Monday, June 05, 2006

Wings, pork, Japan and a second Martini

June 5,

I woke up this morning and wondered why I thought last night that a second Martini would be a good idea.

5 Ninth restaurant was celebrating its 2nd anniversary from 6 to 8 last night, so I went to enjoy chef Zak Pelaccio’s kecap manis-glazed chicken wings and his whole roasted pig while drinking beer and hanging out mostly on the third floor with my friend Clark Mitchell at Travel + Leisure and his friend, Peter Sherwood, who’s dining editor of Next Magazine, and various members of their entourages, including two women named Alex.
I also had a couple of chats with Steven Hall, the publicist who organized the party. While standing in line for food (it was a short line; I don’t stand in long lines for food), I asked him about the music that we were listening to, which came from the late ’70s and ’80s. It was pretty typical music for New York parties in 2006, and also was played at many restaurants and bars throughout the city. Why, I wondered to him, had the music of that period taken hold so thoroughly? Growing up to this music, I naturally enjoyed it but, being a member of Generation X, I always felt that our pop culture was inferior to that of our older Baby Boomer cousins. And yet it was quite common to hear The Smiths and Erasure and REM and old U2 and so on, yet the Rolling Stones and The Who and The Beatles were comparative rarities.
So why was the music I grew up with so popular?
“Because it’s good,” he said.
Maybe the DJ — one of 5 Ninth’s bartenders, I think — was listening. He played The Kinks later on in the evening.
Later I talked to Steven about some of his latest ventures and a trip he took to Japan. To summarize what he said, basically, notice that the company formerly known as Restaurant Associates recently bought itself back from Compass with the help of a Japanese company (but not the name “Restaurant Associates,” according to a spokeswoman from the company, hence the pending name change), and keep your eyes open for opportunities both to open Japanese restaurants in New York and American ones in Japan.
I had that chat while finishing a weisbier and then I headed to the bar at the terrace of the Maritime hotel and had Martinis with Clark, Peter and one of the women named Alex (although she had water). We stayed until, I don’t know, late, and Clark had a 10:15 a.m. radio interview to prepare for. I e-mailed him today and he, too wondered why we thought we should have that second Martini.

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