Ursula Nouza lives in Syosset.
My husband and I pulled into the parking lot of the posh restaurant, stopping at the valet parking sign. We were greeted by a cheerful young man who, in exchange for our car, gave us a stub, a smile and a word: "Enjoy!"
We proceeded into the restaurant, where we were greeted by a friendly hostess. We announced that we had a reservation for two, in our name, at 7 p.m. Looking at her ledger, she did indeed find our name and escorted us to a table with a nice view and fresh flowers in a vase. She helped us into our seats, gave us a smile and then, "Enjoy!"
Within a short period of time, an eager young man appeared with a pitcher of water. He smiled and poured and departed with a hearty, "Enjoy!"
"Hi there, how're you doin' tonight. My name is John and I will be your waiter for the evening." He handed us the menus and recited the specials. "If you have any questions, let me know. Would you like to order drinks?"
John brought us the drinks, together with the restaurant's famous, irresistible bruschetta. With that came his, as yet unuttered, but utterly predictable, "Enjoy!"
Next, John took our dinner order. Twenty minutes later, our medium-rare grilled Black Angus sirloin and the macadamia-nut-crusted Chilean sea bass arrived on tray-sized plates, garnished with flourishes of frizzled onions, sprigs of chives and drizzles of balsamic glaze.
John warned, "The plates are hot!" and then urged, "Enjoy!"
As soon as the level of our drinking water went down by 2 inches, the glass was refilled with another "Enjoy!"
We were, in fact, enjoying our time together, as well as the delicious meal, when inadvertently the napkin slipped off my lap. Not John, but another waiter rushed over to pick it up for me. "Enjoy!" he said as he retrieved it.
We decided not to have dessert or coffee and then wondered if, as John presented us with the requested check, we'd get another "Enjoy!"
On our way home, I thought about the business of running a restaurant. When managers train new staff, do they conduct drills? "Repeat after me: 'Enjoy! Enjoy!' "
I propose a New Year's resolution for Long Island's restaurants. English is a rich language. Why not try to come up with a new word?
Enjoy the search!