The Bruni Digest

In which I sit on a dirt mound somewhere in Brooklyn with my ears pricked, waiting for New York Times head restaurant critic Frank Bruni, who I imagine to be a Venetian count in a huge ruffled collar, to dole out stars from the inside breast pocket of his brocaded chamber robe. This blog is predicated on the suggestion that every Wednesday, in the Times Dining Out section, Frank lays a huge faberge egg of hilarity.

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Location: New York, New York, U.S. Outlying Islands

I am fiscally irresponsible, which means I have weak bones and a dorsal fin. And a penchant for dining out, even though I am, in the words of many rich people, a "poor people". I make a different face when speaking each of the foreign languages in which I am shittily proficient.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Stone Park Cafe: I Like Big Bones and I Can Not Lie

First, Frank admitted that the folks at The French Laundry, due to some very sophisticated usage of their voices and a telephone, had managed to alert Per Se to Frank’s impending visit after he dropped in on the California sister-restaurant for research purposes. Then Eric Ripert at Le Bernarndin goes right up to Frank and says “what up” at the table. Today, the elaborate Venetian carneval mask slips down a little further, but this time in a coy and deliberate act of revelation. Frank is going to tell us all about what toothless children everywhere call their “favowit foodth,” but what Frank would probably call “my most frequently and delightedly ingested victual preparations,” and what I call “buffalo wings”: that’s right, Frank is letting us in on some of his tastes.

But this valuable info is like the Aztec treasure at the other side of a dense verbal forest through which we hatchet away the creeping syntactical vines and slap the buzzing adverbs off our sweaty necks. God, that’s sexy. He begins:

“Parting company with most literary scholars, utopianists and ovo-lacto vegetarians, I like to think that when Henry David Thoreau wrote in 'Walden' that he wanted to 'live deep and suck out all the marrow of life,' he wasn't dabbling in metaphor. He was fantasizing about dinner, his pent-up carnivorous impulses breaking through his reputed meatless resolve."

First of all, parting with literary scholars and ovo-lacto vegetarians is usually highly advisable. I do it whenever I can.

This woman is probably an ovo-lacto vegetarian literary scholar.

But after that brilliant call, I’m pretty lost. Thoreau? Walden? Unless the pages of this “book” have been photographed in a series of stills, which are then shown in sequence, very rapidly, to create a moving image on Television, I haven’t “read” it. But it certainly is plausible that Thoreau “wasn’t dabbling in metaphor.” I mean, when Justin Timberlake said “I wanna rock your body,” I always took it like he wanted to publicly stone someone. But his point is, bone marrow is delicious, and he’s right. And he admits he’s been eating it at Prune, which is where I go when my printing press is up and running and I can churn out a couple of decent $20’s on some two-ply Charmin.

Jules at her printing press.

As the mask falls, we begin to learn that Frank is what I like to call a “hitter.” He doesn’t want you stealing shit from his plate. “If that description [of bone marrow] disgusts you, I want you with me next time I dine at Stone Park Café, because you are unlikely to encroach on my…marrow bones. If your hunger is primed, I …want you far away from my table.” Damn. BACK OFF M’ BONES, BITCH.

Weirdly, he makes his point about gluttonous, fatty marrow in Patrick-Swayze-in-Point-Break guru fashion:

“To live deep is to eat deep." EAT DEEP? Modifying a verb with an adjective? But you LOVE adverbs, Frank! Get out of that wetsuit this instant! Put that joint down! Where is your tricorner hat??....that's better.

Back to being his glorious self, he continues “A palm-sized short-rib sandwich arrived with a quail’s egg perched atop the meat and poised to bathe it in an extra, unnecessary … measure of moistness.” Since we're being literal today, an unnecessary measure of moistness would be, say, if you were to put a yardstick to Larry King’s diaper. I’m pretty sure what you're talking about is just a “topping.”

So finally you’re exhausted by Frank, you just want some sorbet and the Metro Section, but in fact, at the end you get some juicy tidbits: a choice of burger “accessories” (again, JUST SAY “TOPPING”) included blue cheese, “which I always appreciate.” Bring on the defensive blanket of blue-cheese amuse-bouches at NYC restaurants. And the fish sandwich?: no more waxing wordy, just a straight “I loved it.” In the end, it seems he is a self-described "truly committed carnivore." Below, another recently committed carnivore.

He'd love to give you a high-five, Frank, but for now he'll just have to give it to his clavicle.

I have to say, for all of his greedy finger-slapping and his unwillingness to share with his dining "companions," he TOTALLY stole most of his friend's cosmo: "I admit to stealing more sips than a mere appraisal needed." A) It's hard to "steal" from a mannequin, Frank.

"Yo! Give me my cosmo back!"
And B) ORDER ANOTHER 25 COSMOS. It's on Daddy Timesbucks. WOOO HOOOO!

Two [BUUUUURP] stars! Check, please?


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Brigid here, about to blow your mind. Rachel Ray = that Katie girl that was in France with us...right???? RIGHT??? How spot on am I?? Shit to the mother fuck.

2:27 PM, March 31, 2005  

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