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.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Craft: Why Can't a Steakhouse be More like a Gay Barn?

“THE line between freedom of choice and the tyranny of too many options isn’t such a fine one.”

Mmmkay. Clear already. This is going to be nasty. (P.S. For the record, Frank is kind of right.)

“There were any number of moments when the chef Tom Colicchio and his collaborators on Craftsteak, yet another new mega-restaurant on the edge of the meatpacking district, should have realized they were crossing [that line].”

Was it the moment where you were asked to choose between a normal table or a tricorner ass-table?

Tough to decide! The ass-table is hand whittled by an artisanal oakworker. On the other hand, it's disgusting.

I’ll say it— I’ll say it right now. I hate the Craft concept. Pick your own sauce? Pick your own sides? Hey Tom, one of us here is a genius chef and the “lentil salad” posing as diaper scrapings on my stovetop suggests it’s not me.

But my lentils are great for soldering off minor wrinkles and liver spots!

Among the choice-overload infractions:
“…they included, in a menu category for New York strip steaks, beef aged not only for 28 days and for 56 days but also for 35, 42 and 49 days.”

I’m not good at math, and I don’t know the science of beef aging. Does it age like babies?

Baby at 28 days

Baby at 56 days

…like cats?

Cat at 28 days

At 56 days

…or like Pont L’Eveque in the hot sun?

Cheese in hot sun at 28 days

Cheese in hot sun at 56 days

“Beef comes in various classes: “a Grade 6 ‘flat-iron’ steak, a Grade 8 strip, a Grade 10 rib-eye. You scan the selections, which reach $20 per ounce as a steak’s educational level rises, and wonder how much a postgraduate porterhouse would set you back.”
Not sure.

But 25¢ will get you a heapin’ helpin’ of this ground round. Not only did it fail kindergarten, but it was kicked out of ballet class for farting on Second Position.

And finally, the paragraph that has the world atwitter:

"The pedigrees and provenances [of beef at Craft] are so specific (“Ridgefield Farm Corn-Fed Premium Hereford Beef”) that my companions and I found ourselves wondering if we could inquire after a steer’s...sexual orientation (we figured gay cattle might be in especially good shape)."

“Thank God we have this mountain to ourselves!!! Wanna finnish necking and then go for a run?”
“I cain’t quit yeeewwww!! Sure, then maybe I can lift a little and you can spot me.”

The pileup of choices “would have been less irksome if it had been more delicious. But… the steaks at Craftsteak proved disappointing.”


And Frank knows why! –

“Is the restaurant really getting the best beef? Is its in-house aging program on track? Or is the main problem a dictatorship behind a Potemkin democracy?”

Frank’s totally right— the problem isn’t the beef. It’s the puppet regimes of the post-soviet Caucasus!!!

“You ruined Frank’s steak! You ruined Frank’s steak!”

JK. What he really means by “Potemkin Democracy” is this: all steaks are prepared the same way, so even though it SEEMS LIKE you have many choices in your steak, in fact, they are ALL roasted…

by Victor Yushchenko.

After this triggering of the electric nail-gun at the coffin for so many paragraphs, Frank winds down with a surprising slew of compliments. Great. I’m sure at this point, Tom Colicchio has glanced down at the bottom to notice that lonely single star, so the “many terrific salads” and “exquisitely braised short ribs” probably feel like the “but I still think you’re hot” that follows a brutal dumping.

"Baby, I'm dumping you because I need some space. It has nothing to do with your weird bleed-from-the-mouth performance art. I still think you're cute when you take the pink whale vagina off your head!"

Frank’s conclusion reminds me of Rex Harrison in “My Fair Lady,” specifically the song where, scratching his five o’clock shadow and adjusting his sack-cradling gentleman’s pantaloons, he barks to Colonel Pickering “Why can’t a woman be more like a man?”

"God, Pickering, why can’t she juggle, read, or pee standing up in the rain with no one noticing?!"

Frank seems to ask, “Why can’t a steakhouse be more like a steakhouse,” and (his words now) less “like indie movie actors making salary-pumping appearances in summer blockbusters. Think V Steakhouse…”

MAN-- he was angry at V Steakhouse…

“But even if you head [toward the beef] you encounter too many additional forks in the road. And you soon realize you got a bum steer.”

Aww, a cute agricultural pun to hide a sizzling dis.

P.S. There's a bum steer on my corner. He's always mooing "Deck the Halls" for crack money and making 42-lb hay craps in front of Baby Gap. It's so sad!


Blogger psnd1969 said...

Yet again, a brillant post. I like your new drunken-confused-glamour shot (profile pic), it is, as with everything you do, totally awesome!

You kick ass so hard I felt it in Oregon!

12:41 AM, July 18, 2006  
Blogger Alice Q said...

Where oh where can I get one of those ass tables??

2:46 AM, July 21, 2006  

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