Staff Reporter

It's all in the details, according to Isaias Ledesma.

As service director at the downtown City Club, where some of L.A.'s most prominent business and political players can be seen most any day of the week, it's Ledesma's job to make sure each member is properly coddled.

"Many of our members are workaholics," says Ledesma as he polishes silverware lined up in preparation for lunchtime guests. "So when they come here they want everything perfect, so they can relax. They want a home away from home."

To meet that challenge, Ledesma gathers with the club's senior staff for a 10 a.m. planning session.

One member, who is hosting a dinner party, has asked that she be given a wine list before the meal because she expects her guests to drink a lot and doesn't want the wine to be too expensive. A lawyer who has been using the Santa Barbara Room for business meetings has made his regular request that bread and toothpicks be on hand.

A member planning an early-morning conference has asked for three round tables and scrambled eggs, but will bring his own overhead projector. Then there is the traditional Irish warriors' feast that chef Derek Healy, a native of Ireland, has planned for the Dodgers on opening day.

The receptionist has asked that a box of toothpicks be placed on the front desk. But that idea is rejected.

"We're a club, not a restaurant," says Juan Robles, the maitre d'.

"Anyway," jokes Healy, "our food doesn't stick to your teeth."

The meeting breaks up at 10:30 a.m., in time for the "family lunch," at which the entire staff is invited to eat in one of the club's two dining rooms.

"We think our people will do a better job of serving lunch if they have a full stomach," says Ledesma.

And they eat well. On this day, Healy has prepared a large bowl of spicy ceviche, a South American dish of raw tuna mixed with vegetables, garlic and lemon juice.

The entire staff sits together, dishwashers and waiters, private room managers and the receptionist, amid the crystal and silverware that will in a short time be in the hands of L.A.'s most powerful schmoozers.

While the waiters are finishing their lunch, room manager Rene Monterosa is putting the final touches on the private rooms, where members can both dine and hold business meetings.


For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.