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, September 29, 2005

Nobu 57: Spankin' it all over town!

I know what you're thinking. How could I have let Mainland go last week, and then Pegu, and then Frank's AMAZING piece about San Sebastian which literally mentions specific restaurants and details what they're serving, while simultaneously revealing that he's "never been there" and "would like to try it." I hope he emailed the article personally to Bill Keller with a link to Expedia.

As Frank's seed spreads into Television reviewing and Travel writing, I decided to hawk my nooner on 14th and 9th for mere pennies! Why? Because this week is all about promiscuity. To wit, Nobu births Nobu 57, to which Frank applies his monocle and royal princely gaze:

"The name says it all. This isn't a new dining experience. It's an old one on a different block, Nobu in a different dress."


"Its menu and its food elicit not so much a stab as a full-on body blow of the familiar."

A stab/body blow of familiarity? Interesting. Is that more like a “pants-exploding artillery fire of mediocrity” or a “shit-smattering explosion of comfort”? Either way you interpret it, one thing is certain: no kind of blow, body or other, is familiar to this guy


Well, in case you found the language confusing, allow me to interpret:

Not only is this the second franchise of a restaurant that exists downtown already, but it is a copy of a restaurant that has created the template for upscale Japanese dining, and so, like a virile truck driver on a national circuit with a homebody wife who can’t count to ten, Nobu has one legitimate child and many, many, many restaurants that conspicuously take after it, all over the country.

in the words of the late Robert Palmer, “simply irresistible.”

Most exemplary of this phenomenon, the oft-imitated black cod: “Here it is, a plump wedge of miso-glazed black cod, the culinary equivalent of a Cole Porter standard, covered and interpreted by so many artists...”

THAT IS SO INSENSITIVE! Just cause it’s a black cod you have to use a BLACK MUSICIAN?? What’s next, Frank, will CHIEF SITTING BULL provide you with an appropriate descriptive vehicle for RED SNAPPER? How about some MICHELLE KWAN RICE, you bigot!

What? What’s that you say? Cole Porter’s white? [gulp] Sorry. It is I who should be more sensitive. Let's forget this whole argument.

The famed African-American cod that Nobu so geniusly coated in miso might be so familiar “that you may not recall where and when you experienced it first.
That place was probably Nobu, and that time might have been 1994, when the restaurant opened in TriBeCa.”

Let’s seeeeee. 1994—I’m pretty sure in 1994 I was shoveling an “after-school snack” of melon-sized Costco muffins and Lucky Charms into my face with a lacrosse stick while watching my mother prepare the dinner I was to eat in T minues 7 MINUTES. (What were you people trying to do to me???)

“TIME OUT!!!!! Can you fit a game hen through my face cage? I’m peckish. Thanks”

"The familiarity of Nobu 57 reflects more than its sire's genes and zest for reproduction. It reflects - and is compounded by - its sire's broader legacy."
ZEST FOR REPRODUCTION!!! While this reads like a section of your Addison-Wesley 8th grade history textbook, let not its genes and legacy talk distract you from the fact that it is about sluttiness. (Also, this is another one of those passages that you're going to want to read aloud in British English while rolling your R's to get the full appreciation.)

"Nobu is to Matsuri and Koi as McDonald's is to Wendy's: a tutor and template."
What an instructive comparison!

Chef Matsuhisa, poised for vengeance outside Frank's apartment door with brothers Saul and Mario.

So after all this exhausting work, including a torrid night of sequentially banging both Nobu and Newbu, Frank concludes that Matsuhisa still has the original magic, three stars' worth.

"What mattered was that black cod. I'm almost convinced that Mr. Matsuhisa maintains a secret tank in which the fish toss back Jacques Torres chocolates and watch 'Finding Nemo' while they fatten."

Akin to his comment in April about Kobe beef at Shaburi: "As it cost $69 for about seven ounces, I hope and assume the pampering includes Tivo, Opus One spritzers and bovine facials."

