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, November 16, 2005

Aburiya Kinnosuke : A New Fantastic Point of View

After days on the open sea, Frank moored his enormous galleon on East 45th street, dropped the sails, collapsed his telescope, and leaped off the poopdeck to bravely explore Japanese spot Aburiya Kinnosuke.

"Go up the West side and cross at 42nd."
"Are you nuts? At rush hour?"

Maybe the Count was just itching to push the boundaries of his restaurant experience; then again, maybe it was simply the allure of getting to wear ass-high leather explorer boots.

2 parts “arrrrr” to 1 part “meow.”

But no matter the inspiration, Frank warns us that, in the words of Peabo Bryson, it's "A Whole New World":
“At Aburiya Kinnosuke, a new restaurant in Midtown, you probably won't spot any celebrities, the way you might at a more lavish, trendy Japanese pleasure palace like Megu or Nobu.”

You see, like a sebaceous teenager fluent in online porn but decades away from touching his first boobie, Frank has mostly experienced the far east in fusions and fanciness, but dammit, he wants the real thing. Basically, it’s hard to feel like you’re really in Kyoto when you’re eating miso-glazed Cheez-its off Robert Downey Jr’s lap.

“You definitely won't find elaborately constructed, kaleidoscopic sushi rolls, the kind that look more like kites than supper, or whimsically shaped stemware filled with neon-colored potions, the kind that look more like chemistry experiments than drinks.”

What? What the shit kind of Japanese places has Frank been dining at? That description sounds less like Megu and more like Willy Wonka's Shagadelic Thrift Store from Hell.

Hi, welcome to Sushi World, allow me to rape your cornea!

More from Frank's travel diary:

“Here's what you will see…: tables filled with Japanese businessmen, neckties still on, briefcases nearby, speaking Japanese to servers who fared much better in that language than in English.”
I wonder if the Count actually hid behind potted plants and spied them with binoculars.

Frank slyly observes the restuarant's clientele. Meanwhile, Japanese business men are confused as to why Swamp Thing is stalking them.

“I had a sense of seemingly boundless possibility, of new flavors that it would take quite some time to exhaust. I had a sense of discovery.”

At this point, you ask, did he make friends with a cartoon raccoon and a native Scores stripper who pretends not to speak English while singing elaborate songs about the Color of the Wind??
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“ME NO SPEE NO EEENLESH!! Just kidding. Meet me in the champagne room inside that giant Sequoia in 5 minutes, the raccoon and the pug stay outside.”

Not quite. But he certainly makes a point of experiencing some new foods, with mixed results:

“The menu is so expansive and arcane that a diner can encounter bad luck as easily as good and wind up with food that disappoints, if only because it's so peculiar…”

It's unfortunate that Frank didn't have the language skills to translate "Man-Size Horny Carp" on the entrees list. It's a Japanese specialty!

“One night I blithely ventured in the direction of dried baby squid, only to make a hasty retreat after one repellently fishy, intensely funky bite.”

Oh really? Why do I have a feeling that anyone, even a lobotomized Cosmo girl shellacked head to toe in lip gloss and wearing a thong made of copper wire, could get the following question right:

Dried baby squid tastes like...
a) Ham
b) Dryer sheets
c) Roses
d) The sweat off a sailor’s scabby crack after he wrestles a walrus in the pit of a sulphite mine.

D!! Obvie, that crap stinks.

Worst. Neighbor. Ever.

The Count continues to hack his way through the culinary virgin forest, encountering “salmon neck, another fatty, slightly gamy, challenging and rewarding cut.” You'd think Frank had had enough with challenging and rewarding fish after the ol' Horny Carp, but the Count really is eager to learn:

“I hadn't tried black sesame tofu before Aburiya, but I hope to have it again…” Ah, just like the settlers of the new world who put yams, corn, and Coke Zero to their lips for the first time and yearned for more…

“But for a diner in the right frame of mind, the oddities of Aburiya just seem like part of the adventure…It's a pleasant escape that always made me feel as if I were traveling far away from the rest of the city.”

Well, Frank has left one twinkling star above Aburiya, so even if Frank never finds his way back...


...maybe others will...


Anonymous Natalie said...

