Five afternoons a week, Manny Garcia comes through the door at Mizuna, silent, nearly invisible, and begins to wash the lobster pots. While the servers and cooks gather around the bar for family meal, sharing food articles and restaurant gossip, Manny takes his meal outside, enjoying a brief moment of peace before the evening’s service.
As the sun sets and the dining room fills, Manny will attend to the handling of Reidel stemware and laguiole knives (which have to be tended to by hand), an extensive variety of plates in every shape and size, miniature and enormous copper pots, rotary blades, knives, sauté pans, and dessert molds.
He will do so with such quiet finesse, such precision, such speed–that even working alone in the dish-pit on a Saturday night (when Mizuna will serve over a hundred people within her tiny walls), Manny will not break a single crystal stem. He will move stealth-like among the cooks, dropping newly cleaned plates in their places, pots on their racks, pans on their hooks–so that we barely realize there is a steady supply of essential tools. Silverware appears from seeming nowhere for servers to set new tables. And when Manny leaves on Saturday night—the last man out the door on the final night of the week—he will grab the flowers that sit in the window sill and bring them home to his wife–
As he has done at every week’s end, without missing a single evening of Mizuna service, Saturday or otherwise, for over ten years.