The Monday Room
How people manage to eat dinner after 6:00pm is beyond us.
By 6:00pm, we are ravenous. So hungry that even the 6:30pm reservation we have procured at The Monday Room seems entirely too late. True to form, we check in for our dinner a full half hour early, and even truer to form, we are the only diners present in the entire establishment.
Needless to say, we're well-prepared for our futures of nursing room early bird specials.
The hostess greets Vodka by her first name upon entry, making it obvious that we are the only ones with mid-afternoon reservations, and perhaps the only idiots to have made reservations at all. Ginger, never one for clock-reading, chuckles at the ludicrous fact that we are 23 minutes early. When Vodka points out that we are actually 33 minutes ahead of time, the absurdity only grows. Particularly after Ginger admits that she has already been prowling the block for 10 minutes in search of The Monday Room's entrance, as she heard via her academic research (Yelp) that it is hard to find (in truth, it is merely to the left of the door to The Public restaurant, the discovery of which left Ginger wandering aimlessly for entirely too many minutes).
We are seated outside at prime table real estate: next to the open vestibule with a view of what appears to be a cemetery, a lion statue, a shopping cart, and a broken down bicycle. Hello Soho.
"I'm a wine person," Vodka insists. "It just all tastes the same to me."
Skipping the overwhelming wine selection, we instead order the Bitter Sweet and the Monday Fizz cocktails, though the only words we recognize in the ingredients are "vodka" and "sugar," respectively ("Is cognac a gin or a whiskey?"). When the waiter later apologizes for the delay in the cocktails' appearance, explaining that they've been unable to locate the Tokay for Vodka's drink, Vodka looks at the waiter and just smiles. Clearly, we have absolutely no idea what he's talking about.
|May or May Not Include Tokay|
With nary a Value Menu in sight, we settle on four items to share, including the glazed eel, as recommended by Claire Robinson on the TOTALLY UNEXPECTED episode of Best Thing I Ever Ate. Ginger, back in her domineering mode, does all of the ordering, which Vodka follows up by immediately commandeering Ginger's cocktail for a picture. Codependent dysfunction at its finest.
As we wait for our food, Vodka asks, "How's your life?" which Ginger answers nonchalantly with "Well, right now I'm shopping for an outfit to die in." Expecting Ginger to pull a black funeral veil out of her shopping bag, Vodka instead sees her whip out a pair of culottes.
|Cue the Funeral March|
In an effort to get in as much solid eating as possible before Ginger leaves this city and maybe this planet, we dive into the glazed eel. Two spoons rest atop thin cucumber slices, each filled to the brim with slices of eel, pickled beansprouts, and a miniature quail egg.
|Trust Us - We Had the "What the -- ?" Reaction, Too|
|Cucumber Buried Alive|
|Or We Just Need Taste Buds That Taste Flavors Other than Salt|
|It's Like Jenga|
|Deer on a Stick|
|So Just to Clarify - We CAN'T Get a Bowl?|
|So Much for Meatless Mondays|
"Aww, that was like a foodie turning point for us," Ginger surmises, and we congratulate ourselves on our ability to recognize a high-profile culinary scent.
|So Now, We've Mastered Salt and Truffle|
|Knoblewurst This Is Not|
The Monday Room's Glazed Eel: 4 stars