Best Maitre'd - 2001
Leon Bierbaum, Chez Leon
To the socially unskilled among us, the definition of the word maître'd is "intimidation at the door," a stuffy host in a dark suit out to prove to your date what a social klutz you are. Unless, that is, you take your date to Chez Leon in the Central West End. When you enter Chez Leon, the first face you'll see is that of co-owner and maître'd Leon Bierbaum. He puts you at ease and makes the blindly uncouth feel as if they own the place. This ardent Francophile has been known to pull a bright lamp into a dark corner so you can see your pâté; pass out information on Paris hotels and run block after block with your forgotten car keys -- or simply pull up a chair and start chatting.