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26 Dec 2010

Since we’ve been on something of a biscuits and gravy kick the past six months or so, there was no way that Mark and I were going to miss out on the b+g iteration at L’Artusi after this glowing review on Serious Eats.  And indeed, the b+g that we got were quite tasty, with both dried and crumbled sausage thrown into the mix (though the dried sausage started to taste a bit like pepperoni — not a bad thing in general, but it started to infuse everything with a very un-biscuits-and-gravy-like pizza-ness).  And Mark’s bloody mary was good, as was my glass of white wine.  But the restaurant itself — huh.

Here’s the thing: I normally don’t go to places that require reservations for brunch.  The only exception to that rule is Maialino, but it’s such an exemplar of good service and excellent food that I don’t mind the added step.   Sitting among the well-heeled in a light-infused space next to Gramercy Park — hell, I’d be at Maialino all the time if I could.  (And indeed, I celebrated Christmas at Maialino today with a lazy, genteel brunch at the bar.  More on that in a post to come.)  So yeah, if you’re gonna require reservations, you’d better be worth it, on all levels.  But L’Artusi’s in this bizarre two-story space with a skylight that bathes maybe a third of the restaurant in natural light, while the rest of the place is blanketed with deep blue walls and white wainscoting.  It’s like farmhouse meets corporate hotel chain.  When we got there, and realized that we needed reservations to sit at a table, we were offered seats at either the regular bar or the “cheese bar.”  OK.  Cheese bar.  (We opted for the regular bar.)  Also, and no offense to blondes, but there were A LOT of you at the restaurant that day.  And you were all celebrating a baby shower.  And I think you all went to the same colorist.   What was I talking about?  Oh, right.  Yeah, it was like eating in a Sex and the City episode, only actually eating and not pecking at my food.  I can’t remember the last time I felt so out of place at a restaurant with regular ol’ brunch prices.

At one point Mark started to talk about how he wanted to work at a corporate law firm again, just for a year, so that he could make enough money to have a lifestyle similar to everyone around us.   It’s that kind of place: where you feel so out of place that you start to have deluded, bizarro aspirations, just so you can fit in.  Sweet jesus, that’s what it is: L’Artusi’s where everyone you hated in high school now goes to brunch.

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