An uncomfortable wave ripples through your muscles when dining at a restaurant of a man who made partner at Gods of Food LLC — est. 2013.
The burden oddly shifts onto you, the diner, to really not fuck this up. Thousands have made the pilgrimage to a foodie Mecca, espousing the mystical glory that is cold fried chicken or the transience of a pork bun.
To arrive on such hallowed lands and say anything less? Heresy.
Masses have come and gone, most exiting with an approving nod — they had to know something! Group-think must be valid in some capacity, I mean, it still exists.
Armed with amateur knowledge and a cooking companion to dine alongside, the scene was set to face off against the status quo.
Our waiter arrived swiftly at our table once my cousin and I locked eyes with unshakable resolve of what to eat.
A brief look of confusion followed my cousin’s rapid-fire order. That much food and alcohol for two Asian kids dubiously able to foot the bill? Sure.
After a conversation regarding patron saint Dave and his imperial expanse from a humble Lower East Side noodle shop, our feast had arrived.
Tt, tt, tt. Several plates laid down in quick succession. At this point, we were both a little tipsy from our yesteryear gin+tonics and old-fashions.
A collage of colors were before us, while the neurological centers of our brain used to analyze were firmly fermented. Niceties and Instagram indulgence went out the window.
The glossy sheen blanketing our meal was ethereal. We careened downward, tearing into the hot-cold chicken, duck, salad, buns, and etceteras.
After several bites into crispy, juicy, mystery poultry, I was struck. The food we were eating, sorry, devouring — was good yeah, but a haunting feeling ‘this can’t be everything’ loomed over me.
I was left unimpressed after letting the sweet kiss of inebriation part amicably. The best thing I had? The wedge salad.
Iceberg piled high with palate non-challenging accoutrements. Sue me, it was pretty spectacular as wedge salads go.
After the taste of vinegary dressing and bacon subsided, sobering disappointment remained.
I’m not entirely sure whose fault that lies: his status as a restaurateur, those who willingly tend to the hearth of his ego, or my own inexplicably high expectations after word-of-google tabs.
Perhaps all participating players.
Regardless of the existential nature of my quandary, the $250 tab left fewer questions. As good as the food was, it was sadly below the bar of expectation — or principal of economic logic for that matter.