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.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Restaurant Week at Riingo

Last night I went with the usual suspects-- "Truffle Pig" Lang and "Last Man Standing" Sarah-- to Riingo, for restaurant week. The chef there is Marcus Samuelsson of Aquavit/People's 50 Most Beautiful fame. I remember going to the old Aquavit, R.I.P., as a kid; it was our go-to for fancy New York gatherings. As Finns, we felt at home among the grav lax and the reindeer and the sleek design. As a kid, I was just thankful the grownups I knew were classy enough to take me out, as my own allowance had to be spent on a passionate if parochial pursuit of Banana flavored Laffy Taffy. As if it would one day run out, and I would have to rely on my "collection."

I have mixed emotions about Restaurant Week. Firstly, every week is Restaurant Week in my world. I don't need to wait for the pistol to fire, I'm sprinting around the restaurant track in my short shorts on a permanent basis. Lunch can be a much better proposition, but dinner, which most of the really good places don't even offer, at its worst is boring food at no particular bargain. Danny Meyers is famous for his honoring of restaurant week diners with the best of what his kitchens turn out, and when I went to Tabla last year, the rumors were true. They treated us like the lady in the Sheeba commercials treated her luxurious white Persian cat, a.k.a. like a goddam queen. And the food was outstanding.

Alas, Riingo took the airplane-food route-- the restaurant week menu offered chicken, salmon, or beef. It felt like wedding food. The short ribs were pretty well done, but the fish was actually inedible and the chicken was like hitting the snooze button on my tongue. My appetizer, I kid you not, was a SALMON AVOCADO ROLL that could have come from a deli. The desserts actually kind of kicked ass, and the wine list was great and affordable, but on the whole, it would have been better to just order off the normal menu.

Maybe the restaurant was distracted? Marcus himself sashayed in at around 7:00 with a 400-foot model on his arm, was ushered to the back (I'm assuming they ate at the chef's table or something) and then emerged again a few hours later (right about when our hot green tea donuts began rescuing the night.) The model seemed like she had recently been hit very hard in the back of the head with a frying pan or a wooden plank-- frightened and confused with a hint of emptiness. Marcus seemed like a charmer, and looked like a hotter version of Carlton from the Fresh Prince. But alas, the Fresh Prince had nothing to do with that meal, at least not with the salmon.

But oh Aquavit, you live in my dreams, unscathed by your prodigal chef's skanky newer ventures.

You can kinda see the Carlton thing, no? Or do you just see the racist thing? Whoops.


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