by Douglas Zellers, General Manager
Ray’s was presented an opportunity in February to host a group of six private wine collectors who wanted to enjoy a very special tasting and dinner. My task was to personally help plan and execute a 5-course menu with wine pairings and coordinate both wine and food service for the group.
The challenge was apparent when I was told that they would be bringing M. Chapoutier’s top tier Ermitage wines. For those of you that like scores, these were Robert Parker 100 point wines from the 89, 90 and 91 vintages. The game was on.
I decided right then and there to have some fun and provide technical wine service adhering to the Court of Master Sommeliers protocol for this group. Among other things this involves table side decanting…in the middle of our small dining room…on a Saturday night at 7pm… and that is where we really had some fun. Our culinary and service team performed flawlessly and we shined the entire evening. Our guests were overwhelmed.
The wines were absolutely amazing, our guests were beyond cordial, and the food was spot on (thank you Chef Paul). But that’s not what stuck in my head as I was driving home that night. In preparing for the evening I was able to raise the level of attention to detail for the entire team, for the entire night. It took me almost two hours to polish and set six place settings, 30 glasses, five decanters, etc. Every single detail counts.
In serving this group, I was able to connect with almost every other table in that end of our dining room; From a husband and wife in the corner enjoying a quiet night out to the bubbly eight-person party celebrating a friend’s birthday. Every guest counts. I realized that what we did that night, however detailed, was not that far out of the ordinary for Rays. Ray’s Boathouse provides excellent service each and every night.
Do we provide technical wine service each and every night? No. However, we excel at “reading” our guests. We treat each group as the individuals that they are, and in the manner that is appropriate for the occasion. Our team is skilled at engaging you, defining the level of service you desire, and reacting properly. Some people just wish for a quiet night with a loved one looking out over the water. We do that. Some come here for a casual celebration with lots of interaction from the staff. We do that too. Technical service by the book has changed. The “book” has become our “guests.” And it’s up to our team to read.
Did you know? Ray’s offers event catering in Seattle, off-site and right next to our restaurant in Ballard, for special events, weddings, official ceremonies, and more. Enjoy a spectacular front row view of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains!