I immediately feel underdressed. I unruffled and tuck in my shirt. My lack of jacket and square, dress pants and clean shaven face leaps out at me among the crowd. I feel the grungy PI wanderered into high society.
A man I imagine the manager walks straight back around the floor. Every step,m every motion is crisp. His pale blue pocket square, matching his shirt and those of his wait staff, is a pressed triangle. Half the tables are full, but weather and a late seating could explain that. Perhaps something else. By the end of my meal, as we close out lunch service, the dining room and lounge will be empty save front of house.
Success and lower linger in the air. Men sit either ramrod straight (on their way up with something to prove and/or show off) or slouch into crumpled lumps (reached their zenith and taking a leisurely slide down until the end), hunching over their well-plated meals.
An elderly, bespeckled woman pushes macarons into her mouth; an avalanche of crumbs falls out with each chew.
Three quarters of the woman eating are blond, young and old alike.
All but a few (save the staff) wear watches. Tumbleweeds hang above the dining room; onetwists and turns to an unfelt breeze. The rest hang still.
The Human Engineer and the Wisen Scientist join me this lunch, and after several unmemorable, fully-edible courses—there was a ramen-like chicken soup, a pasta, a fish on a salad maybe?—a bottle of red and a plate of cheese and cookies, we three all shared the same thought.
“Nice place. Overpriced, unless you’re billing the company. Let’s never come back.”
180 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V 3X3