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.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Blacked out at Blue Hill

Frank Bruni visited the Manhattan Blue Hill for this week's review, which was about as fun as reading tax law in a church basement.

I had two of the best meals of my life chez Dan Barber, one at the Blue Hill in Manhattan and one at Stone Barns. This past Father's Day, my sister's godparents took us to Stone Barns, on a blazing hot morning, where I literally had a show-stopping GREEN SALAD. It was called "Everything in the Greenhouse" I think, and I dream about it sometimes-- minty, peppery, lemony, imperceptibly dressed, glossy gorgeous greens. I've never had anything like it.

A little more than a year ago, one of Matt's best friends, also a cook, took us out to dinner at Blue Hill Manhattan as a belated celebration of Matt's graduation from culinary school. Needless to say, we got ripped at the Dove first (one of those amazing nights when the Dove is empty, and you feel like you're in the sateen-lined salon of your own Whartonian manse.)

Our meal at Blue Hill was fun, but kind of shamefully profligate, a little like the time I took a drool-swathed 6-hour nap in a $285 seat at Tristan and Isolde at the Met. I stumbled through the tasting menu at Blue Hill in the blackest of blackouts, as if I were underwater, gurgling air bubbles when I opened my mouth and lugubriously reaching for but never quite successfully tasting these perfect, subtle, sober compositions.

That's the thing: if you're going to be blacked out, you should really eat somewhere with a sharp punch. You need food that can ice-pic its way to you through the wet mattress of your toxic fog, not someplace where you have to hush so you can hear the cricket playing a tiny organic violin on top of your butterbeans. You've also got to keep behavior in mind-- Blue Hill is an intimate, quiet space, not one in which the lifting of a skirt or the hollering of a slur can really glide under the radar.

Best places to eat in a blackout:

Bar Jamon
: Spicy, hammy ham is just what Dr. Jekyll ordered for a nightmare drunk, and you can holler all you want-- you could light your tits on fire and you wouldn't turn heads on a busy night at this packed Spanish ham-hut/bar.

Gilt: I know it sounds crazy in such a rarefied room (the old Le Cirque space at the Palace Hotel) but the crowd drawn to Gilt is wacky-- Japanese brides, corporate groups, Jacob Marlowe socialites (the ones that look like they died years ago and are dragging huge gold chains around), and breasty tarts with older men. The staff is so impeccably tactful, they'll know exactly how to make you feel like you're not being an asshole when you shatter your Nth martini. The courses in the tasting menu are short, bordering on perfunctory, perfect for the fluttering attentions of a dilapidated drunk.

Gilt: secretly great place to show your nancy to a stranger.

Sweetwater/Robin des Bois: If you're not going to remember it, you might as well keep it affordable. And who are we kidding, stay within cab distance of Boat.

Hm, there are lots of other good ones that I'm blanking on. I've been out of the city now for over a month-- I can't remember these places anymore!

I guess the brain damage is permanent! [insert slide whistle and clown honk.]


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