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 15, 2006

Lonesome Dove: Sleepin' in the Prairie when there ain't no Stars

Weeeee-haw! What we done gone dood din havin’ got up in here is an ole- fashin’ ass-whoopin’, like pappy use to give me when I git to splashin around in his tannery barrel.

That’s how come I got them chemicals in my brains.

The Count not only zero-stars Lonesome Dove, he does it with confidence, with panache, with the sangfroid of a prudish cop shutting down a tacky whorehouse. The place struck Frank from day one as nasty and he’s got the language to prove it:

Outside the restaurant, “on the sidewalk, like a rustler’s riff on a red carpet, lay a brown-and-white steer’s hide.” Chef/owner Tim Love apparently likes to shop for furniture and décor on Highway 9.

“Look at the handiwork on this bureau! I wonder if it comes with a dresser?”

With rain and traffic, Frank returned to find “this hairy and scary welcome mat plastered to the ground, mottled with dirt and squishy with water: roadkill after a rainstorm.” So already, Frank is being greeted at the doorstep by a sewer-rat’s jerry curl.

And yes, that’s Pedro Martinez’ hair. Don’t you recognize the sheen?

Lonesome Dove is playing up the cheeky southerner ad nauseum, according to Frank: décor includes a “mounted steer’s head and a chandelier of antlers,” while the cooks wear cowboy hats (which must be totally unbearable and really impractical.)
Not that I’ve ever cared about practicality!

One of my little inventions…It’s the ultimate easy travel pack for the traveler who just wants 50 extra pounds of dead weight— say, someone taking a dinghy across the Pacific.

Speaking of impractical,

“Lonesome Dove imagines and executes what might be called contemporary cowpoke cuisine. It’s a mash-up of the Southwest, the Wild West, the Outback and maybe even Brokeback…”

Wow. Australian Southwest gays?


It’s like the baby of Kenny Chesney and Keith Urban.

Lonesome Dove seems to test the limits of the most intrepid diners, offering meat from every animal that walks, e.g. “marsupial nachos” consisting of “reddish meat on blue corn chips with avocado and corn scattered about” like the marriage between a Vampire and a Fatass, where the guests threw trash instead of confetti. The shocker here is, the crazy meats turn out to me “more interesting in theory”: tastes like chicken, the Count admits.

Tim Love’s ingredients are as multiple as his meats are weird, and about as ineffective: “A deluge of salt and a gooey dollop of butter mixed with Serrano chili, shallots, Boursin cheese and fresh lime juice” topped a buffalo rib-eye. I can’t even play that one out in my imagination. Maybe Tim should have applied to his food Coco Chanel’s advice about removing one accessory before leaving the house:

“Ya know what? I’m gonna take this bracelet off, it’s just too much.”

But does the cheekiness of Lonesome Dove come as any surprise? Tim Love has been a cheeky press presence for a while now--

Perhaps more surprising at this point is the praise that the Dove actually gets:

“Mr. Love seems dedicated to getting first-rate cuts of meat, and if the rub-happy kitchen goes overboard in seasoning them, especially with salt and pepper, it certainly knows how to cook many of them.” Oh good ‘cause I like my chipmunk medium and I’ll take my meerkat and my narwhal as rare as they’ll let ya!

Tim Love's ranch.

Frank also appreciates the hearty portions and the inclusion of sides. But who cares, because move over for one of the most amazing Brunisms of all time:

The grilled $120-“Tomohawk chop” is a “bone-in rib-eye for two, accompanied by a lobster tail and two scallops as large as tennis balls, and that bone is so long it seems to stretch all the way back into the partly visible kitchen.”

Tim’s coming up from the rear in a separate tent with the balls and a signed copy of Innuendo? Yes please! Give Me Two Heaping Scoops, by Frank Bruni.


Anonymous Proud Texan Matt Mosely said...

I read your article first then Franks and he is a moron. I am a Texan living up here in Manhattan and many of the things he rants and raves about, that you glorify, are pretty insulting to native Texans. Too bad something from Texas comes up here and puts a different spin on eating out. I don't know about you, but how much more french fusions, japanese shitholes, and Italian diners will I have to endure before I can get a real Texas steak around here. I havent been to the Lonesome dove, but will now, especially since Frank Bruni obviously wont be there.

1:01 PM, November 15, 2006  
Blogger Sam said...

Hey Matt, I writing from Texas where I had fresh ahi tuna right off the boat yesterday, never frozen, and aged prime rib eye the night before. The shrimp is awesome, cheap, and smells clean. The oysters are wonderful. I still make the trip to Austin or Houston to get my Jones on real Vietnamese cooking, too. Ever try to find a real Vietnamese joint in NY? Oh, and we're planning a major chili cook-off that can only be done right in Texas.

Maybe we should keep it our little secret. Let 'em eat perogies. Frank Bruni probably abuses perogies!

10:34 PM, November 15, 2006  
Anonymous Manhattan Girl said...

