On my last trip to Las Vegas, my wife V and I got a last minute impulse to go to Picasso at the Bellagio. With no reservations and the time approaching 7pm, we accepted the fact that we would probably just sit at the bar.
We approach the hostess who immediately asked if we had reservations. I sheepishly say, “No, but was hoping they could squeeze us in and that we would be happy to dine at the bar.” She goes through the normal routine of looking over tables and resos and comes back to escort us to a table on the interior of the restaurant. It is obvious why this table was available but V and I didn’t care we were just happy to get in and I quickly ordered a couple glasses of champagne. Desi, the sommelier, stops by to welcome us to restaurant. With his opening dialog he discovered it was our 9th anniversary, we had never dinned there before, and we would love to have after dinner drinks on the patio and watch the water show.
Desi quickly sizes up the situation and comes back a few minutes later and asks if we would like to spend the entire evening dinning on the patio. The next thing I know we are toasting champagne while 100 foot skyscraping towers of water explode just a few hundred feet a way.
As if this was not enough, Desi and Jose, the waiter, came back to let us know that the Chef Serrano would be happy to prepare a special dinner to commemorate our anniversary. Faced with another tough decision we quickly hand our menus over to let Chef Serrano, Desi, and Jose orchestrate the entire meal.
Jose was superb. He quickly anticipated our every need and was invisible. Many times silver, plates and glassware was exchanged without notice. His conversation was light, to the point and welcoming. He took pride in his ability to service and tend to our needs.
Desi was as equally superb. He quickly sized up the style of wine I like to drink and went to work pulling some incredible and, in a few instances, very adventurous choices to go with each course. As I listened to Desi address the tables around us, his passion about the wines he chose was infectious. It did not matter weather the wine he presented was somewhat ordinary or eclectic; he represented the wine well and made people feel good about what they were going to drink. He is a Masters Candidate and with the skills I saw that night he will soon be a Master Sommelier himself.
Both Desi and Jose epitomized great service. They constantly put the spotlight on the guest, the food and the wine, never on themselves. They took great pride and derived great satisfaction out of satisfying the needs of others. Over all the entire Picasso team adapted and created a dinning experience that won’t soon be forgotten. I almost forgot, the finishing touch was customized menu signed by Chef Serrano that listed every course and wine served to us that evening. That is above and beyond!