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5 Ninth

1/2 Jeez, how does someone manage to spend $86 on lunch for two? I've had a $5 lunch limit for the past few years, which is pretty lax considering previously I was a staunch brown bagger.

Well, the secret to running up a hefty tab is simple: order a couple drinks each. That's all. I owed James for his generosity at Blue Hill and anticipated at least being able to get reimbursed for the $15 Cubano that I was using as an example in an article I was writing. Plus, I was using a sick day (I really was sick, I swear, but not too sick to eat, duh) and wanted to make the most of my precious freedom.

But no cubano. They were suspiciously out, and it's certain that they didn't run out since there was only one other table occupied in the entire downstairs room where we were seated. So, I went to the suggested $12 skate sandwich, which was a battered and fried riff on a po' boy, but with aioli, strong green leaves/herbs I couldn't identify and topped with roe. Thick shrimp chips came on the side, which only made me wonder what would've accompanied the cubano (which for the record is a Berkshire pork, prosciutto, aioli [they love their garlic mayo] gouda and pickled jalapeo affair).

James ordered a $18 duck leg curry, which prompted the waitress to recommend a $5 side of rice, which we discovered was completely asinine as the dish comes served over rice. That's the sort of thing that ought to be complained about, but I steer away from. She really shouldn't have indulged in price gouging since they'd already failed to meet my sandwich expectations. I think I should hold Zak Palaccio personally responsible (and I hear the guy is opening another restaurant–didn't we just get Fatty Crab?). I do recall my first and only foray into his "Brooklyn global cuisine" as a frustrating experience.

So, the redundant rice, two Johnnie Blacks and soda and Gruner Veltliners killed me in the end. Now it'll have to be sack lunch for at least week. At least I had a nice cold medicine-wine buzz to last me through the afternoon.

5 Ninth * 5 Ninth Ave., New York, NY

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