Hey Matt Mosely, if Texas is so great, why don't you go back! I had the misfortune of living in Dallas, and traveled quite a bit with in the state when I was there. A homegrown Texan doesn't know high quality food from a hole in the wall. If you think so overchargrilled steak is a top quality meal-you're as Dumb as President Bush.

11:03 PM, November 15, 2006  
Blogger Jules said...

Stay strong, Texas; there might be enough of your kind in town to keep the Dove afloat. "Reddish" kangaroo meat and all. How do you feel about the Australian bent to the place? Inn't that kind of unorthodox? I haven't been to Texas since-- OK, never, but I didn't think there were too many marsupials hopping around.

11:06 PM, November 15, 2006  
Blogger Vicar said...

When I lived in San Antonio I ate some great great food.

And my brother was killed by a wombat on the grounds of the Alamo.

2:25 AM, November 17, 2006  
Blogger Dick said...

Hey manhattan girl, that's not very nice. Not that you probably give a sh*t. I am a homegrown Texan who has traveled a bit and I do think I know high quality food from a hole in the wall, not to mention knowing sh*t from Shinola. I don't say anything bad about you MANhattenites or -ers or whatever the fu*k you are calling yourselves these days. But Jeez Jules, we stopped eating 'possum during late last century. I also think anyone who names a restaurant "Lonesome Dove" needs to butt fu*ked by Bevo, the University of Texas longhorn mascot. Please!

1:22 AM, November 18, 2006  
Blogger Sam said...

Bah! The Wombats were just another local rock band that tried to imitate the Ramones. The Wombat Brothers are fairly famous in these parts. "Chupacabra" was a big hit.

More seriously, there are some ultra-fine establishments in Austin, Houston, Dallas, and even in the Hill Country that pride themselves on the best of the schools of the chef.

Now let me bring up the epicurean subject of Haute Cuisine for wild meats, which I suppose you would insist upon calling road-kill. Hudson's on the Bend near Austin Texas is among of the best, a favorite of Texas Monthly reviews. Sure it's over-rated but in the summer you can sit in the garden area and watch the sou chef cut thyme and rosemary from the garden for a nice wild mutton rub.

Jules, when's the last time you had one of those? Long time for me too!

But if you really want to spend more than a hundred a person for some decent food and wine, there are lot's of seats in Texas to choose from and accomodate your gustatory objectives. Bruni might even put out a few stars, if in a putting-out mood that day.

What is missing is the Manhattan buzz, that 'je ne sais quoi'. That is so like so not-Texas. The whole Manhattan foodie thing is different and I love it, even as a measley Texan transplanted long ago from Connecticut. Even a slice of pizza tastes different in Manhattan, somehow special.

Matt you can order Texas ribeyes online, man, like ya know?


2:09 AM, November 18, 2006  
Blogger Jules said...

I actually found Bevo the Longhorn to be quite a tender lover.

12:05 PM, November 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, ME TOO...

Sigh - so much for "super dupes innocent" with the fan/detractor base you've got, eh Jules?

3:03 AM, November 19, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Yeah, Bruni is a pompous ass. That's what this blog makes fun of. But you "proud texan matt mosely" are just an ass. Okay, a jackass.

And, DICK(head), it's not a mean statement. All your pathetic ilk do is go trapsing around the country or the world trying to find what you can find wrong about a place or how it isn't like good ol' Texas or the U.S. "mutha fuckin',love it or leave it, shut up and sing, toby keith spoonin'" A! Yeah, NYC isn't like Texas because, FOX news flash, thank God, it isn't Texas!

(quote) I don't know about you, but how much more french fusions, japanese shitholes, and Italian diners will I have to endure before I can get a real Texas steak around here. (unquote) - proud texan matt mosely.

Yeehaw! That's a quote to be real proud about.

Clearly you know nothing of French, Japanese or Italian food other than the bag of freedom fries or cup o' noodles or papa john's you stuff down your redneck every time NASCAR is on or there's a lynching on your block.

You made a grossly retarded statement (apologies to retards) that the food in NYC sucks. Have you ever in your simple, little, narrow life eaten Korean BBQ? It's different but it's just as good if not better than your Texas steak. I'm thinking that you don't even know the difference between a Japanese or Korean shithole. Hell, they all look the same to me!!

By the way, I've lived in Texas and I know the difference between Austin, Dallas, Houston, Galveston and even Odessa. I've eaten crawfish, "Texas" steaks, "real Texas" BBQ, gator, and all the other food that Texas is so damn proud of. Some of it is good, most of it is hype and Texas pride. Seems Texas just can't do BBQ without drowning it in sauce.

Do us all a favor and move the hell back. Your kind of attitude is over and is the kind of thinking that continues to fuck up this world.

2:44 PM, November 29, 2006  
Blogger Jules said...

Why is it that the Texas pride stuff always sets people off? I'd like to see a huge debate about Delaware pride some day. A comeback that involves "You DELWARARE DICKS THINK YOU HAVE IT SO HOT WITH YOUR TAX BREAKS AND YOUR HIGHWAY TOLLS?!"

3:14 PM, November 29, 2006  

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