A very good example of surprise and delight

I arrived for an early dinner at 5:45 pm, and the handsome Flatiron restaurant — all warm woods, with accents of nautical colors — was mostly empty, save for a few anchor tables where diners were hanging easy with some drinks and a few plates, delighting in the calm energy before the inevitable storm of 7 o'clock.

My dad was running late, so I didn't check in immediately. Instead, I tried to take a good photo of a figurine that was resting on the host stand. There were several figurines, all famous basketball players, but the one I was interested in was Patrick Ewing, in his Knicks jersey, of course — #33.

Dinner was the pregame. Afterward, we were headed to Madison Square Garden.

I am sure that the GM who was working the door noticed my interest in the miniature Ewing, but she didn't say anything. When I informed her that my date was behind schedule, she sat me anyways, leading me down a single step into the sea of space and towards a corner table.

And there it was again: the Ewing figurine — clad in Knicks blue, knees bent, arms raised above his head, the ball in his hands. Facing him, in the same stance, was another legend: Shaquille O'Neal, in his Orlando Magic uniform.

Yes, the Knicks were playing the Magic that night.

When my dad arrived only moments later, I was settling into our booth, giddy. "Look!" I gestured towards the centerpiece. A broad smile spread across his face as he reached for his phone and snapped a picture. In an instant, our collective excitement level had skyrocketed.

When he made the reservation, he relayed that we had a game to catch after and that the tip-off was at 7:30. And, full disclosure: we know the restaurateur. Still, I don't doubt that they'd provide this kind of experience for any guest that gives them an opportunity to.

In true, sad form the Knicks got crushed by the Magic that night. But that's okay. Our magical moment had already happened — at dinner.

I'm curious to hear about other brilliant gestures of surprise and delight. Share your stories with me, and I'll highlight some of my favorites in an upcoming letter.

🏀 + 🐳 = 💙
Simon & The Whale
23 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10010
(212) 476-1924

P.S. If you go, order this: striped bass crudo, spaghetti acqua pazza.