Tag Archives: nyc

Aska Silly Question

A review of ASKA

You know, for someone as light in the loafers as my son Robbie, he sure seems to have an iron constitution.  I know this, because it was his fault that I ended up at Aska, the latest “sensation” / stunt-food emporium in the Brooklyn restaurant scene.  Locally sourced, hand-picked, sustainable, forward thinking, yet nostalgic, $65 a person, 7-course Scandinavian, free-range grass-fed neo-Nazi albino chicken, swamp weeds, and fjord discharge served on pottery made by Pine Tree Mary.

We were seated at a table surrounded by bearded men and their equally hirsute women. A waiter appeared and dropped an “amused bush” on our table: dried pig-blood cracker with sea urchin foam.  That sounds like something Thor would scrape off his knee.  Safe to say, this amused Robbie’s bush more than it did any part of me.   In one movement, he golf-clapped his hands and shoved the whole rusty looking thing into his mouth, like the world’s girliest Viking.  Inside, I was already sharpening my battle axe.

“Are we really paying to eat this?” I asked as he chewed. Robbie’s smile quickly faded as he actually tasted the cracker.

“Yes,” said Robbie, spitting the cracker into his napkin, “this is one piece of meat I refuse to swallow.” He grabbed for his wine and gargled. “That was horrible.”  Now, I was amused.

Hungry, we waited for the next course. A sommelier walked over and presented us with a cabbage and beet juice cocktail to pair with our next dish, pig trotter. Cabbage juice? Pig trotter?  I’m pretty sure that was the last Exacta I hit at Aqueduct.   But I’ve learned something valuable: if you want to clear out a room, just let some cabbage and beet juice work its brown magic on ol’ Yutzi’s insides.  Works faster than a fourth scotch.

Anyway, I think you’re sensing the trend here.  Four more dishes followed with unidentified lumps of meat and vegetables.  Some of it was actually tasty, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I ate walrus and some lichen at one point.

But hey, if surviving all 7 courses at Aska gets me into Valhalla with those big blonde broads in the breast plates, it will have all been worth it.

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True Grits

SCRATCH BREAD
by the Actress

Everyone is given to decadence, even, dear reader, someone as refined as moi. You see, I’m currently convalescing (owing to a traumatic manicure where upon the manicurist launched the Tet-offensive on my cuticles) with my niece in, well, it’s quite embarrassing to admit, but, Brooklyn! And not Roebling’s Brooklyn, but the Brooklyn of some deceased, corpulent baritone named Biggie Smalls who was the 90’s Primo Uomo of rap-opera; plus a very popular fellow named Jay-Z , who I believe is the founder of a brand of exercise pants.

Since  my niece has warned against leaving her apartment at the Beyonce Pillow Factory Lofts, lest I be attacked by pitbulls, all food must be delivered…by her, since she refuses to hire my caterer! For the love of god, the idea of a strange man on a bike delivering my food…I’d order Chinese if I wanted that!  It’s bad enough that she uses wire coat hangers to hang my mink and orders in ethnic cuisine, but she insists on serving my meals on flatware by IKEA – which I believe is Swedish for Hitler-ware – instead of my beautiful 19th-Century Wedgwood China! Something about lead paint…in my day we ate lead for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Well this morning I awoke at 7am on my niece’s hideous futon (she doesn’t know this but I just ordered a velvet, clawfoot couch off  something called Craigslist and the nice man on the phone offered to throw in something called “Cleveland steaming” for free).  I was ravished and in the mood for some good-old antebellum-style Southern cooking, with lard and none of that vegan silliness the North seems to insist on. Speaking of vegan food, on the set of “The Cattle Queen of Montana,” Ronald Reagan threatened to report the caterers to the House on Un-American Activities for serving vegetables, and ever since then he’s had my vote in every election.  I don’t see why 2012 should be any different.

My niece assured me this would not be a problem and ran out to fetch my breakfast at Scratch Bread, a breakfast stand at the end of her street.

She returned with a brown paper cup full of grits, hard boiled egg, mayo and one piece of bacon floating in a pool of butter. I sniffed,  scooped, then tipped the deliciousness down my throat. I wiped my mouth with a silk napkin because I’m a lady, rifted discreetly and promptly fell back to sleep.

Scratch Bread, 1069 Bedford Avenue  Brooklyn, NY 11216

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Requiem for an affordable lobster roll

By Yutzi.

Ah Labor Day…it meant so much more when I was still a working stiff.

Instead, your correspondent, Yutzi, found himself on the coast of our beloved New Hampshire enjoying that last meal of summer: the lobster roll.

But you know what really sticks in my claw?  You see what I did there?  Claw?  Marvelous…Anyway, can anyone tell me why you can’t find a goddamn lobster roll for under twenty bucks?  WHY?

Back in Yutzi’s heyday, the lobster roll was considered the poor man’s turkey sandwich. With only three low-rent ingredients- hot dog bun, lobster and mayo- even a flappy-armed lunch lady could slap one together and call it a meal for five clams.

