How are you? It was great meeting up before I left. Remember that story I was going to tell you, but didn’t have time when I called from the airport. Well here it is.
It was a Monday, during my last week in New York. Actually the day before I met you at Lupa. I was out for dinner with a friend at Wesley Genovart’s Degustation. As I walked into the tiny restaurant, I was surprised to see a familiar but unexpected face. The hugely talented pastry chef, Pam, from Room 4 Dessert, which was closed, devastating, as it was one of my favorite places in the city. She was a waitress. It was a waste of talent. But I was excited; I had so many questions for her. In between her harried service, (she was out of her element,) we chatted and caught up – Why Room 4 Dessert closed. What she was doing since, what Will Goldfarb was doing, and was it going to open again.
Pam added that she was starting a new job that Thursday, in the kitchen at Sam Mason’s highly anticipated Tailor. Sam Mason, the rock star pastry chef of WD50 fame was opening a new restaurant that would meld sweet and savory together. She said to check it out before I left New York. I wanted to, but I was tight on time.
I fitted it in. Saturday night. I was to meet a bunch of friends at Tailor for dessert and drinks. It was hard to find as there wasn’t any information on the website except for an address. There wasn’t even a phone number. The place was unmarked. I only ventured in after my initial reconnaissance before my friends arrived because I saw a pair of legs through the translucent frosted glass. I had guessed correctly. They were the hostess’s and they were great. I had found it. I was relieved. However I was informed that they had stopped serving food.
“Excuse me,” I said. There wasn’t anymore time. “But I’m leaving New York,” I pleaded.
“I’m sorry but until Sunday we stop serving at 9 p.m.,” she said sympathetically. “Would you like to make a reservation at 6:15 p.m. tomorrow,” she asked sweetly. I took it knowing full well I would be at Coney Island. I had never gone and it was on my list of must-sees before I left.
I was at the aquarium when I called to ask if I could delay dinner until 8:30 p.m., I could. So after the aquarium closed, I rushed down. Everyone in the restaurant was impeccably dressed. I had ketchup stains on my jeans (I was squirted on at Nathan’s.) I was in a T-shirt and flip-flops and I still had sand in my hair. But I figured that they had seen me dressed up the night before. We were seated and my dinner companion and I were pleasantly surprised to find out that dinner and drinks were free!
Butter, it was a perfect quenelle, but the knife was faster than the camera.
Tailor was doing this as a way to thank their friends, fans and the lucky few that stumbled through those unmarked doors in Soho, as well as to work out any kinks. My free drink was atrocious, even for free alcohol. (Sorry Mr. Eben Freeman, to be fair I hate anything bubblegum flavored that isn’t gum. I don’t know why I chose the bubble gum drink.) The food however, was original and well executed. There was a buttery char poached and balanced with passion fruit. The most exciting dish I had this year (Note: 2007. I wrote this letter last year) was Mason’s miso butterscotch pork belly. Succulent slow cooked pork belly combined with two seemingly dis-seperate elements: the miso and butterscotch. Never have I tasted anything that melded, complemented and amplified like those two together. The synergy of the ingredients was amazing. I was in awe.
One of the reasons for wanting to go to Tailor was to re-experience the avant-garde desserts of Room 4 Dessert. But desserts at Tailor, while avant-garde are different from Will Goldfarb’s creations. I have to admit I was a little disappointed. They were good, but I wanted something else. I wanted to experience my favorite place in New York again. I don’t think any restaurant or pastry chef could have measured up.
As I was eating, I noticed a striking lady at the table beside me. Then I realized that she was eating alone. No one that cute should eat alone in the city. Low and behold after finishing her dish she took out a pen and pad and started writing. aahhhh….
Who was she writing for?
“Are you a food writer,” I politely gushed.
“Because I am such a food groupie,” (internal voice of course.)
She answers in halting English.
“Yes.” A French accent.
“Très Sexy,” (again internal voice with a French accent.)
We start talking about this place, the food we ordered or should have ordered, the city and food.
Omaima, the French food writer leaves for a second.
My dinner date is by this time furious.
“But the poor girl is eating alone,” I try to appeal.
She’s having none of it.
“Hey I tried to get you into the conversation,” I reasoned.
I’m still in the doghouse. Although I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong.
Omaima comes back. We talk about food again. She says that her publication has flown her out from Paris to cover some restaurant openings. Then she asks…
Pause for effect…
If I would want to write for them!!! To be sort of a New York correspondent for them!
I am only too delighted. Holy fucking crap! My dream job.
Oh wait I’m leaving New York.
525 Broome Street (Between Thompson St. & 6th Avenue)
New York, New York 10013
It was free when I went. Check their website for the menu and price.
Like it’s namesake, the staff at Tailor is superbly dressed and it’s Soho address almost guarantees that everyone else in the place will be looking good. That said I went wearing ketchup splattered jeans, a T-shirt and flip-flops.