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Beyond the Flavor: The Sights and Sounds of a Perfect Meal

on September 30, 2017
In many ways, going to a restaurant is like adopting a home away from home for the duration of a single meal. Whether you venture out solo or with family, during brunch or dinner, or you find yourself at the bar or seated at your usual table, your dining experience is about the comfort and luxury of a delicious meal combined with the pleasure and nourishment of great service. In a sense, the perfect meal is about so much more than flavor: It’s about home comforts, achieved without the responsibilities of the home place getting in the way. Simply put, we go out to eat so we can be treated to something special and unique from what we are usually able to provide ourselves. Maybe at home you are a gourmet chef, undiscovered by professional kitchens and a jewel to your family and friends around the holidays. Or, maybe you are, at best, a Ramen noodle expert. No matter how skilled with a knife and spatula you are, we all occasionally need a break. So, the first sense a perfect meal must appease is the general sense of aesthetic. Our minds seek different things depending on who we are – some seek elegance, some seek humility, and some seek practicality. But, upon entering a restaurant, the mind takes instant assessment of what we are seeing, hearing, and smelling. We notice the décor, the music, the lights, and the aromas wafting in from the kitchen. We take it all in during our first deep breath inside the establishment, and our observations become more granular. We quickly notice the servers, dressed as they are in the vestments of the particular business we’ve chosen to eat at. Are they displaying a sense of urgency as they bustle from table to table? Does the host present themselves as friendly, but professional enough to warrant a night out? Is the bartender pouring that martini with just the right amount of olive juice, or are all of these individuals cutting corners as we scan the room for signs of what to expect? Being the complete individuals that we are, our observations shift from what we can easily see to what we hear with our secondary senses. The communication coming from the chefs and kitchen staff tell us how happily our food is prepared. The tap-tapping of dancing feet lets us know that people come here to enjoy themselves, as well as each other. As glasses clink and liquor splashes from the bottle, the sounds create a harmonious music which can only be found in the echoing halls and dining rooms of the world’s restaurants. What would a dining experience be without the foreshadowing smells emanating from plates and bowls all around us? As we survey the menu, taking in our options for the evening’s courses, our decision is influenced by the many different aromas coming from appetizers, entrees, and desserts occupying nearby tables. Some may be tempted to request a sampling of their neighbor’s choices, but the fear of committing such a faux pas leaves them ogling the menu, instead. It is liberating and exciting all at once. Freed from our own kitchens and culinary abilities, we can peruse the international menus of our favorite restaurants with nervous anticipation about the meal which awaits us. Yet, the fear of making the wrong choice can create serious limitation. Fortunately, if you choose the right restaurant, you can be alleviated of these fears. Believe it or not, there are those institutions which take pride in every aspect of providing the perfect meal; from the sights, to the sounds, to the smells, textures, and flavors – as well as so much more. Make a reservation at Atlas Steakhouse, and experience exactly this kind of restaurant during your next, most perfect, dining experience.