Locke-Ober had a row of private dining rooms on the upper floor, and it was there on one of my first visits that I witnessed the restaurant’s eagerness to please its frequently prominent clientele. The guest the late Joseph Alsop, the influential and famously snobbish columnist, who was up from Washington to get caught up on Boston’s school busing woes in the 1970s by dining with a couple of Boston Globe journalists.
When the waiter imposed on our preprandial cocktail to take our orders, Alsop ignored the menu and pointedly asked: “My man, would your kitchen have a thick mutton chop?” After a bit of a pause, the waiter assured Alsop the request could be granted. “Also,” Alsop continued, “I’d like some cole slaw. But do you cut your cole slaw thin?” The now-bemused waiter pondered the fussy question and said he would pass along the inquiry.