A good server has an attentive eye and a "customer is always right" attitude. A good server facilitates your meal, is there when you need him to be there, and otherwise leaves you alone so you can enjoy your dinner without much interruption. A great server goes further than this. A great server has an uncanny ability to read his tables and adapt to the vibe they're giving out. A great server understands when a table wants to be left alone, or when a table wants him to engage and liven up their meal. An exceptional server goes further than this. An exceptional server has a killer sense of humor - pushing the bounds of what's PC in the workplace, but never offensive because, again, an exceptional server can read his audience perfectly. Bobi Adle is an exceptional server.
Actually, Bobi is the best server. Ever. Sure, there are numerous reasons to regularly return to Frances, but I find myself being less compelled to go back for the food (which, don't get me wrong, I think is incredible), and more compelled to return for the company. I've always asserted that the food, and the food alone, is the most important part of the dining experience. But, Frances seems to be the sole exception to my rule: Bobi is the most important part of my dining experience.
Why do I think so highly of him? Simply, his incredible sense of humor mixed with his professionalism makes him stand out from everyone else I've encountered in his field. He can move seamlessly between inappropriate jokes, giving me shit, keeping an eye on all of the other tables he's serving, and ensuring that I'm never left unattended for too long. He can maintain an authoritative presence in the dining room, a la Gerard Butler in 300, even after confessing that, for ten years, he was actively involved in Broadway-esque theater and just loves show tunes. He keeps it so casual and makes you feel so comfortable that you may not guess that most of his professional experience has been in one or two Michelin-starred restaurants. It's these kinds of details, revealed little by little at each meal, that make him so interesting.
He is also a true chameleon, able to adapt to the different attitudes and personalities of the people he's serving. The first time I met Bobi, he read me perfectly, understanding that a little bit of sarcasm and irreverence goes a long way with me. But after watching how he acted with the people around us, it was clear that this isn't how he presents himself with every customer. If they want quick and attentive service, they get it. If they want to chat, but like to be serious, he's got that. If they want to let it all hang loose and get silly, he can handle it. He can be whatever you need him to be so that you have the best experience possible, an important skill that many in the industry haven't quite mastered.
Bobi, you, sir, have mastered the art of service and I want to say thank you for so many memorable nights. I'm so happy that Manresa noticed just how special you are, and that you're moving on to become their new GM. A man of your caliber should be in charge of shaping the dining experience in a restaurant of Manresa's caliber. There's no doubt that I'll miss our goofy nights at Frances, but neither the commute nor the cost will stop me from seeing you soon.
Follow Bobi on Twitter: @bobiwithani
Find Bobi at Manresa:
320 Village Ln
Los Gatos, CA 95030