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, April 27, 2005

Florent: National Moby Velvet Dick

In the Count’s review of Florent today, Food has been safely buckled in the back seat, while Unbridled Nostalgic Affection sits at the wheel, lead-footed and drunk, with Aging-Restaurant-as-Metropolitan-Barometer Trope sitting shotgun as usual, passed out on Quaaludes and drooling like a hound.

Equal parts Michael Musto and Mrs. Havisham (or, as Frank would probably say, "the lovebaby of a three-night Tijuana romp" between the two) this review hints that perhaps, as he sits at his enormous gargoyle-and-rhinestone encrusted writing desk, his gaze drifts from his dutiful journalism over to copies of Moby Dick, or National Velvet. You know, something novelly, and a little bit gay.

Florent seems to inspire a lot of anecdotes, social history, and character portraits. The cast includes a puckish, legendary Frenchman,

a puckish, legendary waitress (with notable hair),

and other touching human portraits:

“a lone fortysomething man reading The Economist at the Formica counter; a gaggle of thirtysomething Italian speakers at a round Formica table; smatterings of twentysomethings with bulky black eyewear, the training wheels of hipness.”

The next Chloe Sevigny???

But let’s not beat around the Count's 800-count Egyptian bush anymore, ok? Frank is, if not lamenting, then certainly using Florent to illustrate, the fact that the Meatpacking district of yore is gone, a district that, apparently, used to be packing other things:

[Florent Morellet] put it in the meatpacking district because he romped in the gay bars in the area at the time.

(P.S: For someone that Frank is trying to honor, Morellet ends up sounding like a hysterical Christmas elf, with his “laughing a tinkling laugh” and his romping, among other mischief.)

And P.P.S, tinkling laughter in one's office chair is not advisable.

Florent has stayed true to its roots, “staying largely the same while all around it changed, while the muscle of the Mineshaft gave way to the Manolos of Spice Market and risqué was usurped by chardonnay.”

Let me crack this code for you: Risqué? Muscle shaft? Even if you didn't know that “Mineshaft” is High German for “My Penis” you can see what doleful nostalgic tune Frank is playing. It’s called “Row, Row, Row Your WHY DID THE MEATPACKING DISTRICT GET SO FILLED TO THE BRIM WITH TASTELESS MONEYED TWATS WHEN IT USED TO HAVE THIS AWESOME GAY SCENE?” and he’s playing it on a large panflute.

But while the good times in the meatpacking district may have ended, Frank carries the torch/flame: “I went at 2:30 a.m. on a Saturday and chose a juicy, plump cheeseburger on an English muffin as a sponge for too much alcohol earlier on. It was gone in a flash, as was a friend's equally juicy, plump chicken breast sandwich. But we lingered in a happy crowd of young revelers, straight and gay, who canoodled in corners and tried to make the night last just a little longer.”

You know, the juicy breast is just too little too late. We know it's not about the food, just as much as it's not about breasts.

Sorry, guys, no one cares.

So after some more about the decor, the history behind the decor, more history-- even medical history-- behind the owner, details about the staff, and even an International Coffees "Jean-LUUUUUC!!!" moment for Frank, he dries his eyes and calls it a day. Like a bunny who sits in one place for a long time and then hops away to reveal he's laid a tiny, mute turd, Frank closes this review with one lone, irrelevant turd of a star.

But this place wasn't about stars anyway. It was about...character.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

In certain ways, you're my hero.

9:51 AM, April 28, 2005  
Blogger jaw said...

My new modus operandi is to see the Time's listing of Frank's new column, not read it, and directly point my browser here.

Thanks for making me laugh.

10:07 AM, April 28, 2005  
Blogger Backyard Chef said...

Another masterpiece. I'm virtually speechless. I wish the Frankinator was, too..but then we wouldn't have your site to cause our 'tinkling laughter.'

1:02 PM, April 29, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just lovely. You hit on just about every point that left me laughing in the original column. That musical potty is a bit has to be a bit jarring for a tentative toddler, though! I pee -- and the angels sing!

1:32 PM, April 29, 2005  
Blogger Jules said...

Is the tinklepotty cow blind and wearing sunglasses?

3:26 PM, May 05, 2005  

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