Bless the Pats. Thanks to them, we had our own restaurant and wait staff last night. We were literally the only customers in JP’s Bon Savor and relished the quiet and attention as much as we enjoyed the food.
The timing and technique took me back to my years living in Manhattan. Come World Series, Super Bowl or such, you can often get a reservation and sometimes just walk in and have a seat at restaurants reputed to be impossible to get a deuce in.
In reality, of course, those restaurants always save tables for celebrity sorts and even the mundane rich. However, those fashionable or foody places often have severe drawbacks, such as long waits even with reservations, nearly buttock-to-shoulder chairs, damnable noise levels and overworked staff.
Come those few evenings though, you can have an after-the-apocolypse experience. With the potential diners terrified of being out of the loop by missing the direct or televised group experience, the elaborate infrastructure necessary to serve οἱ ὀλίγοι — the swells — does just fine for the rest of us.
Granted, JP is not Manhattan and Bon Savor is not a joint with Michelin stars. Yet, it is often very busy, difficult to reserve tables at, and has a waiting line. It’s a fair target for the special-event sneak-in meal.
You could say the same for the remarkable Ten Tables in the same block of Centre just north of Pond. It also has remarkable food and wine, also has only a small set of seats, and also is tough to reserve. In what is otherwise a pizza/touristy Mexican/pub grub neighborhood, these are two gems. If you haven’t been, hie thyself thither.
My wife and I had been to Bon Savor in various configurations for other meals. The hubby/wife owners started with the two early meals. We had not been for dinner. A chum in my professional society who rides home to JP from Burlington after meetings went on about it as excellent food very reasonably priced. He and his wife are from Poland and France respectively. They lament the local lack of such bistro food and service.
The first time they were in, the woman owner waylaid him on the way back from the john (more about that in a moment) and gave him a kitchen tour. That couple ended up devoted diners.
In fact, the bathroom visit is remarkable. That is true of many restaurants, from the terrifyingly unsanitary to the ostentatious. In the latter class, I think of the facilities at the Windows on the World in the North Tower of the World Trade Center as the paragon. They seem to have gutted an Italian marble quarry for the walls, floors and counters. Fred and Adele Astair would surely have done a fine dance number in the vast space with the gilded hardware in the background.
You won’t find any of that at Bon Savor. It’s in the basement (watch your head unless you’re about five feet four) and a one banger, any gender room. It is worth the trip because it leads by the owners’ office.
Actually, I don’t think you can bypass the office. Like very attractive trolls under the bridge, they call out to you from their open door. More restaurant owners should care so much about what the customers think of their food, service and restaurant.
The very outgoing Ibonne Zabala and her co-owner Oleg Konovalov definitely want to hear about it. In our case, we had ordered the only two entrées. She wanted to know who had the pasta and who the steak. I spoke of the judicious use of Gorgonzola to flavor but not overpower the firm noodles and how the grilled green and yellow squashed worked with the beef.
They seem charming by nature, but even more remarkable is that they wanted to know about the experience. We’ll be back.
It’s great that the Pats had gotten to the last game of the regular season undefeated. To me, it’s just as good that they offered me a great dining experience in the process.
Tags: harrumph, harrumpher, Jamaica Plain, Bon Savor, Patriots