City Paper is not for tourists
Phoebe Damrosch didn’t set out to write a book when she first started waiting tables at Per Se in New York City. In Service Included, Damrosch’s memoir that may be as dirt-free as Per Se itself, the struggling writer says her motivation was food, pure and simple. She had always loved food, and what better place to learn about it than in über-chef Thomas Keller’s four-star mecca off Central Park? Damrosch spends the first half of her book sighing and smirking at all the rules and requirements of the job. In that sense, Per Se stands as the antithesis to the shitholes that Anthony Bourdain profiled in Kitchen Confidential—we’re supposed to be shocked at the exacting prissiness, not the skuzzy, crack-addled horror of it all. And maybe we are, but really we want gossip. I suspect Damrosch will be more inclined to deliver that and, unlike in the book, name names when she talks about her memoir in person. After all, no libel lawyers will be lurking over her shoulder. Damrosch discusses and signs copies of her work at 7 p.m. at Olsson’s Books & Records, 418 7th St. NW. Free. (202) 638-7610.