D'or Anh: B'or Ing
Dear D’or Anh,
Ha! What a mystery you are! What an enigma! Your food—and you don’t mind if I publish this in the New York Times, do you?—your food is ethereal and transfixing, i.e. confusing and crappy, and yet, welcome! Your mere existence tickles the lacy bloomers that descend to my mid-calf! Without places like you to mangle dry cod and rubberize beef in an Icarian attempt at success, how very boooooooring this city would be! Ah, my little Franco-Korean concubine, thank you for your adorable effort.
Veuillez accepter mes sentiments les meilleurs,
This little epistle was found beside the golden bidet in Frank’s chateau and leaked to me by his maid.
“Arf Arf Arf!!”
“What, Fido? LITTLE JONNY FELL DOWN A WELL??? “
“Arf Arf Arf!”
“Oooooooh, Frank’s using mascara again. Got it.”
And, if you could stay awake long enough to notice, the Count published those sentiments exactly in this week’s review:
“D'or Ahn isn't a great restaurant, and on its clumsier nights it isn't even a very good one. But it's a terrific example of why anyone who loves eating out has to love New York, a welcome reminder of the optimism and the deep well of ideas that drive the city's dining scene.”
But something else happened at D’or Anh…something …chemical. Frank is totally confused, like someone on AmBien who’s fighting sleep, like James Bond ten seconds after being poisoned but not quite dead, like me circa 11 pm on a Tuesday—in a word, he’s effed up.
The royal bizzity bizzity bong.
The confusatrix? Perhaps it is the seductive/deranged proprietress, the fluttering ephemera which is Lannie Ahn herself:
“Ms. Ahn flutters about...”
“...approaching diners with a spoken introduction to the restaurant that should be more practiced than it is. She talks about French standards, Korean flair, eclecticism…She seems at once ecstatic and slightly pained, inspired and unnerved, all of which may well foreshadow your own reaction to D'or Ahn.”
Wha? Uh oh. This is shaping up to be a bit of a Red Cat: nothing and everything, inspired and unnerved, sublime and retarded. It seems as though the question “What is this restaurant like?” is not as important as the question “Exactly how sick will Peyote make you if you melt it in a spoon and take it nasally?”
“[D'or Anh is] loaded with charm, rife with frustrations and impossible to pigeonhole.”
"Well, I'm kiiiind of a genetic freak but I'm also rabid, ambidextrous and gay. So, I'm tough to categorize."
But seriously, as yet, I have nnnoooooo sense of what this place is like. Mayhaps the food will make things clearer?
“The most riveting of the small plates, and one of the least small, was thin slices of eye round of beef, which had been dusted with sweet rice flour and seared in oil.”
Ah! Ok! So the Count enjoyed this beef, yes?
“These cutlets were more ethereal than I realized fried beef could be - maybe too ethereal, and thus an illustration of one of the restaurant's frustrations. The kitchen turned out a great deal of food more intriguing than satisfying, with a sense of surprise that wasn't matched by a payoff in flavor.”
TOO ETHEREAL. TOO ETHEREAL. Hey Lannie, couldya do somethin’ about that beef? It was too ethereal. Maybe you could drag it through some compost? I don’t know, find an accomodating donkey to take a serious dump on it? Maybe a pachaderm? Just something a little more…how to say…terrestrial? Thanks!
Yes, that's better! Bon apetit!
An exception was that terrific poussin, one of a handful of entrees on a section of the menu titled "more."
A terrific Poussin, get it?? Kill yourself, Jules.
Ahem, back to the review: Frank’s take on the food is equally opaque. I’ve got my big dumb jaw dropped in what would be characterized as a major “WHA?” Additionally, so far there’s been a—for me, at least—saddening absence of Brunisms, those wacktastic rhinestones that make Wednesdays so Beadazzled.
There's just one little metaphor, but next to the full-on brass band of metaphors we're used to, this is but a tiny taco-fart:
“Inventiveness and affectation are next-door neighbors, and D'or Ahn leaps frequently over the fence between the two.”
(Don’t worry, he’ll extend the metaphor later.)
“An oxtail ragout was advertised as an accompaniment for slices of rib-eye, but what and where was it?”
Well, if it’s in line with the rest of this review, the ragout is probably hanging out with a bunch of 35-year old douchebag gallerists at the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert, naked save for a Hopi ritual sash and a mouthful of pot-croissant..
Almost. The ragout is actually “in the middle of a dry, unappealing mung bean cake, which gave the plate another component and geometric element but no more appeal.”
Another component and geometric element but no appeal. So yet again: through an elaborate Baroque ironwork gable of language you can peer into a hidden private estate of SUCKAGE. Nice.
"Poached black cod was unusually dry one time, wonderfully silken the next. It came with a mustard bread pudding that found D'or Ahn on the desirable side of that fence."
WHAT FENCE?? that's right, it's the fence between inventiveness and affectation, located in the town of Irrelevantville, in the County of YourRestaurantStillBlows, in the province of ButIDon'tKnowHowToSayThatSimply,ThankGod.
It's a Gaelic province.
“But whichever way D'or Ahn leapt, the gesture commanded attention.”
Kind of the way a FAS baby commands attention the first time it ice skates, i.e. with terrifying precariousness and almost unmitigated failure.
“I wasn't conventionally delighted by the fiery chili ice cream with a Korean pear upside-down cake, but I was transfixed by it.”
Dude, everything looks fuckin' awesome when you're fuckin' trippin out, man. Sick. This one time I was smokin' a fatty doob and I thought Dave Matthews was sitting in the back seat of my Saab cause I could hear him talking, and then I was like, dude, it's a CD. So yeah...what was I talking about?
Confusion is really the theme of the day: "the resounding successes don't outnumber the curiosities yet - but their effort is an earnest, thoughtful and welcome one."
You know, when my brother gave me a stick of butter for Christmas-- and this was during my younger, more corpulent years-- with the suggestion that it might help me get through doorways, was it his way of saying "I love you?" No, it wasn't. But it was his way of saying "I'm glad you're here to make fun of. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go drink competitively with my fraternity."
Maybe Frank's message is the same except that his stick-o-butter came with a little seedling to plant in the floorboards of their Enchanting Cottage of Confusing Crap and watch grow: a star.
How come that star is so round...and little...and white....?
P.s. Anyone who can interpret the meaning of the title of Frank's review ("So Ambitious, So Impossibly Thin"), which seems like it was ripped off the cover of another US Weekly celeb anorexposee, gets my serious respect.