Monthly Archives: May 2012

7-course apology

Vandaag, The Actress

Dear Reader,

It’s not often that I’m wrong. Truly, I can’t recall the last time, oh, dear, now I remember. The year was 19_ and my husband’s hirsute assistant, Francis, had made it big in Hollywood. He was directing the third installment of his Italian, red-sauce drama, The Grandfather.  Frankly, I failed to see what all the fuss was about.  Really, an Oscar for best adapted screenplay, for what should’ve been called best adapted Montessori classroom role call.  “Barzini is dead. So is Phillip Tattaglia. Moe Greene. Stracci. Cuneo.”  Heavens, this is one Alfredo away from being a Mama Leone’s menu.

Anyway, Francis was desperately searching for a new actress and since I was already cast in Home Alone,  I suggested his young, pudgy, pre-rhinoplasty daughter. He thought the idea brilliant. Well, no one told me they planned to film with her real nose! Had I known, I would never have suggested her. No wonder it was a flop.

All this to say that I was wrong about my initial review of  Vandaag, which was hardly generous. Prompted by a few, as the Kid says “haters,” I decided to give it another try and found the food delicate, refined, and delicious. Food fit for a lady.. Unlike most unrefined restaurants where the waiter asks the lady what she wants instead of asking the man what the lady will have, Vandaag didn’t even ask, instead, the chef chose for me. 7 courses were brought out by a model turned waiter who described the food as if reciting poetry. I admit my manners were atrocious as I slurped down the oyster course, attacked the blood sausage like a fork wielding savage and  ate every last bite, even the bitterballen.

But, dear reader, I write this review with a heavy heart as Vandaag has shuttered its East Village location for good. But be sure to look out for the sequel, Vandaag part III in Brooklyn.

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The Old Man and the Seafood

THE JOHN DORY OYSTER BAR
By Yutzi

Preamble

This Honkytonk Heaven really makes ya’ feel like hell

Yutzi here! Is this thing on? What? Someone just called me a blogger. That sounds dirty.  Hey, sweetcheeks, you like my picture of  Merle with an oatmeal cookie bomb? I found it on this thing called Goooogle, you heard of it?  Now that I’m a fancy internet scribe, please stop clogging my email arteries with photos of your recently widowed great Aunt.  And to the congressman who sent me a picture of what the Kid terms “his junk,” I’m not a doctor and have no idea what the crust on your vendekemp fishstick is- go see a proctocologist or something, jeez. Who voted that degenerate into office? What’s that, I did? Damn straight democratic ticket!

So, speaking of fishstickes, my son, Robbie, dragged me to some mid-town, yuppie-fish shack for a lunch of oysters and beer. I’m often accused of burying the lead, so here it goes: they do not accept AARP discounts – rat bastards.


They also don’t take a joke.  The first thing I saw when I sat down was a giant spherical fish tank above the front door.   I have expected to see fake snow blowing around in it, but instead it was filled with colorful tropical fish.  Anyway, the waitress came by to take our order and I pointed up and said “I’ll have the blue one.”

After that bombed, Robbie and I decided on oysters.  Now, back in my day, oysters were used as bait.  Now they’re used to bait money out of yuppies’ wallets.  $3 a pop for an excuse to eat cocktail sauce.  But I do love me an oyster, so I cashed in my war bonds and bought myself  a dozen.  After I slurped those sandy suckers down my gullet, I ordered the grilled octopus with aioli and parker house bread rolls  ($4.50 charging for bread, jeez, I thought we won the war) to mop up the octo-juice, which I washed down with a Sixpoint Pilsner from a local brewery in Red Hook (I’m sensing a nautical theme here).

The bill was pricey for lunch, especially on my fixed income. Did I mention they charge for bread rolls? When I asked the waitress for the veteran’s discount she just stared at me blankly, then laughed as if it were a joke. Hey, toots, my friends died for your freedom so you could overcharge pensioners for fancy bread rolls and bait.

 

The John Dory Oyster Bar, 1196 Broadway, New York, NY

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Beauty and the Beef

BEAUTY & ESSEX
by WOLF

I’d picked the Actress up at LaGuardia – she had just returned from her bi-annual exhaustion retreat  – and she said there’s a place she simply insisted on trying.

We arrive in the Lower East Side to a big sign reading “Beauty & Essex” in bright bulb lettering that looks like it was previously on the set of “The Price Is Right.”  So, already, I’m thinking “classy joint!”

With my date by my side we stride in and see… a wall of guitars?  I look around and notice a bunch of jewelry in the window.  How on earth did we end up at a pawn shop?  I think Yutzi previously sold a sword at this place.

The lady behind the counter quickly sensed my confusion and asked if we have reservations, and pointed us to a back door.

We walk in, and man is this place swank.  Luxurious chandeliers, spiral staircases, lovely…what are those couches called… banquets?  Ah, that doesn’t sound right.

Anyway, whatever they’re called, they’re filled to the brim with dames in short skirts and high heels, surrounded by strapping men in fine blazers.  I can already feel my wallet crying in agony.

Before getting sat, I take a gander at the drink menu…14 dollars for a cocktail!  I order up an “Old Dirty Bramble”, whatever that means, as the Actress goes downstairs to powder her schnoz.  The bartender was friendly, and makes a mean drink.  Mulled smoked blackberries?  I’m loving life.

We get sat, right as my date returned from the can with a glass of pink champagne, which she said was handed to her by a bathroom attendant.   I ran downstairs to see if they were doling out bourbon in the little boy’s room, but nothing doing.

Anyway, this was also a bit of foreshadowing, because I’m pretty sure most of the food came from the toilet too.

Godammit! Wrong photo…

First let’s talk about my appetizer.  I had no idea Hormel made carpaccio.  This flavorless batch of commodity meat was enhanced with what I think was crunched up Funyuns and leafy greens from a Chia pet, and served up to a sucker like me for $15.

Then came the Thai-influenced lobster pot pie, which was served in a crock pot that looked like a poodle’s dog bowl.  I dig in and the whole top crust comes off like it was a manhole cover.  Now, I admit they were generous with the chunks of the good stuff, but for 25 smackaroos, I want to see a lobster doing a goddamn backstroke in here.  Instead I’m trawling through bisque like the Gorton’s Fisherman for any meaty morsel I can find, even though its so heavily infused with lemongrass, you’d think the recipe called for Pledge.  Cheapskates didn’t even put crust at the bottom of the pie, just the giant confessional wafer at the top.  Meanwhile, the Actress made about 7 trips to the bathroom.

Walking out I finally ask The Actress how we ended up at this ridiculous place.  She said it was recommended to her by the stewardess on her flight.  She said it was “trendy” and that Kim Kardashan likes to go here.  Is that that broad with the big ass?  Ay yi yi, I’d let her pound my carpaccio.

Anyway, the lesson here, folks: don’t take advice on restaurants from a person who passes out bags of peanuts for a living.

Beauty & Essex, 146 Essex St., New York, NY

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Break Retention

Our writers were accidentally left on a school bus… they’ll be back after they rehydrate.

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