I’ve worked for too many big companies to know that small companies truly rock. (I’m not sure if I mentioned previously, but I work here now!) Certainly, small companies come with their requisite downsides – like way too much work for far too few people – but the upsides are beyond words, really. It’s fabulous to work with three other fabulous women who care about doing what’s right, who prioritize delivering the highest levels of service and who are seriously in love with their gigs. Trips to Paris don’t suck either.
Earlier this summer, most of us (sadly, absent our fearless leader) gathered in New York City for lots of work and a touch of play. We also said good bye to one of us, a fearless young lady heading off to business school. To toast her new challenge and weep for our loss, we gathered at The Harrison in Lower Manhattan for a perfect send-off dinner.
Luckily, the New York City heat wave hadn’t yet set in and we grabbed a table outside right on Greenwich Street in Tribeca, but not before being welcomed by a friendly hostess and the wonderful Amanda Freitag, executive chef at The Harrison. We were all a little surprised to see her at the front door but after reading up on her a bit more, I learned it was quite in her character to stand at the front door, smiling at guests.
Like Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery in Boston, Amanda realizes that food is only one part of the dining equation and puts a lot of weight into crafting an experience for her guests. Eat Boutique is all about the experience behind the food, the story behind the meal, and how old-fashioned hospitality can transcend your life. Amanda totally gets this.
Thanks to Amanda and her amazing staff, the entire evening was full of fun. The menu is incredibly fresh, served with a light, expert touch – think no weighty sauces or heavy deep fries but amazing flavors seasoned exceptionally well. The octopus salad won all of our hearts, as did the lightly deep-fried troutlings. I challenge anyone to make their troutlings, beautiful tiny trout, taste better.
We practically inhaled our meal, scooping up every last morsel of octopus. Each of our bites were alternated with fun personal stories, giving us a great chance to get to know each other a bit. We also became familiar with the locals and giggled when Maggie Gyllenhaal stood by our table, trying to get a taxi. We thought only in New York City would it be practically impossible for Maggie Gyllenhaal to hail a taxi cab. In any other U.S. city, she might be recognized and helped quickly. But it was rush hour, and while she’s totally cute, New Yorkers don’t really care about celebrity.
Several factors made the night fairly perfect: gorgeous fresh food, a corner table in hip Tribeca, a few unique cocktails, kind new colleagues/friends, and absolutely lovely view of a sliver of the ocean as the sun set just behind it. We toasted hello and toasted good bye, and looked forward to our next amazing meal with each other. Hopefully, in Paris next time.