[Pink Pig Time Machine by Wilfrid: December 12, 2016]
My diary let me down this week. Several blank pages, and a sad lack of insight into what went wrong with a meal at March. "Disappointing tasting menu at March" is all I know.
Remember March? For several years, it had been one of my exemplary Manhattan restaurants, alongside JoJo, Café Boulud, and San Domenico. Expensive, but not four star-expensive, plush, comforting, and reliably good.
What I didn't know when I made a reservation there for December 2006 was that it would close on the first day of 2007. That, in retrospect, explains the mediocre meal and lazy service. And seem to have been too disgusted to list dishes in my diary: it was always a tasting menu joint, so there would have been a lot of them. A sad end to the Wayne Nish-Joe Scalice double-act, and it's interesting to look back on the stream of chefs who passed through that once excellent kitchen: Missy Robbins, Harold Moore, Michael Anthony...
I can remember details of the revival of Sondheim's Company staged by the British director John Doyle. Like his production of Sweeney Todd the previous year, the characters were virtually tethered to musical instruments and invited to provide their own accompaniment. While a spot of the old Brechtian verfremdungseffekt made sense with Sweeney, a highly stylized mummer play of a musical, I thought it fatally shackled the light social realism of Company. The critics loved it, but why waste Raúl Esparza's dynamism by having him stuck at a piano. It wasn't until the closing moments that he was allowed to walk downstage for "Being Alive." That gave a glimpse of what might have been.
And finishing off the week, the estimable Ali at the Kabab Café laying out a fish-heavy menu for once: great clams, squid salad, some big fish baked whole, lobster, that kind of thing. A gem.