Vince and I went to a Japanese Steak House for dinner the other night. The food was tasty and I had a couple glasses of plum wine since they were included with the meal. (Vince didn’t want his.) Maybe it was just me, but plum wine tastes a little like Kool-Aid. Fortunately, they were served in tiny aperitif glasses, so I didn’t get tipsy on Kool-Aid-tasting wine. My wino friends would be appalled. Oh wait, maybe that should be winer friends? Ah, wait – I’ve got it – wine aficionado friends! (Whew.)
But plum wine isn’t really why I’m writing about this place.
What is interesting to me about these types of restaurants is that, unless you are dining with a large group of family and/or friends, you end up sharing dinner with complete strangers. Since it was a Wednesday night, the place wasn’t exactly packed, and we were seated at a large table around the hot metal cooking surface with only one other couple.
But they were nice folks and Vince immediately struck up a conversation with them. By the end of the evening, we pretty much knew their life story. That’s Vince for you. Maybe he should consider a career change and enter the wonderful world of espionage – I think he could get our enemies to divulge state secrets. They wouldn’t even realize they’d done it until it was too late.
I do appreciate Vince’s outgoing personality because as someone with a basically shy nature, striking up conversations with complete strangers is not my natural inclination. I might make an off-hand goofy comment, and I will probably smile and be pleasant – and I will certainly respond if they start conversing with me, but I don’t get overly involved in asking for details about their lives. I sort of figure that I will never see them again after our evening of sizzling steak, fried rice and veggies, so I don’t need to know their third daughter’s birth date.
Once we finished the business of learning all pertinent information about our dining companions (like their SAT scores, total annual income and social security numbers), we got down to the business of watching our chef prepare our dinner.
Unfortunately, I think maybe he needed a larger audience to appreciate his cooking theatrics, because he gave us only a mediocre cooking show. We sort of knew we weren’t going to be dazzled after he spun the raw egg around the cooking surface a few times, caught it on the spatula…and then it flipped sideways and landed on the floor with a splat. (I know this because it came dangerously close to hitting my shoes. When he asked someone to bring him two more eggs, I thought, uh oh – that’s not a good sign. He’s calling for back-up!
Once he dropped the egg, he seemed to lose his confidence and didn’t do any other tricks with his spatula. Instead, he quietly went to work cooking our dinner, which was okay since we were hungry. I’d done a little retail therapy earlier in the evening and as most educated people know, shopping has been scientifically proven to work up an appetite. “Educated” meaning everyone of the female persuasion. (Hey, we’re talkin’ shopping here. We make up our own scientifically proven facts!)
So, like I said, dinner was tasty and I was able to successfully ignore the rapidly congealing egg on the floor by my feet. We paid the bill, tipped everyone – including the poor kid in the back with the mop who had the fun job of cleaning the floor. We then made final arrangements with our dinner companions to spend our next five vacations together. And then we said our goodbyes.
Will we go back to this particular Japanese Steak House? Sure. I’m confident that the chef has learned from the egg spinning debacle and will never make that mistake again. Besides, we have an opening in our schedule for a vacation in January of 2015 with complete strangers and we need to start the interview process now.
Oh, and by the way, I was kidding about the SAT scores.