So there I am looking at two mauve lamb chops criss crossing like a delicate ballerina and wondering how I am going to manage eating the tender morsels without licking the juice off the plate. It’s a hard decision, knowing how to behave in public and knowing when to stop imbibing on all those horrid things that someone one day whispered would make you fat. But of course there is nothing horrid on my plate or the one that came before or it the one that will subsequently follow this guilty plate. Flaco the maitre d knows this and the charismatic host is just sitting there smiling away betting inside him that there’s no way I’m ever going to put my fork and knife away. But of course these are the little inconveniences of spoiling oneself with too delicious food. I am destined it seems to add this little West Village charmer ‘Volare’ on to my Rolodex.
Being groomed in European dispositions I inquire if it would be civil of me to go have a smoke while I wait for the Soglila Piccante (a fancy way of saying sauteed fillet of sole). Flaco the rogue smiles and leads me to the outdoor garden where he nonchalantly inquires what I’d like to smoke. What ever is in my pocket I am thinking, but that wont do. He lays a fresh pack on the table and strikes my cancer stick. Pleased I exhale and resume the horrible task of enjoying the Montepulciano wine in my hour glass.
Like gentlemen stuck in some Mediterranean port (well the cuisine is Italian, northern to be exact) we then begin to proceed reflect on the meaning of life. Why food matters so much and why this man has made it his life’s mission to create a perfect little oasis where charm and good taste take precedence. He then proceeds to tell me about how he arrived here and how after 22 years he can’t leave and that the restaurant has sustained itself and brought the world to him. Diplomats, bankers, philanthropists, professors and theater actors. He’s like a movie director that’s already anticipated his audience’s taste who keep demanding the tireless host keep making his encore appearances. It’s only after a couple dining a few feet away from my table finally on their way out come back and personally thank him. Interestingly they make little effort to disclose the fact that they are going to go back to their hotel room for an extended liaison. The rogue smiles and announces after they leave that his customers have a tendency to share the most interesting things with him. None of this of course surprises me. A consequence of being the quintessential dinner host no doubt.