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.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Periyali: Pretty classy...FOR A GREEK PLACE mwahaha

Toot toot! The S.S. Bruni is docking at Port Passive Aggressive this week, praising Periyali, the Flatiron Greek stalwart, for being a delicious “yawn,” and giving it 2 stars even though, in his words, “Nothing at Periyali proves hugely intriguing. Nothing wows.” I’m salivating.

He begins:

“‘I HAVEN'T been here in three years,’ one gentlemen said to another as they passed my table at Periyali the other night.

‘Do you remember what the food was like?’ his companion asked him. I didn't hear the answer.”

This gossip item, about as juicy as a balsa plank on the surface of the sun, and by far the best opening dialogue since Curious George first removed his culottes in front of the children, is Frank’s gumshoe way of saying: Periyali has been around a long time.

During that time, it has remained basically unchanged, wearing a culinary L.L. Bean fleece for 18 years while all the trendoid skanks clamored for J.Lo brand unitards.

At many Manhattan restaurants, “the passage of three years would guarantee a tweaking of the concept, a reshuffle in the kitchen or at least the arrival of a slate of new dishes and an expansion of the spice cabinet to include coriander and cardamom.”

In other words, everything’s gettin’ all GLOBAL n’ stuff.

“Welcome to Le Cirque, may I take your order?”

Periyali, however, has no such pretensions: it is (get ready) “as calm and calming as the Aegean on a windless day.”

Hmm, do you mean, “as unharried as the GDP of Greece itself?” or “as peaceful as a peasant tooth undisturbed by dental care for a lifetime?” Frank’s praise of Periyali starts to remind me of the “Happy Girthday, Fatass” card my brother sent me one year: so thoughtful, yet somehow insulting.

I’m actually going to rephrase the following excerpts as the Count addressing Greece directly.

“When it opened 18 years ago, upscale Greek was an oxymoron, a gyro-defying leap of imagination and faith.”

Dear Greece,

in the recent past, the idea of anything classy being associated with your people would have literally been a hilarity. Maybe it was because all you made was gyros…

“Greek became something more than leaden spanakopita”

…and spanikopita.

“Greek didn't exactly become the new French, the new Italian, the new anything. It's a cuisine with less variety and ambition than those, rooted in a poorer and less populous country with less vanity about its culinary traditions.”

No but seriously guys. It’s impressive you can even tie your clogs in the morning.

Amazing Brunisms of the Week:

“New Yorkers are currently enjoying an octopus renaissance, an octopus apotheosis, with restaurants as different as BLT Fish and Ama having cinched preparations that render this flesh unusually pliant.”


worship away, kids.

And a Brunism FOR THE AGES:

“Fried rings of calamari...made all those reckless pub versions seem like so many oily bread crumbs with specious claims to maritime paternity.”

Cut to: 10,000 baby squids waving paternity suits around one tiny sailor on Montel.

Too late, guy. Shoulda kept your periscope in the hull, sailor.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


2:33 PM, May 19, 2005  
Anonymous Liz said...

Jules, I think you are a genius.

2:46 PM, May 19, 2005  
Blogger margrocks said...

you are awesome. keep writing.

6:34 PM, May 19, 2005  
Anonymous j-dawgz said...

wowie wow wow
I don't mind waiting for posts of this quality.
you are hysterical.

9:10 AM, May 20, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doesn't "brunism" mean tooth-grinding? Oh, that's "bruxism," sorry, never mind.

1:30 PM, May 20, 2005  
Blogger Jules said...

Bruxism??? What an amazing word. I've never heard it before, and I'm a TOTAL tooth grinder. If you snuck a slab of South African granite betwixt my jaws circa 3 am I would turn it into powder. Point being: someone should change their name from "Anonymous" to "Word Introducer Genius Person."

1:47 PM, May 20, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a greek man of enormous strength I would like to say to Mr. Bruoni - "I eat spanikopita and gyro...AND moussaka AND salad AND yogurt" Fly off a bridge, brouni.

4:16 PM, May 23, 2005  
Anonymous bonskins said...

i think jules has that innate je ne sais quoi in writing that simply can't be taught. even things that i don't get, i think are hilarious, because it sounds hilarious.

2:44 PM, May 24, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done Gynifer!

5:43 PM, May 25, 2005  

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