"Someone once objected to French manners, claiming they were all on the surface. James McNeill Whistler replied, 'Well, you know, a very good place to have them.' "
- From a good "get off my lawn" style critique of the current cult of informality in restaurants in the June/July issue of Town and Country
During my most recent visit to New York City last month, I finally went to La Grenouille
, the classic French restaurant in Manhattan pictured above (it has the most flattering rosy lighting that's apparently a point of obsession for the owner
.) The T&C author holds up La Grenouille as one of the last paragons of really elegant service, and I have to say that classic style of etiquette can be really nice once in a while. It turns out that when manners are done right, the effect is not snooty at all -- it's actually very welcoming.