I’m officially a regular at my favorite restaurant. It’s not totally a surprise—I’ve been going there at least once a month, and sometimes two or three times, for nearly three years. I’m a picky eater and Italian is my favorite, so of course I’m going to love a place near my office where I can get a delicious, filling meal of pasta for under $15—including tip.
The menu at Il Corallo is extensive, which is more important for the numerous out-of-town visitors that I’ve taken there than it is for me. I always order some variation on pasta arrabbiata—I like my tomato sauce spicy. It’s small, with tables crowded closely together, but you never have to wait long to get a table, and the food always arrives faster than you expect it to. In the summertime they open the paneled windows that face the street. Mismatched plates adorn the walls and on each table is a tiny, fake, potted rose. It’s cute, funky, and reasonably priced, especially considering its location in SoHo.
When my friend visited this summer and we went to Il Corallo, I thought I must be imagining things when our server greeted me by first name—but my friend had heard it too. And when he came back to the table, he asked me how long I’d been coming there now. There was no question then: He definitely remembered me from my many other visits.
I’m not sure I’ve gotten special treatment or anything since being acknowledged as a regular, but that doesn’t matter. As long as they keep serving tasty, inexpensive pasta, I’ll keep going there. And I’ll keep bringing my friends, one of whom now insists on eating there at least once every time she comes for a weekend visit.
When you find a place that fills your needs so beautifully, you don’t let go—even if the bread doesgive me hiccups.