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, July 20, 2005

Frederick’s: Mary Tyler Moore, Do You Feel Like a Chop?

This week found Frank at the corner table of uptown Frederick’s Madison, in a power suit with football-sized shoulderpads and a permed bouffant, lacking only a nearby Meshach Taylor with whom to repartee.

Frederick’s reeks of the 80’s: it’s a fresh aroma of AquaNet and KY with an arriere-gout of flaming polyester and casual profligacy. And it’s an atmosphere that Frank, in his newish Tom Wolfe phase (see Bette, below), is going to spend a good hunk of the review chronicling.

Hark! The Bruni quill alights upon the parchment:

“FIRST came the overnight bag, the kind with wheels and a retractable handle, the kind that told everybody its owner was moving too briskly through his important schedule to swing by the apartment between the airport and dinner. One of the restaurant's managers hustled it to the back, a vassal stowing his lord's battle armor. Then came the lord: maybe early 30's, open collar, long strides, perfect hair, cellphone on his ear."

That’s the kind of metaphor you publish from a distance. I’d love to see that one go over face to face:

Frank (stentorian, grandiose): Ah, Waiter! How peasantly your manor in dragging away that lordly man’s suitcase!
Manager: What? I’m a manager. I'm in the service industry, it’s my job.
Frank: Yes, mmof course, I was just drawing a metaphorical comparison, so uncannily serf-like was your demeanor! Do you have any of that nifty tooth-blackout stuff? Maybe some straw you could stuff in your sleeves? Some burlap hosiery?
Manager: I WENT TO COLUMBIA! I have an MFA!
Frank: Wait wait wait! Put some pig poop in your hair! It will be hilarious! [Giddy chuckle] Really, are you sure you’re not that dignified rich man’s squire? Because you really had me there.
Frank: Ta ha! Such fine raiment for a captive galleyman!

Essential for pseudoslaves, aka waiters.

I'm not ready to leave the opener alone: “First came the overnight bag, the kind with wheels and a retractable handle, the kind that told everybody its owner was … important.”

A small suggestion for an aspiring social chronicler: A ROLLIE SUITCASE, while undeniably convenient, is not a sign of glittering wealth and glamour.


But my quibbles aside, here’s the major question, or, as I used to say when I taught English in really bad public schools, “WHO WANTS A FUCKING DOLLAR? YOU WANT A FUCKING DOLLAR TO GO WASTE ON SUNCHIPS? THEN ANSWER THIS QUESTION!”: Why review stodgy, expensive Fredericks? Let’s look at the facts, from the horse’s mouth.

1)“To be clear, Frederick's neither composes an interesting enough menu nor performs consistently enough to lure many diners with no other business in the East 60's.”


2)“Frederick's seems to exist in very large measure for people who want to feel, and want restaurants to make them feel, that they have reached the very apex of privilege.”

3) Frederick’s is “for people with deep pockets.”

4)“The clientele consists of “older men in pastel sport shirts and pricey loafers; older women with very taut skin and very white teeth.”

5) Fredericks is “not especially dashing.”

GRRRREAT. Next time I am hurling emeralds at mermaids from Gigi LaGrange's East Hampton veranda and she asks where she can get a mediocre veal chop in the East 60's, I'll remember this. THANKS FRANKKKKK!!!!!

And P.S. Don't think I'm not still tallying up the bountiful cinematic references. Says Frank of the lordly, suitcase-owning high-roller, "He looked like Michael Douglas in 'Wall Street' crossed with Vince Vaughn in 'Swingers.'"

TONY AND MANOLA OVER IN MOVIES-- I repeat, if you see THIS GUY hanging around the office, it's Frank.

Maybe you should let him intern a couple days a week, 'cause he is REALLY interested in what you do, he's very talented and VERY eager. And maybe he will take you out to eat with cool people.

Sleep tight!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

you're # free-aching 1!!!

2:55 PM, July 21, 2005  
Blogger BADGE said...


4:48 PM, July 21, 2005  
Anonymous Cortizzy said...

I hope da Count feels honored that such frolicking genius as yours has skipped over to his column and selected it for its playground. If you just like I dunno took on crap my bed, I'd be frggn elated, but an entire archived blog of photographic, hysterics-inducing, correctly punctuated MANIA????? To be viewed by ANYONE WITH ACCESS TO THE WORLD WIDE WEB???!!! You are truly worthy of a planet sized audience. My cousin in China said to tell you ni hao and xiexie and he doesn't even know that I know you.

3:16 PM, July 25, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you that dignified rich man's SQUIRE????

je meure.


11:51 PM, July 25, 2005  
Blogger Justin Kreutzmann said...

those are some frightening very photos...very funny text too.

10:46 PM, November 13, 2005  

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