As a form of speech "The Spiel" usually involves a story intended as a means of persuasion. When I go to the tables at Jean George I "Spiel" them on highlights of the menu including specials. I provide further discourse if there are allergy issues or questions about specific dishes or beverages.
Through the course of any action which promotes your product or point of view it is important to gauge the response, read the table, and proceed with the intent of listening to the guest's needs. This ability to listen to the guest, understand the type of experience they are looking for and act on that knowledge separates good service from great service.
Nancy and I have been to quite a few fine dining establishments but I can only count on one hand the times a captain/server has walked me through the highlights of a menu in addition to the specials (and, if you don't ask the prices of the specials they are not mentioned).
Two weeks ago (as I mentioned in my blog,"The Greatest Meal I've Ever Experienced") we had an amazing dinner provided by Chef Dave Adlard at the Candle in the Woods restaurant located in Athol Idaho. Chef Adlard provided a very clear description of the cuisine as the sommelier filled in behind him relating the reasons for the pairing of that particular wine with that particular dish.
In addition to the oration given by Chef Adlard, he wove interesting stories about the composition of the dish and how those ingredients came together (usually from their "test kitchen"), where those ingredients were sourced, and perhaps a funny anecdote tying everything together. This was next level culinary delight to add to the spectacular presentations, social interactions, and of course the beverage pairings.
At Jean George I find it necessary to highlight dishes the guest will not see on other menus. There may be a bacon wrapped shrimp on another restaurant's menu but it won't be wrapped in a Nueske bacon finished with organic avocado in a papaya mustard marmalade. Other servers will highlight the shellfish platter (because its one of the most expensive appetizers) but I feel the importance to build trust and create an experience the guest won't find at any other restaurant, and it starts with the recommendations.
Another "signature dish" I highly recommend is the Wagyu beef carpaccio. The Wagyu beef is wrapped around a cheese truffle fritter filled with Comte cheese surrounded by a four leaf balsamic vinegar and topped with fresh, black, Perigord (known as the black diamond of Perigord) truffles.
The "Spiel" brings menus to life. It separates an order taker from an introduction or "Spiel" of the meal that could potentially become a memory you will never forget. For many in the food and beverage industry we can not take lightly our responsibility to bring some semblance of normality (especially in 2020) to the table when servicing the most important aspect of any restaurant, the guest.
Next time when we are blessed to create an experience for our guests lets not forget that out of many you will find one that will never forget that meal as orchestrated by you. You are a member of a team that provides service with the chef, bartender and sommelier. All those that provide the team work to make that event happen work in concert to create a meal by which all others will be judged.
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