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, January 18, 2006

Pair of 8's: Franklene's Basement

This week, if you were to feel suddenly invasive and decide to huddle outside Frank’s chateau window with a periscope while he dressed, you might see him forego the usual velvets and lace for a Jaquelyn Smith for K-Mart doily-trimmed sweatsuit in “mom-taupe.” Because between last week’s visit to Al di La, followed by Frank’s exposee of hidden charges lurking in bottled water and prix fixe supplements, and now this week’s restrained hoorah for Pair of 8’s based solely on its value, there’s no question that it’s Bargain Time in Frankville.

“EVERY Monday night on a stretch of Amsterdam Avenue with the kind of functional restaurants people outside the neighborhood seldom discuss, something remarkable happens.”

A Barnard freshman loses her bra at Bourbon Street?

7 lords a leaping, six skanks a skanking, 5 BRO-KEN TEEEEETH

No?...I give up then, what happens on Monday nights?

“It's a matter of value, pure and simple. For $25, Pair of 8's…presents you not only with a two-course meal - appetizer and entree - but also with a glass of red or white wine.”

What is this thing you call a “glass”? Huh. How many “glasses” are in a standard “sheep’s bladder” (my preferred unit)?

Tawdra and Ryan want to know how many glasses to a standard Metric Douchebarrel?

“Pair of 8's permits you to elect a proper, refined meal out over a thrown-together meal in, without digging too deep into your pocket or courting much guilt.”
Perhaps the subject matter is prodding Frank to return to one of my favorite habits: Biblical Frank! “It permitteth you to elect a repast afield, nay to plunder ye pockets afore!”

He continues, “It speaks to what many people really want from restaurants, as well as to how they choose where they go.”

In other words, people want ease and affordability.

Well, not these people. But most people.

"Unless the evening centers around a hot date, an important client or a special occasion, they don't jostle for admission to the place getting the most frequent mention in gossip columns. They're not spending whatever it takes for the most inspired confluence of Asian ingredients and French technique."

You may have reached the end of that paragraph before discovering who THEY is. It is YOU, us, the motley masses, le peuple, los popolos, la genitale. Frank is explaining to us, not unjustly, why we love our local neighborhood spots.

I'm the first to cheer for local joints. I’m not going to let a little thing like the Department of Health and Human Safety keep me away from MY favorite local restaurant, Café Lafayette.

I hope you’re hungry, Fort Greene: Ebola’s on!!!!

But wait! Pair of 8’s only offers this miraculous $25 deal on Mondays. “On other nights the prices at Pair of 8's are entirely fair in relation to the quality of the ingredients being used, but they're not quite bargains.”

Well, what can I expect in return for my not-insignificant bill 6 days a week?

“Much of the cooking doesn't snap you to attention, and some of it lulls you to sleep, suggesting a new school of gastronomic thought, devised to dovetail with the pharmacological moment: Ambien cuisine.”

I don’t even know what to say about this, except that I can’t believe it took a stodgy older man to clue me in to the drug-abuse zeitgeist. Great. I’ll just have Julie Andrews give me the latest scoop on "barely-there thongware" after Gloria Vanderbilt waxes my tooter, and call it a day.

But at the same time that it’s Ambien-licious, Pair of 8's is “a modest new bistro that doesn't feel like a comedown.” Uh oh. Don’t mix your drugs, Frank!

Well if the food’s sleepy, the wine happenings are like a welcome extended-family Herb Alpert conga line in your living room: kind of effortful, a little dorky, but better than homework. “You are encouraged to have fun with wine. Pair of 8's uses continually changing humorous themes to introduce sequences of three or four wines.”

This week’s theme is “Wines from Sonoma County: Queef Time 9000”

Well, it’s clear that Frank likes this place. Maybe his calling chef Bill Peet “soporific” will snap the chef out of his bland daze and make him spark up a bit; hopefully he won't “pull a Jules,” a.k.a. start dumping cayenne pepper into things when you don’t know what to do.

You know my motto: if it's good enough to spray onto a horse's hide to make it sweat, it's good enough to eat!

No matter what, Mondays at Pair of 8’s should be booming for a while, starred in reward for the place's austerity:

“Pair of 8's clearly wants to be a straightforward broker. And while it doesn't leave you mightily impressed, it leaves you feeling as if you've been treated with fairness and consideration. There's something to be said for that.”

Next week:

Burlap Susan’s Take-no-Shit Bread Hut


Anonymous Kenny T said...

I think you need to devote the rest of the week on an expose uncovering this suggestive trend: Ambien-Cuisine. Just think of the good night's sleep you'll have!

3:22 PM, January 19, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, I didn't get my alert for this one!

1:37 PM, January 20, 2006  
Blogger Jules said...

What?? Did my NotifyList not work? Uh oh. I hope people don't miss out on my "Bagina Queef 9000" joke. Their lives might plod onward, in darkness, never having known the brightest little scintilla ever to burst in the starry night of cyberspace.

3:42 PM, January 20, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pair of 8's is being nice to the customers on a slow day. Giving them a price break. If you're spending 25.00 on a meal it may as well be good. Why blow 25.00 on something worth missing? Order pizza from your favorite place instead and give the delivery guy the rest of the 25 as a tip. Pair of 8's should just close on a day so slow...let the employees stay home. Don't pass off last week's special as this week's bargin. I agree with Frank.

1:50 AM, January 24, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

pair of 8's has a new chef that totally kicks ass now. Fuck yeah!

10:37 PM, June 15, 2006  

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