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, February 08, 2006

Barbounia: Why, I think you mean "toot pillow."

How many times must a man run into the editorial wall of not being able to talk about a butt? How often must he search in the pockets of his bloomers for a solution and come up with nothing but gold coins, Estee Lauder Equalizing Foundation for Combination Skin, and a mille-feuille of expense receipts, but NO IDEA HOW TO TALK ABOUT AN ASS. Barbounia presented this very challenge to the Count this week:

“THE new restaurant Barbounia is very easy on the eyes, relatively easy on the ears and not so bad on the stomach, either. But it's kindest of all to another part of the body, which is less delicately evoked and most often consigned to euphemism.”

He’s encountered this problem before. With the Times' Crass Police hot on his tail, and without knowledge of such handy, seemingly innocent expressions as “salad-spinner," "turtle crack” or “meat buns” (the kids these days are so creative!) Frank really flounders.

I mean, if the corporate world can cope...

“How to put this into appropriately fuzzy language?” pleads Frank, as if we still have no idea what he’s talking about (I just don’t get it—you mean the seats are comfy on my ANTERIAL PERINEUM?)

His solution is to focus on the lush cushioning itself:
“Let's just say that no matter where inside Barbounia you sit and no matter how long you sit there, you will feel cushioned, coddled and grateful.”

And crunk. And spread-eagle.

“Chairs in the dining room are broad, soft and upholstered. Banquettes are pillow-paloozas, as suitable for napping as for noshing.”

This is starting to align with the eat-on-a-bed trend in New York, places like Duvet and Bed, which should be renamed Get Soup on Your Boobs Café and Crane Your Neck Til it Snaps Inn, respectively.

You know, they invented a sexy new way to eat in bed.

It's called an IV.

“In a city where diners' physical comfort often gets too little consideration, Barbounia is practically a massage of a restaurant, and its magic fingers reflect a broader eagerness to please.”

OK, WE GET IT. You lie in the lap of a bosomous wetnurse while a tiny, aggressive Swede runs your major muscle groups over a vibrating washboard yada yada yada. IS THERE EVEN ANYTHING TO EAT HERE?

For better or worse, yes: “Barbounia's Mediterranean menu smacks of a bit too much market research and a bit too little inspiration....You relish and remember the sitting in part because it's easy to forget the eating, which is often appealing but seldom exciting.”

So if you go to Barbounia, this might lie in your future:

Buddy: Hey, how was that new place, Barbounia?
You: Um, I don’t know. Well I know that we were sitting.
Buddy: Huh?
You: Yeah, we definitely sat during the meal. I can tell you that.
Buddy: What about the food?
You: Consumed demi-supine. For sure.
Buddy: Did you order—
You: On chairs, mostly.

Although if it tastes unexciting, at least the food looks nice:

"This restaurant knows how to assemble a nice spread, be it cheese or salumi. It understands the value of a good visual."

Thankfully, so do I.

In the end, Frank gives Barbounia a star, sheerly for the cushions, it seems. I can't quite get a reading on this place from the review, whether it's a corporate dump for suckers or kind of a treat. Frank's final clue:

Barbounia “is a reference to red mullet.”

That's a haircut for man who understands the concept of "commitment."

Awesome. I'm off to Barbounia, to order a glass of water and lounge on their banquettes like it's a commercial for the Bahamas.


Blogger arnheim Lieber said...

I'm the first to post a comment?!?! I feel obligated to come up with a synonym for ass- how about...? too much pressure..I'll be back.

3:54 PM, February 08, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Le Imbecile? How about l'imbecile? Or is Jules addicted to barbes on toaste pointes?

10:22 PM, March 10, 2006  

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