One of the best parts was the incredible service. You can't count the servers, and I'm not sure I could enumerate all the things they did, but I'll try: greeters (4 or 5 people greeted us at various stages in our progression from the door to the table); provided hot towels (continuous throughout the meal - I think I received 4 or 5 changes of hot wash-cloths, with which I wiped my face and hands and sometimes the table in front of me -- and even the handles of the spoons when they fell into the broth); eye-glass cloth providers (everyone wearing glasses at the table was presented with a complimentary cloth for cleaning one's glasses); of course, the people bringing the various ingredients to the table, and taking away used dishes; people guiding you through the line of condiments on the sides of the dining room (there must have been 3 dozen various flavorful sauces, herbs, spices, vegetables, nibblies etc.). Plus, people came around and over the coats we had slung over the chairs, they pulled red cloth bags, top-down over the backs of the chairs, so that the coats did not get splashed or tripped over. Likewise, anybody with a backpack got their pack placed neatly in a red bag an placed under the chair. And we were each clothed in a red apron to prevent splashes from getting on our clothes.
Peter told us that this restaurant has a reputation of treating its staff so well that they do not want to leave. The whole experience was very high-energy. At the end, when most of the people in our group had gone off to catch their planes, Bill, Peter, Andre (new friend) and another student in Peter's program and I were able to simply sit and chat for some time while our host (Professor Bai Tongdong) was finally able himself to eat something. Good host that he was, he had been too busy making sure everyone else was taken care of to be able to eat until the end. So we had a quiet, low-key conversation for another forty-five minutes.