Wednesday, February 1, 2012

a restaurant week non-dinner (lyn)

I’m meeting Meredith for dinner.  It’s restaurant week and we’ve chosen Telepan, for its 3-course $35 dinner.  Neither one of us has ever been there, and Zagat has given it high ratings.  January ended yesterday and walking to the restaurant, I pass people eating outdoors.  Seeing them makes me wish for last year’s February 1, when we were digging out from a major blizzard.

Even though Meredith and I speak almost daily, we see each other rarely.  She lives far from me by city standards (upper west side) and has a puppy that doesn’t like to be left alone.  And though we share a membership to Manhattan Theater Club, we’ve had to skip going together to the first two plays this year.  So, having a nice dinner out is something we are both looking forward to.

Meredith arrives before me and is already seated, having a glass of wine, when I walk in.  We are handed menus.  I ask if the menus include the $35, 3-course special.  “No, I’m sorry, but we only participate in the restaurant-week special during lunch,” says our snippy waiter, apparently hating me for asking.  I can tell. Now what do we do?  We must have missed the just-lunch notation.  It’s an expensive restaurant. But we are seated, and Meredith is already drinking an $18 glass of wine.  While we are debating what to do, a new person suddently appears at our table.  In his hand is a small printed pamphlet of the restaurants participating in restaurant week; he shoves it down in front of us. I’m guessing that somewhere in this pamphlet is proof of Telepan's lunch-only participation.  As if we asked for proof!  This person, it turns out, is not the maître d, or even the owner, but rather another waiter coming to help out his friend.  Meredith and I are simply the hapless recipients of an offensive grand gesture.

Despite our waiter and his friend, we decide to stay.  For an appetizer, we split an excellent house-smoked brook trout on a buckwheat-potato blini and black radish sour cream.  We both get a complicated-sounding but delicious-tasting roasted chicken (over brussel sprouts, egg pasta, poppy seeds and crème fraiche).  We skip dessert.

In the end, I’m glad we stayed.  As we are saying good night, we both realize how foolish it is to see each other so infrequently.  Once a month, at least, we will get together.  Even when it’s not restaurant week.

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