in 2013.  On our way over the Bay Bridge, Blake’s sister called. I could hear her hollering on the other end of the phone, “CHEZ PANISSE??  HOW on EARTH did you get reservations THERE??”  This place is quite the place for food.

And like The French Laundry, I’ll refrain from critiquing the meal because I don’t find myself to be worthy enough to critique something so above my skill.  There is a reason why this place is well-known, so yes, the food was amazing.

The overall experience was not as phenomenal as I had hoped.  Our waiter didn’t know the answer to simple questions, and there was no romancing whatsoever on his behalf on why or how this food was special.  Maybe it was our bad luck, but something that sets the bar high, in my opinion, is when the food presented has a bit of a story or history or explanation as to why the restaurant chooses to prepare/serve it in such a way.  Maybe I’ve been spoiled by too much Food Network, sure, but at the same time when you dine at a restaurant famous for this kind of service, it is what you come to expect.

All of that can be overlooked somewhat, when the dish itself was as mouthwatering good as it was this night at Chez Panisse.  A date night success, and as we told our Server, A perfect way to start the New Year out right.

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