On our recent visit to Washington, DC for the Susan G. Komen Bloggers Summit and 25th anniversary race, we stayed at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill. We arrived a day early and on that Thursday evening we had dinner at the “Article One” restaurant in that hotel. At the end of our most wonderful meal, I casually asked our waitress if she knew of a place where I could get some really good Maryland crab cakes (these were not on their menu). The young lady indicated that she didn’t know but said she would check with someone else who she knew would know. Thus began a series of events that you would almost have to have seen in order to believe.
I casually asked our waitress if she knew of a place where I could get some really good Maryland crab cakes (these were not on their menu). The young lady indicated that she didn’t know but said she would check with someone else who she knew would know. Thus began a series of events that you would almost have to have seen in order to believe.
Soon from another area, the manager of the restaurant, Tyler, appeared at our table and after introducing himself to Kirk and me told us that he understood that we were looking for some fantastic Maryland crab cakes and named some crab place that was a short distance from the hotel. But, he added, the most fantastic crab cakes that he ever tasted were prepared by the head chef of the restaurant. I explained that it had been more than 30 years since I had been in this part of the country and all I could think about was the crab cakes that I had enjoyed while growing up in this area. He asked how long we were going to be in town and we told him that the next evening would be our only opportunity to return to the restaurant. He asked for our name and room number and he indicated that he would see what he might be able to do. But, we heard nothing from him after that so I figured it was all a moot point and that I would just have to wait for another return trip to the East Coast in order to once again enjoy one of my all-time favorite foods.
The next evening we returned to the restaurant and neither the waitress from the evening before nor Tyler was working. I gave no further thought to the matter as the maître ‘d, Buffa, who had seated us the previous evening greeted us and showed us to a table. We ordered something to drink and Kirk ordered an appetizer and entrée from our waiter, Ghirmay, while I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. Ghirmay disappeared and shortly thereafter reappeared at the table with the drinks and asked whether my name was Jacoby. I said yes and asked him how he knew and then he disappeared and the chef appeared at the table and soon the most unbelievable tale began to unfold.
It seems that Tyler, the manager, had talked to the head chef, who was on duty on Thursday night to arrange for the sharing of his secret recipe for his famous crab cakes with Gerard, the chef on duty on Friday night. Gerard would then prepare them on Friday night after learning whether we wanted them as an appetizer or entrée. Tyler had also talked to the maître ‘d, Buffa and asked him to seat us in the section of the restaurant on Friday evening where Ghirmay, our waiter would be serving. Tyler then spoke to Ghirmay, pointing us out and letting him in on the caper. So when Gerard arrived at our table and told us what was happening, I was floored. The personnel at this restaurant didn’t know us. We weren’t anyone who would be recognized as famous. However, we were sure getting the star treatment. And we were about to enjoy the most fantastic crab cakes that even exceeded all of the memories that I had held in my mind for decades.
Tyler had even sent an email to the restaurant manager on duty that evening and she stopped by the table to see how everything was. We told her how overwhelmed we were with what a group of people that we didn’t even know had put together for us and she explained that they always strive to bring the best customer service to the table for everyone. This is what the Hyatt expects from its employees. Well, I have had some fantastic customer service at lots of restaurants from coast to coast in this country and at some of what are known as the finest restaurants and nothing could begin to hold a candle to what we received at this restaurant by this staff. The chef took over our dining experience and prepared both some fabulous appetizers and a spectacular entrée for me. He then incorporated the crab cakes into Kirk’s entrée of rack of lamb as well. I was in heaven.
When dinner was done, the waiter asked us about dessert and Kirk indicated that he would like to see the menu. The waiter indicated that they would surprise us and Kirk said that as long as it was chocolate, we would be happy. What we got in two decadent chocolate desserts each was the crowning glory to one of the most fantastic dinners I have ever enjoyed in my life. This was not just fantastic food but one of the most wonderful dining experiences a person could ever experience. To the staff at the Article One restaurant, there are no words to thank you enough for all that you did for us. All that I can say to everyone else is that if you are in the District of Columbia and looking for a most memorable dining experience, you should stop by the Article One and tell Buffa, Ghirmay, Gerard and Tyler that Barbara Jacoby sent you. But, then again, you don’t need to say that anyone sent you in order to enjoy a fantastic meal and the best restaurant staff anywhere around.
Barbara Jacoby is an award winning blogger that has contributed her writings to multiple online publications that have touched readers worldwide.