This public servant got a taste of a different kind of service on Friday night in Brooklyn Heights.
Former Borough President Marty Markowitz served as maitre d’ at the neighborhood standby Noodle Pudding for the dinner crowd. Clad in an eye-catching Hawaiian shirt, the erstwhile Mr. Brooklyn sat guests, refilled wine, and bused tables at the decades-old Italian restaurant as part of his new gig as outer-borough tourism czar for the city’s marketing and tourism arm. The eatery’s owner said Markowitz was completely at home behind the host’s station.
“Marty is a natural — what kind of question is that?” said Anthony Migliaccio. “He’s a public servant. It takes that kind of a common sense in this industry as well.”
Friday was Markowitz’s first foray into front-of-house work, but taking plates and topping off glasses is in his blood, Markowitz said.
“This is my first venture, but the truth is my dad was a waiter of a kosher delicatessen,” he said.
Markowitz wasn’t just there to seat guests. His main agenda was boosting local businesses and giving tourists advice on where to go in Brooklyn, he said.
When The Brooklyn Paper caught up with Markowitz halfway through his two-hour shift, the restaurant was starting to fill for its evening rush, but Markowitz had only fielded one tourists’ questions about where to head after dinner.
“I suggested the wine bar right down on the corner here — the Brooklyn Heights Wine Bar — it’s a tremendous place,” Markowitz said.
One patron watching Markowitz attend to diners said the whole affair was a tad uncanny.
“I’ve never seen him clean anything in the house at all,” said Markowitz’s wife Jamie. “So this is surreal.”