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Service Included: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter Paperback – October 7, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
During her year working at Per Se, Damrosch memorized the life stories of the ingredients in every dish in the restaurant, became well-versed on the architecture visible from the restaurant's windows, and learned to anticipate the needs of her guests before the guests themselves voiced them. She worked eight to ten hour shifts on her feet, juggling the needs of her tables and the whims of her guests while appearing calm and composed. She was one of the only female captains the elite circle of NYC 4-star restaurants.
Service Included is a secret window into the world of ultra-high-end hospitality, and a foodie's delight. It is not, however, an "eavesdropping" tale. Damrosch would have done well to title her memoir more accurately, because it stands on its own as a glimpse inside an unusual and elite profession. Her memoir is also unique among restaurant confessionals, because she's reporting from the front of the house, not the kitchen. The allows her to provide the reader reservations at the best seat in the house for their vicarious experience at Per Se.
Service Included suffers from a lack of clear direction.Read more ›
The food descriptions were good, but the relationship with the sommalier was truly tedious to read about.
I love books about the restaurant industry, but I would advise skipping this one. The one question she never answered was how she managed to pay the student loans her pricey education must have incurred, while meandering from job to job. Yes, I know Per Se probably pays well, but Brooklyn barista jobs do not.
I also would have liked a little more information on how Keller's new policy of paying the servers a straight hourly wage rather than tips worked out. Was she the only one who left? This is a huge issue for servers (and the people who tip them),yet she barely addressed it other than to say it was instituted. The author may have thought we were more interested in her personal relationships. I, for one, was not.
That is to say, you should pass on this book. Perhaps the first half will hold your interest as thats where the bulk of the info on Per Se is - and that's what anyone who buys this book is looking for. But gradually the book becomes about the life of this random author with a NYC life as anonymous and ordinary as those lived by the "suits" walking into office buildings on Madison Avenue - the very people she loves to jab presumably for being so boring. The story devolves into a journey of personal discovery in her love life with some guy, who seems, by my measure, to be an arrogant tool. I kept on thinking, "who cares?" Love of this variety happens every night in bars all over this town.
In the end, you close the book and feel like the author just sat you down to talk about herself; the story about the restaurant, Keller, food, hospitality, is a mere detail in her self-absorbed mellow drama. Fine for a diary, painful for a book marketed to the public.
Recommendation is 1) not to get this 2) if youve already purchased it, read the first quarter, maybe the first half, and move on to another book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book stands alone but if by chance you're headed to a dinner at Per Se (as I was), it will make the anticipation that much sweeter.Published 7 months ago by jean whiddon
Fabulous look at the operation of a 5 star restaurant. Easy to read and very captivating. Great inside information regarding premier chefs and newspaper reviewers.Published 10 months ago by Billy Bee
Very interesting behind-the-scenes book, a great read for anyone interested in the hospitality industry, and especially restaurants. Ms. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Aileen Robbins
Very entertaining book with a lot of detailed information on ins and outs of restaurant world, how staff is trained, nuances of choosing a menu, etc. Read morePublished 18 months ago by foster
I was initially going to write an awful review of this memoir but, after reading some of the other harsh customer reviews, I must say that SERVICE INCLUDED is not as terrible as... Read morePublished 20 months ago by M. Hsu
This book will help you understand why people pay so much for food in a fancy restaurant. They are paying for more than the food: it's the ballet of the service by a highly... Read morePublished 24 months ago by Diane M. Scattini
Service Included by Phoebe Damrosch, a Kindle book I started reading on August 8th while glancing to and from my knitting. Read morePublished on May 20, 2014 by Kristine Fisher