Monday, September 16, 2013

This Gets One Star, Right? More Like Negative-Five

Tea-Smoked Oysters -- Desnuda

If given a personality test, we would all but guarantee that neither of us fall on the "perpetual optimist" side of the spectrum.  However, this characteristic is blown to pieces when it comes to one fateful ingredient: oysters.
Oh, Come On, Food Network -- Not THESE Pesky Buggers Again
Now, we KNOW we don't like oysters.  We have proven this theory time and time again, and yet, every time -- EVERY SINGLE TIME -- that we are forced to consume them for Best Thing I Ever Ate purposes, we assume it will be different.  THIS TIME, the oyster will win us over.  THIS TIME, we won't make a face like we swallowed sour milk the second the slimy little creatures hit our tongue.

And every time -- EVERY SINGLE TIME -- we are proven wrong.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is why we are pessimists.
Wine Is Just About the Only Thing We Can Count On In This World
When it comes to Desnuda's tea-smoked oysters, the dish pretty much has only one factor working in its favor: it was chosen by Claire Robinson on the SMOKY episode of Best Thing I Ever Ate, and generally, we like Claire's taste.

Tastes, we do not enjoy, however, are OYSTERS and SMOKE.  So Desnuda is still pretty much working at a deficit.
Yes, We'll Take One Order of Your Smoked Oysters. Hold the Smoke and the Oysters
To say that Desnuda is an "intimate" restaurant is an understatement -- in truth, we can barely squeeze ourselves past the other patrons at the bar in order to reach our own stools.  
Desnuda Aims to Make Their Patrons Feel Portly
The whole place consists of about fifteen seats, all along the narrowest bar ever, and gives us a prime view of such scenic imagery as the dishwasher.  
What Desnuda Calls a "Window View"
It seems that Desnuda's whole concept is to be as minimalist as possible, as not only is there barely a sign at the door proclaiming that you have, in fact, arrived at the right location, but they also refuse to cook their food.
Go Ahead. Find the Name of the Restaurant. We Dare You
Very Customer-Friendly Signage -- NOT
While we had hoped to camp out at Desnuda for a full dinner, one glance at their ceviche-heavy menu leads us to ask only one question: Where are all of the carbs?
You Call Yourself a "Wine Bar" and You Don't Serve Bread?!
With that, we each order a glass of wine, which, to Desnuda's credit, feature just about the biggest pours we have ever received this side of 14th Street.
So All, At Least, Is Not Lost
As we wait for our tea-smoked oysters, the bartender (slash waiter, dishwasher, host, and janitor) hands us a cone of truffled popcorn, which is entirely more pleasant than we had been expecting.
We Do Love a Sanitary Bar Snack
Salty and warm, we inhale it by the handful.  Which is more than we can say for the tea-smoked oysters.
Thank You For Not Covering the Popcorn With Cigarette Ash
One of the many multi-functional workers soon arrives with four small glass canisters containing one raw oyster each.
Just Fill These With Rolls and We'll Call Them "Smoked Oysters"
He then makes a silent production of filling each container with its own whiff of tea smoke, which, to our credit, does not make us gag from smoke inhalation (though Vodka does loudly mumble, "Ugh, I've never inhaled anything in my life," which no one in the establishment but Ginger seems to find amusing).
Pretty Much the Story of Our Lives
He leaves us with the four mystery dishes and no idea how to eat them, so we lift them daintily, remove the lid, and toss the oysters back into our mouths.
Everyone Knows This Isn't Going to End Well, Right?
"Well, that is just terrible," Vodka says, the purse of Ginger's lips indicating that she feels the same.  Indeed, it is hard for us to discern which we hate more -- the smoke or the oyster -- but for us, it is a deadly combination of unpleasantness.
Gag Reflexes R Us
We squeeze a lemon slice onto each of the remaining oysters and try again, hoping that the acid will somehow cut down on the horror show going on with our taste buds.  But no such luck.
Vodka and Ginger and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Oysters
"This is getting one star, right?" Vodka asks.

"More like negative 5," Ginger answers.  Clearly, we need to come up with a new rating system when it comes to oysters, as 1 star does not seem sufficient enough to prove how much we hate the things. 
Hey Desnuda -- Your Gimmick Stinks
Giving ourselves GREAT kudos for downing all four of the oysters, like the great martyrs that we are, we shake our heads in disdain, feeling that Claire Robinson has forsaken us.  
We TRUSTED You, Claire, and THIS Is the Thanks We Get
Indeed, we are flummoxed as to why Desnuda's bar stools are packed, being that there is barely anything to eat in this place.  As if to hammer home our point, Ginger raises her finger at one of the multi-functional workers and asks for more popcorn, a last-ditch attempt to rid the taste of fire and ocean from our mouths.
A Gallon of Movie Theatre Butter Would Be Appreciated Right Now
"I like how I just asked for more popcorn after we loudly criticized their food," Ginger says, sticking a gigantic handful of the stuff into her mouth.

"Whatever.  We ate it.  We're gonna pay for it.  The rest is their problem," Vodka says, casting a glance at the display of chopsticks on the bar.  "You know, I feel like if I ate ONLY with chopsticks, I could be skinnier.  It would take me so much more time."
We Should Write a Diet Book About This Concept. It Would Be One Page: "Use Chopsticks"
Of course, the same could be true if we ate at places like Desnuda every day, which would be the fastest way to starve us known to man.  Instead, we march out of Desnuda and straight down East 7th Street to an Italian restaurant, where we proceed to down bread, cheese, and pasta by the forkful.
So Just to Confirm, We Have Already Forsaken Our Chopstick Policy
And just for spite, we blow out the candle on our table, as we have already had more than enough smoke for one evening.

Desnuda's Tea-Smoked Oysters: 1 star

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