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Levi Dalton Remembers a Fine Dining Disaster

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All throughout Shitshow Week 2012, restaurant industry professionals will be sharing stories about working in shitshows, and the shitshow moments that they've experienced in otherwise solid establishments. Right now: Levi Dalton, the accomplished NYC sommelier behind the I'll Drink to That podcast.

2012_shitshow_week_logo_2012.jpgSo I was working at this restaurant. No names, but it was the most expensive restaurant in America at the time, maybe the world. I was in the office with the reservationist. Like every reservations office in the world it was pretty tiny. Everything is normal, no drama. "Hello, how can I help you? And how many people are in your party?" Normal stuff. Things are going swimmingly, no issues.

Then one of our biggest regulars calls in. This is the most expensive restaurant in America, mind you. And this is basically our biggest regular. He spends tons of money. So the reservationist picks up the phone "Ooh, hello Dr. So and So! Great to hear from you! How can I..." and then "OHHH SHIT!! OH FUCK! FUCK FUCK FUCK!! FUCK ME!!'" The reservationist is screaming. Screaming! The ceiling panel above her had actually opened up and there was a cascade of water falling on her. It was raining indoors. Except this wasn't just rain, this was a freaking torrent of a waterfall.

She jumps up out of her chair. She's totally and utterly drenched with water. Turns out a pipe had burst up two stories above us. It was a new building. I guess things like this happen sometimes in new buildings. Somehow, watching all this, I'm totally in the clear, like there are maybe two drops of water on my leg. And I don't even get what is happening for a while. But the reservationist, she's pretty smart, and she recovers pretty quick. The water stops. She picks up the phone from the soaking floor and goes to dry it off. Then: "Dr. So and So?? You're still there?! Ooooh NO, Dr. So and So, I wasn't talking to you AT ALL, not AT ALL, Dr., REALLY..."

Man, I still crack up when I think about it.
— Levi Dalton
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