Laughed out loud not once, not twice, but THREE times. Your sense of humor is wicked AND bent. Carry on!

9:35 AM, November 16, 2005  
Blogger Justin Kreutzmann said...

A hero's journey indeed. Joseph Campbell with a hankering for Japanese food.

Well done Jules...

10:52 AM, November 16, 2005  
Blogger SuperAmanda said...

Damn Joesph Conrad would be proud too!

"The sea urchin bagged it's bags and moved to the otherside of Frank's ravenous craw..."

11:30 AM, November 16, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The sweat off a sailor’s scabby crack after he wrestles a walrus in the pit of a sulphite mine."
Thank You! I shared this with my Thai girlfriend to explain that I'm not being unreasonable when I decline her delicious dried squid snacks.

5:06 PM, November 16, 2005  
Blogger marcus aurelius said...

I can't decide if I come by to read your blog for it's great humor, or for another peak of what makes SuperAmanda "Super"

5:29 PM, November 16, 2005  
Blogger marcus aurelius said...

I can't decide if I come to read your blog for your great sense of humor......or for another peak at what makes SuperAmanda "Super"

5:32 PM, November 16, 2005  
Anonymous Bill said...

Jules, I love the carp scene! In my youth I have done worse than that myself, Many times. Best regards, Billy

6:35 PM, November 16, 2005  
Blogger Travis said...

I normally dislike vulgar american humour, but 'rape my cornea'? How funny is that? Miso covered cheeze-it's? I went back to read it several times just to laugh.

8:10 PM, November 16, 2005  
Blogger Michelle Collins said...

Um... Correct me if I'm wrong, but did we not eat a late night dinner at this resty last Thursday night? Every single thing he covered was at one point on out table, was it not?

Last time I ever order "vag noodles."

10:51 PM, November 16, 2005  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

How do you find the relevant photos so fast?
I'm in awe.

11:01 PM, November 16, 2005  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

How do you find the relevant photos so fast?
I'm in awe.

11:02 PM, November 16, 2005  
Blogger sabatkes said...

The post was wonderful.You have such a great blog. Worst neighbor ever photo really made me laugh!!!

Thank you!

11:34 PM, November 16, 2005  
Blogger Bethles said...

As I am living in Korea for the year, I can definitely appreciate not only the Konglish-esqe references, but the, ahem, interesting foods. Anyone want some silkworm larvae?

9:55 AM, November 17, 2005  
Blogger Jules said...

Truthfully, the Horny Carp is my favorite photo of all time. I can't handle the man's spread-eagle, baby-changing-table pose. Ro. MANTIC.

1:18 PM, November 17, 2005  
Blogger extremerisk1 said...

I found your Blog on Frank Bruni should kiss your ass you have made him a star! You should write for Saturday Night Live - SNL if anyone out their is listening. Shit I laughed more at this today than at SNL over the last 2 years.

2:05 PM, November 17, 2005  
Blogger Justin Kreutzmann said...

Wasn't Horny Carp one of the characters in Heart Of Darkness?

5:39 PM, November 17, 2005  
Blogger Greg said...

LOL,ROFL,choking on tounge. Good Shite girl.

8:38 PM, November 17, 2005  
Anonymous KermitMcDermit said...


Just so ye be in the know, me arse-crack tastes a fine bit better'n dried squid on any day, walrus wrestling or no.

Did i mention "yeeeargh"? I did? Okay then...

12:30 PM, November 18, 2005  
Blogger MistyRose said...

"Willy Wonka's Shagadelic Thrift Store from Hell" Hey, I work there. It isn't so bad if you can keep the Oompa Loompa's from humping your leg.

Loved the guy in the camo, it cracked me up.

I am quickly becoming an addict to this blog, its great shit. Keep writing!

1:14 PM, November 19, 2005  
Blogger Sam said...

Jules are you getting cold feet?

3:37 PM, November 19, 2005  
Anonymous Dena said...

Oh my! The heroic tale of a brave, trendy japanese diner looking for real japanese food! I swooned, I wept, I laughed my rear end off (still trying to find it). That was just an amazing story! When is the Disney animated version on IMAX coming out?

12:52 AM, January 22, 2006  

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