Perry Street: With Arms Wide Open
Oh Jean-Georges. It’s been a long time coming, huh? You’ve had to put up with ol’ “Smackdown” Bittman’s mortifying obsequies on the Food Network (is his show cancelled yet?), where I must say, you were nothing but adorable and gracious.
Bittman: "I CAN COOK BETTER THAN YOU!!! YOU'LL SEE, LITTLE SWISS PUNK!"
Before that, “Spindly” Hesser’s raves over your haremy Spice Market were drowned in indignant protests, after she neglected to disclose that she sleeps at the foot of your bed in satin genie digs.
"I didn't think it was a conflict of interest! What?"
Then, a year ago in July, Frank was in the finicky toddlerhood of his tenure as the NY Times restaurant critic; you had recently opened V Steakhouse, an overly embellished nightmare in the Time Warner Center. Frank was like a hopped up hunter with an M-16 and your restaurant was like a gaudy elk just asking to get nailed.
It was a Bruni masterpiece; but you found your name sullied and slapped across the marquee of a one-star infamy serving $25 apps.
Now, a year later, like a reformed slut who finally gets her lower-back tattoo lasered off, you’ve calmed down. You've gone demure.
And in this review (sweet dios, may it not last), so has Frank. Not only does he focus on the food, he does so … sort of… calmly. He begins with placid Confucianisms:
“SOMETIMES the best way to move forward is to revisit the past. Sometimes the loudest statements are the quietest ones, made without undue fuss, in precise gestures.”
Arigato, sensei! You forgot “Man stuck in pantry has ass in a jam ahahahaha!”
Wow. Couple lacking chromosomes makes retarded decisions.
Frank knows that Jojo has felt the sting of Frank's (and others') spanking: Perry Street is “a studied retreat from, and maybe even an act of amends for, the high-concept flamboyance of 66, Spice Market and V Steakhouse, the New York restaurants he opened between 2002 and 2004.”
But he still gets one more jab in:
“All three have their significant merits and pleasures - or at least the first two of them do…”
DAMN! SNAP! He really hated V. He goes on to say that these flamboyant restaurants have “vacuous showmanship in their DNA.”
Doctor! We've found an unusually large and douchebaggy string of amino acids in this blood sample!"
"Hmmm, looks like acute Jay Leno."
"He's not cute!"
But for every sassy, insulting zinger he’s ever loosed upon Perry Street’s ugly older sisters, he’s found something sublime at sweet little Perry.
Frank rather insightfully inspects JGV’s talent for “time-release gastronomy.” I’ve got the same talent— 17 minutes after I eat an artichoke, I’ll show it to you.
But JGV’s talent, slightly different, involves the engineering, in one bite, of a sophisticated fugue of flavor release:
In a gazpacho twist involving raspberries, the “sweetness of the fruit set the stage for, then ceded it to, the sourness and gentle heat of other players, which arrived as a second wave, a delayed epiphany.”
There's a lot more of this amazing Countly rhapsody, musically chronicaling each bite, which was enough of a pleasure to earn three stars for the prodigal son:
“Mr. Vongerichten has chosen a new tower of spare elegance in which to settle down - in more ways than one. He's back from the carnival.”
Who said anything about a carniv--
Well then. Welcome back indeed.