So, how do these three humble ingredients now end up being $19.99? Well, I spent the last week investigating and have found the causes of inflation:

1. Using more than three ingredients…stick the the script, you bunch of tutu-wearers.

2. Something called Himalayan pink salt…I think my last escort used that in her bathwater, or was that her name?

3. Acts of oxymoronic, culinary delusion: artisan hot dog bun, organic lobster, gourmet mayonnaise.  For the sake of my sanity, can someone point me to an inorganic lobster?

4. McDonald’s no longer serves the McLobster. Boy, oh boy, were those the best!  If the Hamburgler needed a lobster-lovin’ sidekick, sign me right up!

So there you have it. The beloved lobster roll is no longer affordable to anyone without a beret or a mustache. So, like your white shoes after labor day, say good-bye and order a peanut butter and jelly sandwich before those too fall into the greasy subway-pole hands of beatniks and hipster youth and set you back twenty bucks.  Yeesh.

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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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Ain’t Nothin’ But a Paulie Gee’s Thang

PAULIE GEE’S
by YUTZI

Okay, first off, what in creation does that title mean?  Who edits this shit, e.e. cummings?

Anyway, my son Robbie and I have this little game.  We can never agree where to go to dinner – he finds my selections “de-class-ay”, whatever the crap that is, and I leave his places as hungry as I came, because I’ve been eating goddamn bird food all night.

So, we play a game where I pick the cuisine, and he picks the restaurant or vice versa.  It was my turn, so I said “pizza.  I want a goddamn proper pizza pie.”  So he picked Paulie Gee’s.

I did some research first…Paulie Gee, apparently, he used to be a…what, goddamnit…claims adjuster or something.  Anyway, he chucks it all aside and buys a pizza oven.  And as soon as I walked in, I could see why: so he could surround himself with a hot waitstaff!  My god, I felt like I was back in my room, spanking it to an issue of Cosmo.

Our waitress, a sweet little Oriental number, came by and we ordered wine.  Forget the wine, sweetie, want to be the next Mrs. Yutzi?  Ninth time’s the charm, you know.  But Robbie rolled his eyes and ordered some red…with bubbles!  I don’t get that boy sometimes.

I looked around, nothing but good-lookin’ dames carrying food, just the way Yutzi likes ’em.  “Hey, Robbie check out the talent in this joint” I said, but he was busy sniffing around the menu, finally squealing like a little girl with a box of shaved kittens.  I thought maybe bubbles from the wine shot in his nose.  “Dad, I’m getting the Grapeful Dead!”

I asked if that meant grape tomatoes, but he said no, there’s actual GRAPES on the goddamn pizza!  What’s this poncey hippy bullshit?  They gonna splash it with patchuli afterward?  I told him if he ordered that kind of flowery crap, he might as well deduct the price from his inheritance.  I just about smacked the black off of him.

Then I looked at the menu and saw the “Hellboy,” some pie with honey on it.  In fact, almost everything in this place had some kind of goofy name and, I don’t know, pimentos.  I couldn’t make heads or tails of it.  The waitress came back, and I just got a plain pie, and Robbie got “the Mootz” with sausage.   Sausage, now there’s something a REAL man puts in his mouth.  That’s my boy.

I must admit, the bubbling red wine went down pretty nice, and the environs…well, they were a little woodsy and modern, whatever happened to red tablecloths?  The waitresses more than made up for it, though.  Ay, chihuahua.

Oh, and Paulie came over and said hello!  Nice guy.  I asked him to turn down the music, but he misheard me and started showing me ticket stubs on his phone from all these rock concerts he used to go to in the ‘60s.  So I told him about the time Ann Murray played on the cruise ship, back when I was tending bar, but he didn’t seem too impressed. Yeesh.

Anyway, I’ve tugged on your coat long enough about this place…but I do have good news… the pizza is delicious!  Nice burnt crust you can tug at, bubbling cheese, hearty chunks of sausage…this is the kind of place you can take a dame to.  Or Robbie.

Wolf insisted I pick him up a pie if I liked the place.  Oh, waitress, one Grapeful Dead to go…and gimme your number while you’re at it.

Paulie Gee’s, 60 Greenpoint Ave., Brooklyn, NY

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MANHATTAN INN

by WOLF

Okay, first off, why is every restaurant in this town so damn narrow?  I can barely get past the front door of this place, when I’m set upon by the white version of the black nerd from that one show, goddamnit, what was that show?  Anyway, it turns out Four-Eyes is the host.  Shouldn’t a classy-looking joint like this have a host-ESS?  Give me something with gams if I’m going to pay these prices.  I tell this schmendrick “party of one” and I thought he was going to have to whip out a sliderule, by the looks of it.

I’m whisked to the back room, where, the first thing I see is a big white piano…and a big white guy playing it!  I couldn’t believe it but there he was, boogieing and woogieing non-stop, stomping his foot on the floorboards like he was trying to put out a fire.  I have expected the wait staff to start doing the Lindy Hop.

