January 20th, 2011 3:03 PM by Don Forrester
Le Virage Restaurant
My Experience Working in a High End Restaurant
I worked at the Le Virage Restaurant for over 20 years. My daily responsibilities consisted of Managing the Captains (Food Servers that cooked tableside), Banquet Manager and Assistant Manager all the while running my own station nightly.
Training Captains took a year of hard consistent work, within that year the Captains learned different services (American Service, French Service, Russian Service…the Russian Service was not utilized at the Le Virage Restaurant but nevertheless it was taught!). Within the realm of teaching, the Captains learned how to multi-task, they learned organizational skills and problem solving. By the time they were fully trained and on their station one would think that they had been waiting and cooking on tables for 2 to 3 years. And I still had not taught them all that I knew!
Le Virage was two stories, upstairs consisted of the banquet room which sat 50 to 55 people, there were also 5 private rooms that sat anywhere from 2 to 12 people. Keep in mind that the building was over 70 years old. Captains and their Assistant Waiters would run up and down these old stairs all night long. Downstairs was dedicated to regular dinning which could be turned into banquet facilities when needed. SERVICE, SERVICE, SERVICE was pounded into us at all times!!
As I worked my own station like everyone else, I had to be very well organized. On top of this I had to be very good at what I did to pull off all my other responsibilities. Remember I was there to make money on my tables and that I did. I had a tremendous amount of requests that I took care of! Le Virage was a very busy Restaurant, it could be very very stressful at times!!
It was a very sad moment in time when the decision was made by the owners to close the Restaurant down after 33 years of business. With all of my experience in service and running a Restaurant I have a tremendous amount of information and help that could be beneficial. This is the reason for writing my blogs… to help individuals in the Restaurant world as servers as well as diners.
With that being said, all of the multi-tasking, social and organizational skills that I acquired through very stressful times have now become a huge asset for me and my clients in the Real Estate field.
At one time we prepared 30 items at the table; most of these
were flamed table side:
2. Lobster Bisque (soup flamed)
3. Spinach Salad
4. Caesar Salad
5. Dover Sole (boned at the table)
6. Duck (whole duck carved, flamed, sauce made at the table)
7. Chicken (whole chicken carved, flamed, sauce made at the table)
8. Three different Filets cooked at the table from scratch (flamed, sauce made at the table)
9. Two different New York’s cooked at the table from scratch (flamed, sauce made at the table) One was the Steak Diane
10. Steak Tar (New York steak prepared raw)
11. Pepper Steak (flamed and sauced)
12. Lobster Flambé (flamed and sauced) Although at one time we actually cracked live lobster at the table then flamed it and created a sauce for it
13. Chateaubriand (As close to Russian Service as we got, carved the meat and plated vegetables and palm anna potatoes)
14. Filet de Boeuf en Groute ( same procedure as #13)
15. Prawns Virage
16. Strawberry Flambé
17. Bananas Foster
18. Raspberry Flambé
19. Peach Flambé
20. Baked Alaska
21. Crepes Suzette
22. Crepes Suzette & Strawberry Flambé combined
23. Grand Meniere and Chocolate Soufflés
24. Zabione (Sauce for Grand Marnier Soufflés)
25. Flamed Liqueurs, Cognacs & Armagnacs (heating two snifters, if not warm enough will not flame, if to hot snifters will crack….after liqueur flames you then pour from shoulders height the one that is flaming to the other snifter that is belt high…you miss and you have flaming alcohol all over your hand, it burns like gasoline. You only miss once or twice and never again!!)
26. Any type of coffee drinks (take one snifter and rub edge of glass in ½ orange then dip in white sugar. Take snifter and heat edge of glass so sugar crystallizes then repeat process on #25, pour coffee in glass add whipped cream and a float of appropriate liqueur on top)
27. Café Diablo (three different liqueur’s, double strength coffee, brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, and orange and lemon that has had its outer skin spiraled off the fruit…cloves in the orange. Take a ladle add liqueur’s, heat them as the liqueur is on fire pour it down peels that have one end attached to a fork held shoulder height
28. The other three are the extra Filets & New York steaks