Magazine article The New Yorker

Public;

Magazine article The New Yorker

Public;

Article excerpt

210 Elizabeth St. (212-343-7011)--This multilevelled space, which was formerly a muffin bakery, has been outfitted with the trappings of mid-century bureaucracy. The effect is somewhere between Kafka and the D.M.V. There's a wall of post-office boxes just past the hostess and a case of library-card-catalogue drawers by the coat check; the lamps above the bar appear to have been salvaged from a grammar-school hallway. The heavy steel bathroom doors have crinkled-glass windows, the meaningless office numbers 306 and 304, and, best of all, working mail slots.

The menus are typed on ledgerlike cards and delivered on miniature clipboards; very efficient, but some of the ingredients sound like they've been misfiled. Snails and oxtails are tucked into the same ravioli--never mind the accompanying clutter of pickled shiitake mushrooms, dried tomatoes, pea shoots, and smoked-paprika oil. The snapper succumbs to a cloying puree of vanilla, truffle, and celeriac, and the giant roasted prawns rest uneasily on their bed of al-dente black beans, asparagus, and lump crabmeat. …

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