Meanwhile, my host helpfully escorted me to my seat in the mezzanine.  He was a nice kid, so I’ll stop busting his balls.  Mind you, my seat is an old theater seat, and I think my table was a school desk once.  I remember crawling under these things for bomb drills!

I grab a cocktail menu and the first thing I see is a drink called the “French Future.”  Hey barkeep: how many shots of surrender are in that?  I decided to play it safe and get an Old Fashion.  Smooth!  I’m now sipping in style and enjoying the tunes.

Although, a couple of songs towards the end of the first set sounded a little macabre.  I fllipped a quarter into his jar as he was wrapping up and asked him who composed his last song.  He said it was by a fellow named Kurt Cobain.  Well, don’t quit your day job, Mr. Cobain.

I returned to my seat just in time for the hamburger I ordered.  I sure as hell wasn’t paying $9 for no grilled cheese sandwich!  What are they making the cheese with unicorn milk?  Yeesh.  Anyway, my burger comes, and I immediately have mixed feelings about what I’ve purchased.

On the plus side, it’s practically a towering beef-ferno, a big glorious ball of cow nestled snugly in a stately bun, served up chop house style on a stately butcher board.  The burger was so tall, I thought I was going to have to be Dagwood to eat it.

But what’s this?  BEAN SPROUTS?  What kind of PINKO puts bean sprouts on a perfectly good burger?  But there they were, sitting on top of the meat like a hippy girl’s unshaved pits.

I looked around, though, as burger after burger came out of the kitchen.  Popular item.  When in Rome, as they saying goes, so my chompers went to work.

Friends, I was not disappointed.  Salty and brown on the outside, gloriously pink in the middle, with chunks of bacon worth going to war for.  To be honest, I didn’t even mind the bean sprouts!  If nothing else, now I don’t have to floss tonight.

The piano player returned, and I’m enjoying my meal and tapping my toes.  I was in such good spirits, I ordered a Manhattan, and then things really got cooking.  I asked our waitress if she’d like to waltz, but she said was busy.  So, I decided to break the ice myself…why don’t young people like to dance?  Our piano player pounded out a sweet little shuffle, and I showed ’em all how it’s done.

Yutzi always calls me “buzzboy” when I get like this.  Ah, Yutz, you should’ve been there!

Anyway, I don’t remember much after that.  I might have cut a little too much rug for their tastes.  In fact, I may very well have pink elephant-ed this whole thing, it’s just too good to be true!  Guess I’ll find out for sure next time I want a burger.

Manhattan Inn, 632 Manhattan Ave., Brooklyn, NY

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GREEK CORNER

by YUTZI

I knew I reached the Asphodel Meadows (look it up, moron) when the waitress sat me at an aqua Formica table with a clear view of the 2/3 subway entrance.  Nick’s Greek Corner is the kind of classy joint where the waitress wears a hairnet and chastises you for ordering before your lunch buddy arrives. Fortunately, Yutzi didn’t have to eat alone…I had this guy hovering over my table to keep me company.

Check out the gyro-hole on Zeus there.  Did I mention this place is in Chelsea?

Anyway, so your hero was seated between two tables- two fat middle-aged lawyer gals, who were squeezed into their booth so snugly I thought they were going to erupt like Vesuvius- and a four-top of businessmen who looked beaten down by life in their crumpled suits, ordering sissy drinks with lemon and ice on the side, wishing they were living it up like this guy.

I ordered a large bowl of split pea soup, coffee, and the gyro plate and it only set me back $12 buckaroos.  I managed to scrape together almost $11 in unclaimed tips on the other tables, so hey, almost a free lunch!  Almost better than the price was the waitress announcing the arrival of my soup by shouting “here’s your bowl of PEE.” Bowl of pee? What, is there a fuckswing in the break room of this place?

I cracked the Daily News in an attempt to enjoy my meal in peace, but the businessmen were mumbling on about some sports bullshit, while the fat ladies giggled like little school girls between bites of their salad, like they were looking at their first dink.  Why do large girls always order salad and diet coke? Who you foolin’? We all know you are going to hit the next greasy spoon and down a large order of fries. Yutzi’s right behind you, good lookin’!

Oh, and I forgot to tell you… I saw Ed Begley Jr. there!  Or at least it was a guy who looked a lot like him. I admit it was an odd place to see such a force in Hollywood.  I would’ve said hi but I can never remember what he was in.  “Riptide”?  Ah, fuck it.

Anyway, you’re probably wondering about the food.  Well, the pea was sublime, with croutons so big they could double for a flotation device.  You could stand a fork upright in the coffee it was so thick and strong.  Fortunately, at one point, I ended up with three pitchers of milk on my table.  My bones thank you, lady.  And my gyro melted in my mouth like the tender ass meat of an Elysian game beast.

Yep, if you’re asking this guy how he prefers to spend his lunch hour, I’d definitely have to say I’ll take it Greek!

What, why are you laughing?

Greek Corner, 322 7th Ave, New York, NY

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