I'm here to tell you, it CAN be done! On Mom's birthday, we celebrated at our very favorite restaurant, one I've raved about here before, chef extraordinaire Peter Brave's "Brave New Restaurant." This is a fabulous place, and pretty fancy-schmancy--it's not overly pretentious, but it's the kind of place where Alex and I can drop $100 on dinner with ease. And we don't drink, so...that's just for food, chil'ens. And it's worth every penny, the food's that good. Peter Brave is...well, my culinary hero.
Obviously, we don't get to go often, so we don't want our experience (or anyone else's) wrecked by the Wrath Of She Who Is Capable Of Sonic Screaming At A Moment's Notice. This very topic was just discussed on a friend's blog recently, so I was acutely aware of the various pitfalls of including a just-three-year-old in an evening of fine dining. We also had her eight-year-old cousin Grayson with us, but he is fortunately well beyond the age at which he would suddenly go Tasmanian Devil or spit directly ON us.
We've learned something. The secret to the success of such a venture lies not only in the hands of the child and her parents, but also in the savvy of the restaurant owner, management, and staff. This is not a booster-seat place, but I have a feeling that had we needed the "boost," they'd have come up with something. First up, the quick service upon our arrival. We all had something to drink and our orders taken swiftly. Then, greatest of all, and to our surprised delight, before appetizers or salads were served, our children were presented with beautifully arranged, complimentary fruit and cheese plates. Genius, I tell you! GENIUS!That, my friends, is a happy child eating a grape, instead of a restless child regaling the other patrons with her Very Special, Never-Sung-The-Same-Way-Twice arrangement of "Santa Clause Is Coming To Town." This is not a "kid's menu" place. All the better, because we had all the options in the world! Bella had some not-on-the-menu angel-hair pasta, with Basil Shrimp and fresh seasonal vegetables, and there was much proclamation of, "yummmm." Grayson had fresh breaded chicken cutlets and rosemary-roasted potatoes, and was also quite happy. He enjoyed Vanilla-Bean ice cream for dessert, while Bella and I each polished off a chocolate creme brulee'--a specialty of the house. The chef was even nice enough not to "cap" hers, and no one got all snooty about it! And see? We did not leave a giant swath of destruction in our wake! A perfect evening! Well...close. Right? You can't have everything. Oh, and in case anyone is worried, I was totally prepared to whisk my little darling out of there at the first sign of noise or trouble. Fear not, if you see us at a fine restaurant with you some evening.