5 hours after the meal
We went to a high school award show where about 100 students receive various awards and scholarships. Behind me was a rather large burly fella, I think, I never actually got a good look but tried very hard. For the first 15 minutes I was oblivious to the applause in the auditorium until I realized that the person behind me was clapping a little too hard. At first I tried not pay attention, but things only got worse. First came the hope, that his hands will hurt and tire eventually. He never did. Then came the interviews, where I asked both my neighbors, who I know, if it bothers them. I figured maybe its just me getting old, adding yet another sound to the growing list of annoyances like bones cracking, or the bird doing the Hava Nagila-like mating call every morning. Someone needs to either fu@%$k or kill that thing soon. But both my neighbors agreed that the clapping was loud.
There were about 100 students getting awards that night. Each student received two sets of applause (when he/she gets on stage, and comes out). And some receive special awards, adding to a total of 300 applause moments during the two hour ceremony. At some point I thought I could perhaps ease the pain by envisioning a Seinfeld episode about this. George experiences the same thing twice with the same dude sitting behind him in two different events. It bothered George. He then discusses the mad clapper with Seinfeld and crew, getting blisters while trying to demonstrate. George then spots the Mad Clapper randomly walking, then proceeds to follow him to wherever he was walking, which turns out to be his granddaughter’s kindergarten play. He then makes sure to sit behind him clapping so hard, the blisters pop and he starts to bleed and separates his shoulder, much to the horror of some of the kids who started to cry and went to their parents. At the end he realizes the Mad Clapper is deaf
Two hours before the meal
“David Bowie Is” at the Brooklyn Museum – Crowded! Silent but crowded.
It was hard to imagine while walking on 21st st that somewhere inside all of this craziness awaits tranquility. But there it was, a spacious multi room ‘Home’ to Bouley’s latest concept. We sat in the room on the right, which I can only describe as a large library room without the library. There was peace and there was quiet, rarely seen or heard in NYC. Bouley himself was my closest neighbor sharing a table with a reporter, and I couldnt hear him, or even clearly see him (I was told that was him). There were the occasion gentle kitchen sounds and chatter from the test kitchen behind me (I think our room is called the Test Kitchen room, not Library without a Library room. Although I sort of like the latter and I dont like to feel like I’m part of an experiment).
I wont go into much detail about the 5 course lunch except to say that it was very good. However I liked the whole experience more than Mrs Z who expected more refined service and food for the price (after tax/tip $100 per). The standouts came early with the outstanding Oysters, and Porcini Flan. Three Oysters dressed with lemony mousse like “cloud”, salmon roe and caviar delivering exquisite flavors when combined. “Porcini Flan” was a delicious earthy soup featuring Alaskan Dungeness Crab, and Black Truffle Dashi. Mrs Z’s Eggplant Terrine, and egg, ham, polenta dish werent as exciting but very good nonetheless. Eggs and black truffles heavily featured on the menu. For mains we both preferred the slowly braised Beef Cheeks with Black Kale Gnocchi over the chicken. Desserts were lite, serviceable but forgettable compared to the rest.
5 days after the meal – The doctor recommended a white noise device to combat the ringing in the ear to help me sleep. I think he was secretly taking notes while I recited the Seinfeld episode so let this post serve as legal proof.
Bouley at Home
31 W 21st St (5/6), Flatiron
Rating: 2.5 Zs (out of 4)
Stars range from Good to Exceptional. Simple as that
Recommended Dishes: Porcini flan, Oysters, Beef Cheeks
Was this lunch or dinner? I’m afraid I’m like Mrs. Z as I loved the “formality” of the old place. But may give it a try next time around.