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, June 30, 2005

The Red Cat: What Kind of Cat do YOUUUUU Think It Is?

After reading the Red Cat review this week, was one of your eyebrows arched, The Rock-style?

Mine certainly was.

“By turns cozy and sexy, laid-back and fleet, the Red Cat is a restaurant Rorschach, different things at different times to different people”

I seeeeeee.....ummmmmm....a hedged bet! No wait! A sidestepped conclusion! No I got it, a really intense way to say "versatile"!

I mean, sure, sometimes Frank overdoes it on the Courvoisier and finds himself teetering in his trusty, fireside Laz-E-Count, red in the face and giggling extra hard at the pages of Lady Chatterly’s Lover. On more than one occasion, Frank has alluded to his deep appreciation of a good martini, or lamented the results of a few too many. Nothing I myself haven't perpetrated, of course.

But this week, if you clang the massive knockers on his chateau door, a pensive and spaced-out Frank will answer. (If you clang MY massive knockers, a quarter falls out my nooners. Try it sometime.) Frank’s in a Stevie Nicks muumuu with a frightening décolletage...

...with a lot of psychobabble literature under one arm, and he’s smoking a J upheld at the butt end by many manservants.

(I picture them singing from Cavaleria Rusticana for some reason.)

"The Red Cat feels vaguely colonial and tavernlike, except when it feels downtown-gallery cool, and apart from those moments when it feels modestly and eclectically elegant.”

Apart when it's a spaceship except when it's a congressional hearing not counting when it's a petting zoo. Of course.

"It equal measures a local joint and a destination. It's the exceedingly rare place that can often take a reservation only a few days in advance and yet is almost always packed."

Paging Marty McFly: Red Cat defies all known business principles, as well as the time space continuum.

Doc and young McFly attempt to order the steak tartare, wind up in ancient Eritrea.

Basically, I’m all, “So Frank, tell me about The Red Cat!”
And he’s all, “Why don’t YOU tell ME something about The Red Cat.”
And I’m all, “No no no, you’re the reviewer: you’re supposed to go check out the restaurant and tell us what it’s like.”
And he’s all, “Why don’t YOU let the RED CAT let YOU ask YOURSELF what The Red Cat’s like.”
And I’m all, “Frank! Please take off your transparent chiffon mumu. Your tart, exposed nipples are making me very uncomfortable. How is The Red Cat?”
And he’s all, “Are my nipps really exposed? Or is the Red Cat telling you to think about whether my nipps are exposed because you want to touch them.”
And I’m all, “What?”
And he’s all, “My nips.”
And I’m all, “Red…Cat?”
And he’s all, “It’s not like I want to you touch them or anything.”

[More] crazy Brunisms:

After listing The Red Cat by name several times as the perfect place for every and any occasion, (i.e. Place to get your shins waxed? Red Cat! Place to choke a stray mink? Red Cat!) he answers his final “Place to blah blah?” query with “Hint: a domesticated animal in a popular color for fast cars.”

How about a dog in black with silver detailing? How about just saying “Red Cat” again? Is it because, according to Frank, the name itself is an existential koan to intended to unfurl the psyche?

“The simultaneously prosaic and cryptic name they gave it alludes to nothing, connotes nothing. It's a phrase to be imbued with whatever meaning the imbuing party deems fit.”

"Red Cat": it is at once everywhere and nowhere, like the wise corn-fart of a Navajo Elder trapped in a dizzy plains wind.


If you say “Red Cat” three times fast, Michael Keaton comes out of your butt in an alarming amount of makeup, and if you watch the Red Cat on video, Naomi Watts drops dead.

And you thought it was just a cute downtown bistro!

And even though the identity of the Red Cat is completely in the eye of the beholder, Frank, forced to pin down a quantifiable opinion in at least one respect, gives it two stars, starts a cult, is the only member, drops out, joins a kibbutz, gets bored, misses his fireplace and his Courvoisier, and returns to his chateau.

Well, I guess everybody's allowed an annoying hippie phase.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know you don't like praise but that is masterful.

6:00 PM, June 30, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am crying.

10:51 AM, July 01, 2005  
Blogger Jules said...

"don't like praise"???? After I'm done tapping down the FDR in coattails and a "PLEASE LAUGH AT ME" sandwich board, I wear my sandwich board into the SHOWER. And I lather it up. And I shave it. That's how serious I am.

11:42 AM, July 01, 2005  
Anonymous Renee said...

In that case, sleep tight: this is my favorite one yet.

4:13 PM, July 05, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


2:46 PM, July 06, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you say “Red Cat” three times fast, Michael Keaton comes out of your butt in an alarming amount of makeup, and if you watch the Red Cat on video, Naomi Watts drops dead

please fuck me

8:09 AM, July 11, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This could be one of your funniest yet... although, your review of the review of Yumcha was pretty effin' funny too. Don't stop; this is the only thing that makes an office job bearable.

10:59 AM, July 11, 2005  

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