Staff Reporter

Amid the usual lunch-hour rush at Le Dome, one of the best seats in the house remains empty a cozy spot in the corner, located prestigiously on the restaurant's terrace. That's because the table belongs to television producer Hal Brown.

Brown, chairman and chief executive of Marquee Entertainment Inc., has reserved his favorite table at the Hollywood haunt every Monday through Friday for the entire year. If he's busy, or plans on dining elsewhere, he'll call the restaurant and alert the manager of its availability.

That isn't the case today. Dressed Hollywood casual, with gray jacket and slacks and a black dress shirt open at the collar, Brown rolls in at 1:15, with his assistant Deborah Citraro in tow. Taking his usual seat, he orders a Skyy vodka. She orders water.

Why lunch at the same place day in and day out? Superstition has something to do with it.

"I've done a lot of business deals here. I've gotten a green light on a production or a licensing agreement with a foreign distributor," says Brown, who has been lunching at Le Dome in West Hollywood for 17 years. "Perhaps the deal would've been made anyway. But "

After 45 minutes of smoking and talking shop on the terrace, the two have yet to order a meal. Eventually, waitress Melanie Boyd places a pair of menus on the table. "For your convenience, when you're ready," she says.

Boyd, who became the first (and remains the only) woman server at Le Dome four years ago, knows better than to intrude on her high-powered clientele. "If there's a problem, it's always your fault. If the steak's not cooked right, it's your fault," she says. "So you try the best you can and be gracious. If people want the steak medium rare, you try to get them to specify how pink that is."

Finally, Brown is ready for lunch. He's somewhat superstitious about that, as well, ordering corned beef and cabbage every Thursday. On other days, if he doesn't like what he sees, he'll have the chef whip up something special. Today, for instance, he asks for scampi.

Boyd, a petite 40-year-old clad in a white shirt and short black skirt, with matching apron and satin tie, hurries the order to the kitchen and turns her attention to the other tables in her section.


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