Our dinner at Avenues got off to a bad start. We had scheduled a dinner for six people on the day before our Alinea reservation, but with various cancellations and replacement diners, it turned out that Mrs. P and I would be dining there solo. So on Thursday afternoon when I checked into the hotel (we were conveniently staying at the Peninsula where Avenues is located), I phoned the restaurant to tell them we were going to be two instead of six. Unfortunately, nobody answered the phone. It was about 5:30, and I thought this a bit odd, so I decided to try again. This time, after the phone rang for a while, a man finally answered. I asked if I had reached Avenues, and told him I was trying to change my reservation for the next night. At first it seemed that he was going to tell me to call back later, but he changed his mind and said he could help me. He asked my name, and after a few moments of searching, he claimed that there was no reservation for a Mr. Plotnicki on the night in question. “What's the name again, sir?” His second crack at it wasn't any more fruitful than the first one. Finally, he said he would just make a reservation for two people on Friday evening at 8:00 p.m.