Beans, Beans, the Magical Fruit

The sort of secret blog of Beans, a.k.a. Jules, a.k.a. "Legs for Miles" a.k.a. "Rackie the Boob Queen." Fine, ok, not the last two. Starting July 2006, sometimes "Mike," aka "fagadoccio," is a co-poster on the blog. The co-poster child, really.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Ninja, Part One: The Place

Like Melinda May, the little girl who for no reason said she'd eat a whole whale and then did, I declared that one day I would eat at Ninja, and I did. The world either balked or protested, but frankly, it sounded like my kind of place--a little kitch, a little raw fish, call it a night. Bruni's infamous October review made people for whom the Dining Times is about as relevant as a Spiegel catalogue take note. It was scandal, and it was fun-- for writer, readers, and mocker alike.

But Ninja, like a 5th grade fat girl with gum on her butt, stood up in homeroom among the derision and didn't find it funny. A real restaurant with a real chef, and with very real money invested in a subterranean bat lair and mini Epcot mountain village in pricey Tribeca, Ninja no doubt responded.

So we wanted to give it a fair shot. And Ho. Ly. Shit. This place is both tragic and toxic, hilarious and terrifying, kind and in the end completely and totally miscalculated. But I have to stress hilarious.


Obviously Lang came along (see Alinea), although in offering to take the 7-course vegetarian tasting menu (Saizo, $70) since no one else would, her chivalry trumped her "Truffle Pig" instincts and her food, course for course, was far worse than everyone else's (which is like saying that among bridge trolls, they were the ugliest). My friend Sarah, who recently opened a restaurant, and Jon, who appreciates weird stuff, came along. They each ordered the Sasuke (seven courses, $70), and I ordered the Hanzo (7 courses, but some fancier stuff, $100).

I'm serializing this bitch, so...

1. The Place

This little dark door couldn't be less perfectly juxtaposed with the grand, glassy front of Danube, right accross Hudson Street.

Once inside a dark little vestibule, we decided to wait in the lounge for our fourth person. Here the ninjery began. A spry little ninja pulled the classic samurai move of "coat checking" while another trained master performed the "elevator button push." When we emerged from the elevator in an underground cavern, a tiny ninja jumped up from the floor, hollered and ran away. We shrieked, giggled, and sat down in the creepily empty bat cave, all matte black crags with ropes and chains dangling from the cieling, in a way that half gave me De La Guarda flashbacks (cut to me clinging to a caged wall, white knuckled, begging a Brazilian man in a bungee-rigged diaper to please, please for the love of Mary leave me alone.)

Sarah and Lang perusing the Torah scroll/drink menu.
I have to say, for all the things ninja got egregiously wrong, the lounge could be kind of a cool alternative place to hold a bar party, and the cocktails were actually great (at $10.) The night's winner was a clean "green teani." Call 'em stupid fusion for Ruby Foo twats, I love a mean green teani. I said it.

And yes, when it was time to proceed to our table, we were indeed asked which we preferred, the safe way or the dangerous way. Shit, bitch, I'm from New Haven, try me! No doubt for legal reasons, the "dangerous" route turned out to be not so much "dangerous" as "long and winding." We were all hoping that a psycho with a huge butcher's knife would pop out of the wall but, again, I could imagine some beaurocratic red tape hindering such a plan. The best they could muster was that at one point in our long and winding hallway, we faced a pit of coals too big to hop over. The ninja chanted, a drawbridge fell, and over the smoldering Duane Reade Halloween Decoration coals we safely trotted.

We sat in our own little dining hut, in a village of dining huts...

...and awaited our waiter. Little did we know, she would arrive ON FIRE.



At 5:31 AM, Blogger happy-go paradeboy said...

oh. my. god.

I used to enjoy finding a new article, witty comment, or any other attempt at being painfully charming. But now, you've gone too far. Now, it's just a sad pathetic event, waiting for the next installment. This is how it felt for little 6 year olds, watching the Lone Ranger and wondering if he'll make it off the side of the cliff and kick the snot out of his so-called Native American companion.

So I wait.

Although I do hope you left the place in a frenzy of severed limbs and flaming arrows.

At 7:35 AM, Blogger Beans said...

I had to... there's so much to say! Just wait, you're gonna freak out when the Ecuadorian magician comes by to pull quarters out from behind our ears.

At 9:24 AM, Blogger happy-go paradeboy said...

Be happy it was your ears. I've heard some freaky stories....

At 9:46 AM, Blogger Justin Kreutzmann said...

the adventure begins....


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