Best Frontperson Besides Al Biernat - 2005
Hector Garcia, Hector's On Henderson
No matter how earnestly gourmands discuss truffle oil or jicama or whatever, the success of a restaurant hinges on the human element. In other words, ambience and service matter more than food. That's why the best restaurants find someone to set the tone, make an outstanding first impression. Comely babes with firm implants work in a pinch, sure. Remembering names and treating each guest with the utmost respect, well, Al Biernat built his namesake restaurant into an institution just by holding real conversations, however brief, and showing great concern for each guest. Hector Garcia employs similar tactics. He bears the same casual dignity as Biernat, putting people at ease without betraying the restaurant's high standards. As he maneuvers through the room he checks on everyone, yet never intrudes. His sincerity is evident when concerns pop up. Complain, and he'll fix it. Or at least listen carefully and provide an explanation. Yes, Hector's serves tremendous food. But Garcia, he distinguishes the place from all 5,000 or 6,000 other restaurants in and around Dallas.