Side Dish

Gone Fishing
Rumpus is still closed due to water damage resulting from a fire in its building -- but the popular bistro will be reopening soon with a party. (I just love a party.) Meanwhile, City of Paris on Geary is closed for remodeling -- much to the surprise of some of the waitstaff -- but is still open for a hotel-style continental breakfast.

A Few Rotten Apples
Thank God for Antonio, who manages the floor at Prego. It was dinner for four preceding the Surface magazine party at the Diesel store (and how anyone can afford those clothes ...). Our service was so abysmal that the able and apologetic Antonio commandeered our table for the rest of our meal. When we were done, our original server brought the check, complete with a number of items we'd neither ordered nor eaten. We brought this to her attention. She went away and returned with our check -- the errors unaltered. We were nearing exasperation overload, but Antonio rode to the rescue once more. He tore up the check, and we made a hasty retreat. That was one free meal Harry actually earned.

Get Yer Pretzels Here
Restaurateur Tim Dale, known for his work in SOMA, downtown, and on both sides of the bridge (the big orange one, that is), has found himself in a unique, uh, twist. Tim was looking to open a high-concept health restaurant, but somehow ended up the proprietor of a brand-new Bikram-style yoga studio at Waller and Stanyan. This is one tale that's hard to unravel, but it must be said that Dale's priorities changed after enlightening treks to Vietnam and Cuba. Don't write him off yet in terms of the food business, though -- he's just taking some time off to stretch.

Stargazing
Harry hasn't emitted what could be actually called a giggle since the heady days of the '70s, but I couldn't help and let one loose upon bumping into none other than little Miss Drew Barrymore and a couple of girlfriends at Max and Sam's Hi-Ball. I (and everyone else in the place) had cocktails with the trio while Drew chatted up Tobias at the door. She was really friendly, asking for tips on where some out-of-towners could find a good time in the city. Harry was happy to make a few suggestions, of course.

Meanwhile, Fog City Diner has always been many things to many people, and never has this been more true than now. The proof is in the people who are eating its pudding: WWC wrestler "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was throwing down at the diner recently -- as was local pouter Anna Nicole Smith, who made her point in a series of Guess ads.

Togetherness Is ...
If you can't get your family time, go into business together. With a number of local chefs quitting their jobs for a little R&R, it's sure nice to see a couple choosing to spend even more time together -- at work. The Kaufmans, Leeann and Phillip, are the driving force behind the soon-to-be-opened Gramercy Grill. The Mrs. comes directly from Gary Danko's Viognier to pilot the project, while the Mr. last donned his toque at One Market. Phillip's not fond of the term "California cuisine," so be prepared for an eclectic menu. The room will be open for dinner only. Harry'll let you know when.

Harry's Helpful Hints (Part V)
Scene opens. Customer walks to host stand: "Yes, hi. I'm supposed to meet some friends ...."

Look, guys, if you're hooking up with some friends, figure out what name the reservation is under. Don't expect the host/ess to know which of the restaurant's 150 diners are waiting for a guy in a suede bomber. And don't just wander through the tables looking for your party: That's rude.

By Harry Coverte

Know something Harry doesn't? E-mail Coverte@aol.com and sweep the dirt out from under the rug.

 
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