Well, at least we know they all end up in the plush velvet Napoleonic drawing room which must line the Count's countly interior. Meanwhile, I'm going to go shoot cans of dogfood off a fence and chew on jerky with the chicken from Pathmark. Later!


Blogger ChrisWoznitza said...

Hi I´m Chris. Greatings from Germany Bottrop !!

5:14 PM, September 29, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris' Interests:

Skaten, Tv schauen, Musik hören, Party machen, reisen, abhängen, essen, sonnen, zocken, schlafen, saufen, chillen, surfen

5:42 PM, September 29, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i know it's not about chris but i couldn't resist reading the english 'translation' of one of his blog entries, which follows:

"Ding-dong made it on the door against shortly after ten. In a super way, went also only by 3 o'clock in the bed. Okay one has more of the day, when one sees it like this. Mood now goes so to good. The Pc is the only thing what could bring me now still from the condition. So slowly and always at the shit."

i think that last line could be the title of your first memoir, jules?

10:28 AM, September 30, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jules, if you don't parody Mainland, all of us are going to jump ship and read this hilarious "Chris" blog instead.

Which, by the way, nice work Jules. Maybe a little over the top, but it almost sounds like real German!

11:07 AM, September 30, 2005  
Blogger said...

Hi there:

You truly have a gift. You should keep it up! I will make sure to bookmark this page. The NY Times should create a column for your comedy writing.

It's genuine.

12:13 PM, November 12, 2005  
Anonymous Wasabi Boy said...

I stand in awe of your bloggy goodness.

your blog is the o-toro of the foodie lit world!

4:00 PM, November 12, 2005  
Anonymous Pancakelady said...

This is absolutely hilarious and exactly what most all critics, whether they be theatre or food, deserve. Best critic I know of is my own mouth and ears. You just keep on poking a hole in the "windbag" everytime he "breaks "forth in print!

6:19 PM, November 12, 2005  
Blogger JUICYPINK said...

Hi Julia Langbein!


Love, Henry Hall
Artist And Entrepreneur

Here is my paintings listed if you like view them:

6:20 PM, November 12, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent rips.

Small tWeaK: Cole Porter wasn't black. In fact, he was openly racist (even though he did enjoy slumming in Harlem for 'black studs'). Unless that was the joke.

9:43 PM, November 12, 2005  
Blogger PearlGirl said...

Brilliant, courageous writing. So does the emperor wear clothes?

1:14 PM, November 13, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your website was one of the lead stories on Yahoo news so naturally I had run over here to check it out. Bravo, Jules. Funniest blog I've read yet. Brilliant! The NY Times should get rid of that pedantic poof Bruni and hire you instead. Their circulation numbers would jump and for once they wouldn't have to make it up.
--Sherry (also in Brooklyn)

1:50 PM, November 13, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd say you are a little overcooked. Nothing is worse than trying to sound hip and failing. Maybe build up your resume a little, cut the purple prose, and keep a paper journal that keeps your thoughts private!

1:55 PM, November 13, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are a godess.
Will you marry me?

7:32 PM, November 13, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Nobu Dr. No? Or is Newbu the nobo in the noh play? Or is the dobro in the play dough nobu?

Here we have the eternal circular question. Like Countess Francesca, pondering the pouch on his purple pantaloons, the circular question both begs and serves the quiz at hand. It is at once solid and sordid; mustardy and musty; Sigmund Freud and schadenfreude with a dash of limpy slinky fraud.

Were the Contessa ever to deign to respond to Jules, how ripe the fruit she would squeeze for her little gelatto--a glazed compote of Capote. A brazier broche of Bruni, a mere trifle of tripe to be savored and eaten under the magnificent Titan Arum (called the corpse flower because of the special fragrance).

How can we mere readers enchant, enbait and engoad the Contessa into responding directly to our Jules? A dainty, frilly prize given for best answer.


11:37 PM, November 13, 2005  

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