Guy_Savoy_Fish_ParisLE DOME

 

Perhaps I have transposed my ambition in life, I don’t crave success in the industry or the adoration of my parents.  But having been to a restaurant only once and being memorable enough to be recognized over the phone, shaking down a reservation on a night they are fully committed, delivers a sense of fulfillment, parental approval or entertainment accolades could  never equal.  It was Saturday night in Paris, the busiest restaurant night.  Luckily we had made an impression on Jacque, the maitre d at Le Dome when a week prior Patrice and I had bonded with him discussing his dining experience at La Boheme  in Los Angeles and how he considers Bordeaux to be an over-rated wine that tastes like wood.  Jacque instructs me on the phone to come in at ten.  This is actually a great reservation time to be given in France where everyone dines late and stays out all night.  But it was eight o’clock and we had just arrived back in Paris from Naples, checked in and showered.  We were starving and convinced if we arrived at Le Dome early, Jacque would seat us even sooner than ten.

Patrice and I walked blocks from our hotel trying desperately to hail a cab.  Every cab that passed us was filled with decked out Parisians headed for the opera, dinner or somewhere fabulous we imagined, as we zipped our coats and tried to walk faster than the cold wind.  Finally we came upon two women huddled at a taxi stop. We decided to wait with them hoping a cab would gravitate towards a marked taxi stop.  After we had waited there for at least ten minutes, I noticed something curiously wrong with that particular stop.  There was another Taxi stop exactly like it about twenty feet further where most cabs were stopping instead of ours.  I considered cueing up there, but that line was twenty people deep, so even though we needed two cabs to stop at ours, we would be picked up quicker if we stayed in place.

The elegantly quaffed Canadian women ahead of us in line informed us they were  headed to Guy Savoy for an eight-thirty reservation.

“We went there a week ago, two nights in a row!”  Patrice bragged.  “It was the best dining experience we’ve ever had.  You are going to love it!”

We traded culinary stories about several world renowned restaurants but Guy Savoy kept coming up “tits.”  The service was a ballet performance with the staff out numbering the guests three to one.  The food redefined every memory I’d had of food replacing it with the way food would taste if God were cooking.  The cheese cart was a whimsical delight, a playground of the creamiest, silkiest and most delectable cheese from around the world accompanied by a perfect mate of quince, fig or some divine drizzle reduction.  Guy Savoy was one of many three Michelin star rated restaurants in Paris.  Of all the Michelin stars spread across the world, France owned most of them.  The French may as well have invented food the way they treat it.  We were all jumping up and down in place chanting Guy Savoy when the first cab pulled to our stop.  We hugged our new lady friends warmly knowing they were soon to experience gastronomic perfection.

Suddenly a blur of confusion whirled past us as two dangerous characters appeared as if from nowhere.  There was a tall, dark, foreign man who began by shoving the Canadians away from the cab.  Then, a smaller scrappy women swooped in to assist in diverting them from the taxi.

“We were waiting first!” they insisted while continuing to forcefully usurp the car.  The ladies were already slithering their way into the cab as the man ran around and began to argue in French directly with the cabby.  The lone dark woman randomly grabbed at Patrice as if she were going to try to enter the taxi with the other women.  Patrice spun away from her.  Then angry lone lady got a hold of a Canadians leg and tried pulling her from the cab.  It was all happening so fast it was difficult to understand what had transpired.  We were able to surmise that the cab stopped at the wrong Taxi post first and the violent radical terrorists were waiting at head of the cue of a much more lengthy line at what was supposed to be the first taxi stop and saw two women about to capitalize on the mistake.  The taxi driver was now out of the cab seemingly trying to explain the situation and extricate the Canadians from the cab to honor the obviously more influential gun totting extremists.  We watched in horror as the two ladies in the cab clutched handles and seatbelts and seat cushions as the interlopers yanked their extremities from both side doors of the cab.  The driver stood outside the cab idly offering expletives in French.

Another taxi pulled up and signaled for Patrice and myself to get in his car and upon seeing the limbs twisting through the air from the other cab he began to wave us in with urgency.  Patrice grabbed me and pulled me into the cab.  The taxi sat for a moment watching the scene play out before us.  One of the two women was kicking the couple off of her as the man had her extended in mid air by her legs, her arms held tightly to her friends grasp.

As our car sped off as we starred vacantly at this confusing drama of foodie inspired violence.  I had to wonder where the combatants were headed.  That restaurant must have really been something special.  I watched the blows of flailing limbs out the back window and couldn’t shake an feeling of survivors pain for having left the scene unscathed.  Suddenly having remembered something, I blurt out loudly in an awkward frenzy, “Le Dome! We have a reservation at Le Dome!”