BEST SERVICE AT A RESTAURANT - 2006
Napa Valley Grille
There's something incongruous about being coddled, feted, pampered, respected, celebrated, and deferred and demurred to, in a shopping mall. And not just any shopping mall, but one that's home to an amusement park, an aquarium, and enough food courts to feed all the teenyboppers in the five-state region, all of whom seem to be there on any given weekend. There you are, trying to remember which level of Dante's inferno you left the Jetta parked on and just why it is that you expected Nordstrom's bra fitters to have time for you on a Sunday, when there it is, in all its lushly upholstered, jewel-toned splendor: a real restaurant with a real name-brand chef (Royal Dahlstrom) creating entrees out of real (sometimes local, even) meats and produce, and a really, really accommodating, pleasant, gracious staff. They'll take your coat, usher you into a big soft booth, help you navigate the gigantic California-specialist wine list without so much as a whiff of up-sell, and in general make sure you feel like it's an important Saturday night on the town and not a mid-spree stop for fuel.