Mike Madriaga 11 a.m., May 21
It seems odd to celebrate the fallen by firing up the Q, but that's what we Americans do on Memorial Day. When my father-in-law said, "Happy Memorial Day," I couldn't return the sentiment. I said, "Thank you." But what's happy about it? Ever since I realized what the day was about, and was old enough to do so, I've embraced the memory and drinking portion (one for my homies, two for me), but not much else.
This year, I was planning nothing more than a few hours work and some down-time with a book, but my friend Terri texted something about "bottomless mimosas" at R Gang Eatery. I'm embarrassed to admit that I had yet to try Rich Sweeney's hip new joint on 5th Avenue (3683 5th Ave., right next to one of my haunts, the Tractor Room).
The place is accented with trendy colors (olive green, orange). The space itself was designed by the Chef and his friends, and the signage and branding was carried about by Hollis Brand Culture. I'm not sure which one of the crew came up with the big "Fun" sign on one wall of the outside patio, but I dug it.
On Memorial Day, the place was plenty full, and we had to wait about 45 minutes for a table (for four, but when two more joined us after being seated, the staff was cool about switching tables around and making us comfortable).
They were quick on the refills of our bottomless mimosas, as the six of us worked to get our weekly dose of Vitamin C. Okay, so the low-down on the food: Yummy. Comfort, decadent, the opposite of the times, which explains why all of the successful restaurants are offering what the people are yearning for. Everything was reasonably priced, at an average of $10. Check out some of the fair, with a brief description beneath each pic:
Chicken and Waffle (scrumdiddilyumptious).
Captain Crunch crusted, cheese-stuffed French Toast -- is it wrong to say "sexy?"
Both the traditional tots and Buffalo tots were delectable.
I didn't try this, I'm not a benny fan.
This flatbread was mine, I was in the mood for simple, and it certainly was the simplest thing on the table, but it hit the spot and went well with my mimosa(s).
Leslee got the tot scramble, she and David seemed to like it, but I was totted out from the apps.
David's dish, appropriately sinful and sweet, the french toast casserole, and I quote, "Cubes of Fig & Honey bread are mixed with a creamy vanilla-cinnamon custard and topped with sweetened cream cheese & seasonal fruit compote, then baked." Yeah, nothing veggie about that. But I had a bite or two for "dessert," and I'm happy he got it.
I'm happy to have finally made it in there, and I look forward to going back to sample some of the dinner fare. It's not "fine" dining, but with the flowing drinks, the lip-smacking food, and the insistent music, it was certainly "fun" dining.