Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Not Just Another Chinese Restaurant


Upon first glance, Lemay Wok looks like any other Chinese restaurant. A mural of bonsai trees and cranes in mid-flight that has the faded blue look of a fuzzy television screen stretches across one wall. Each mauve tablecloth is covered by a plastic protector to ward away errant dabs of sweet and sour sauce and hot mustard that overly zealous customers sling Pollock-style across the tabletops. An aquarium sits in the corner, and my favorite fish flutters her angelic fins, her white scales milky and translucent. The menu has the old standards: chicken and broccoli, hot and sour soup, egg rolls. You get the picture.

But Lemay Wok has something that no other Chinese restaurant has: Nick. Quite simply put, Nick is the best waiter I've ever seen. Tonight, just like every night I step into the well-oiled machine that is his dining room, he looks up with a cheery smile, his dark hair falling over his right eye as pauses one of the approximately eight million things he does around the restaurant to wave hello and point to a table. He remembers that I love jasmine tea and brings me a pot without comment, the ceramic glasses clinking as he holds three in one hand without breaking a sweat.

I watch him as he moves across the dining room, a dance of sorts as he spins and sways, ducks and dodges, reaches and pulls. He is always in motion, one hand holding a water pitcher deftly over my glass while his other proffers the straw he knows I will ask for. He is a blur, a whirling dervish, a master of his craft. He recites my order to me, without me having to breathe a word, scrawling it quickly on the pad I am sure he has no real need for, the smile never leaving his face.

And then, he's gone, a faint outline where he once stood for just a beat. He's off to take another order or pack up leftovers or grab another napkin before one even thinks to ask, and I watch him as he spins away, leaving behind a trail of satisfied customers.


9 comments:

  1. I was expecting a rave review of cuisine... but was pleasantly surprised! Great description. I feel Nick's enthusiasm and energy, his "cheery smile." Thanks for sharing, Katie.

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  2. What a gorgeous profile of a special waiter! I love that you take the time to notice.

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  4. Every once in a while you have a waiter/waitress who makes the whole dining experience. My husband and I were just having this same conversation. Here's to more Nicks!

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  5. This is lovely. Your post was the inspiration for many today on the Slice of Life Challenge. I will be looking forward to describing a person in my life for a slice of life coming up. Thanks for sharing so many details about Nick. I would recognize him if I saw him in action!

    Warmly,
    Denise

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  6. I loved your word-smithing as your described your waiter! It was a pleasure to read your slice!

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  7. Could definitely visualize the "dance of sorts" as your waiter was spinning and swaying around the restaurant!

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  8. Katie, this is really wonderful. Love your playful and eloquent description of both the restaurant and the waiter. Definitely inspirational!
    -Lanny

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  9. Katie, this is really wonderful. Love your playful and eloquent description of both the restaurant and the waiter. Definitely inspirational!
    -Lanny

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