In restaurants I've patronized repeatedly, I appreciate being seated at my favorite tables when I call for the reservation. A great maitre d' has this written in 'the book' and doesn't have to be given table numbers. (In places where I'm not a regular, or where I've never been, I like and appreciate being given a good table - - not near the kitchen door, or back in "Siberia"). A good maitre d' can also pinch hit for the sommelier and should know how to pair wines with what we're ordering. Lastly, I appreciate a maitre d' who will come by a few minutes after the dinners are served, to briefly check with us to make sure we don't need anything else. That's about it - - - until we leave, and then it is nice to say goodbye and chat for a few seconds. A good maitre d' is someone you'll want to generously remember at Christmas - and each time you enter the restaurant.
As far as the waiter (or waitress) goes, I appreciate them greeting us and taking the first drink and appetizer orders. Then - as Jeff said above, leaving us alone for a bit while we enjoy those things, and look over the wine list and menus. I don't mind hearing about a few specials, but only if they include the price at the end of each description. When the soup or salads arrive, let us eat those, without bringing the dinners out early. I appreciate them clearing dishes and using the little crumb scraper before bringing the dinners. I appreciate them replenishing bread & butter, plus water and drinks without us having empty glasses. I appreciate them remembering who got what - - - - and never, ever sending someone else out with the food who might say, "OK folks, who got the chicken?" Please - never try to remember or memorize, and just write it down in order, and deliver the plates without asking who got what. Check back in a few minutes for anything we might need, and keep an eye out for our glances or signals that we want something else. Never bring the check until we are really ready for it. Don't say "folks" or "you guys" and just be nearby but not hovering over us. A great attitude and a great waiter will get the best tip (at least 20% - 25%).