Thursday, August 11, 2016

Into the Boroughs: We're Only Here Cause We Have a Gift Card

Meatloaf Sandwich -- Rye, Brooklyn, NY

In what should come as a surprise to no one, Vodka has spent the better part of the past two weeks engaged in a heated customer service battle.  After a particularly contentious interaction with the manager of a Michael Psilakis dining establishment, Vodka has taken her complaints to the very top of the restaurant group, eventually resulting in a $50.00 gift card to MP Taverna in Williamsburg (aka the poor souls who, through no fault of their own, ended up on the receiving end of Vodka's wrath by the mere "fortune" of having the most Googleable phone number).
Getting Mad in Manhattan Leads to Revenge in Brooklyn
Because Vodka is spiteful, she is adamant that she will not spend a dollar more than the $50 afforded her, and she therefore recruits Ginger, always up for a half-price day drink, to accompany her to the place's happy hour... where we manage to spend precisely $50.09.  For once in our lives, math is on our side.
For the Record, We Also Left a Tip. We Are Not Barbarians
Luckily -- or unluckily for them, as the case may be -- because we had refused to order anything more than a dip plate at MP Taverna, so as to not exceed our quota (after all, we needed to fit four drinks within that $50), we are forced to find another place in Williamsburg in which to actually consume food.
Now What Is That Majestic Sign Beckoning Us in a Distance?
We discover that Rye is a mere ten minutes away, and it is home to none other than the chosen Best Thing I Ever Ate MESSY dish of Michael Psilakis himself, the meatloaf sandwich.
Not Pictured: The Stray Cat That Was Circling the Entrance. Welcome to Brooklyn
Once again, Rye has the misfortune of being on the receiving end of Vodka's current distrust of all Psilakis-endorsed products, as if he cannot be relied upon to hire a competent restaurant manager, we're not sure what business he has judging meatloaf.
As a Warning, Psilakis, Vodka Tends to Hold a Grudge
Upon being seated at Rye, we notice a placard proclaiming their happy hour specials: a $5 Old-Fashioned and a $5 burger.
Too Bad We Have to Eat the Meatloaf Instead -- Thwarted Again!
Vodka takes them up on the Old-Fashioned offer, while Ginger goes back to her roots with a gin martini.
Putting the Gin in Ginger
Upon tasting the Old-Fashioned, it becomes obvious why it's so cheap: there is hardly any liquor in it (at least to Vodka's discerning tastebuds).
Yes, This Time, Could I Have One with Some Whiskey?
She quickly downs the concoction and asks for a Bulleit Manhattan, which arrives in the smallest cocktail glass known to man.
Here's a Hint, Rye: We Like a BIG POUR and We Have Bad Spatial Relations Skills
"Why do restaurants do this?" Ginger scoffs.  "What is the point of ever, EVER, making a drink look smaller?"  She lifts her own glass for a toast anyway, while Vodka bats her hand out of the way for
the sake of a picture.  ("Cheers.  Oh, never mind."  How soon Ginger forgets the rules and regulations of this blog).
This Interaction Followed Vodka Having to Boot Ginger Out of the Doorway In Order to Capture This All-Important Shot
To Rye's great credit, when we placed our order, we specified that we would be sharing the meatloaf sandwich, and they take it upon themselves to saw the creation in half and present us each with our own plate, thus doubling our serving of pickles (always a plus).
Thanks For Not Making Us Look Like Cheapskates
The meatloaf itself is piled high with crispy onions which are pleasingly salty, and it is sandwiched between a focaccia roll which manages to hug the sandwich's insides (also including caramelized onions and greens) in all the right places, holding the whole thing together (therefore, we're really not sure what Michael Psilakis was talking about with his MESSY demarcation, not that we're complaining, as we hate messy things).  Despite these strong components, however, the sandwich itself underwhelms us.  There is nothing offensive about it, but it's not particularly wonderful either.  What is most disconcerting is that despite the fact that there are not one, not two, but THREE varieties of pickles on our platters, we don't find any of them particularly pleasing (partly because they are quite spicy for our liking).  In fact, we leave the majority of them on our plates, which is unheard of when it comes to us and pickles.
Meaning We Are Not Pickle Connoisseurs. We Will Eat Any Pickle Placed in Front of Us. Except These
True to form, when it comes time to pay, Vodka whips yet another gift certificate out of her bag, this one from acquiring a multitude of OpenTable points.  Which seems to hammer home the point that if there's one way to get us to venture to Brooklyn on a regular basis, it is to ply us with the thought of free food and alcohol.
You're Welcome for Our Presence, Williamsburg
Unless, of course, Brooklyn would just prefer us to stay home.  Which somehow seems more likely.

Rye's Meatloaf Sandwich: 3 stars