I have just returned from a Valentine’s Day dinner at the club and I want to share the experience with you. Let’s begin with the good parts.
The setting was exquisite. The dining room was beautifully laid out and tastefully set, appropriately lit and fanned with tasteful background music provided by a small, live trio. Also in the background was arguably the best nighttime view in the city. Taken together, the setting was as nice as any I have experienced, anywhere at any time. And I’ve eaten in Bedouin tents, at the Windows on the World, when the twin towers still loomed above New York city, at the renowned seafood buffet in the Sheraton in Abu Dhabi, the Two Chickens in Bucharest and Swiss Chalet in Toronto, just to name a few.
The food was delicious. It was well prepared and beautifully presented. The soup marvelous, the entrée scrumptious and the dessert memorable. A little wine and good coffee complemented the meal and the club’s friendly and familiar staff courteously served it. It’s always nice to be recognized at a favorite restaurant and that’s even more so when it is in a dining room in which you have a vested interest, share with friends and actually cares what you think of what it offers and how it offers it.
Our dining room is a rough cut gem that’s consistently undervalued among the assets of our club. On a night like this night it can stage a dining event as good as any in the city and complement it with a spectacular view and good music, all at reasonable prices, no lineups and ample free and secure parking. The fact that all of the customers have some interest in sailing and, to some extent, are a somewhat like-minded group can be considered a plus, or a minus – that’s a personal thing – but it can contribute to interesting conversations, the making of new friends, further impressing old ones, learning a bit more about your sport or just having an all-round good time with people you know in a setting you’re familiar with.
It’s a particular asset to our social members, or to those sailors who can hang their captain hats at the door and socialize with other members. But it seems to be a less considered venue when one is contemplating an outing. It just doesn’t come up in the first few places we think of going. But it should. Especially when it puts on special events such as the Valentine’s Day Dinner my wife and I just attended.
On just this one occasion we had a wonderful dinner, in a spectacular location, and had a great time. What we did not have was any wait or lineup for a table, or a table that was in anything less than a great location, or slow or inattentive service, or rushed food, all of which characterize the situation at many of the other city venues holding a Valentine’s Day Dinner this very same evening. Ours was absolutely stress and frustration free. Yours, if you had one somewhere else, likely was not.
Now here’s the bad parts. The dining room is too seldom used. It’s not just a place to visit on the 28th of the month; you can get more value from your membership by attending a dinner event at some other time when something special is being offered, or something of interest taking place. If you are a social or crew member, in particular it is a great place to take friends or family during the off-season. They will enjoy it too, and thank you for it. Or you can use it to satisfy a baser instinct, just to impress someone with dinner at your club. Just getting through the gated entrance then driving by a long row of “yachts” should set that stage.
So here’s the thing. Do yourself a favour and make use of the club dining room, particularly during the off-season. Take full advantage of your membership access to this otherwise restricted great feature of your club. Make it your winter weekly sail.
And don’t do it alone. Bring a friend.
Or even better, bring two.