On a quiet night of a decidedly bad week at Nation's Restaurant News, I decided to follow the lead of eater.com and check out Death & Co., a new bar in the East Village.
The name refers to Prohibition-era posters that were disguised as temperance propaganda. According to my bartender, Marshall, they depicted the road to Hell, paved with different types of alcohol, but were in fact maps to speakeasies. It's amazing, the creativity that springs from repression.
The bar's sipping-spirits list is interesting, with more American ryes than Scottish single malts and more tequilas than ryes. I sampled three cocktails, made respectively with rye, tequila and a rum from Martinique (I'd go into more detail, but I'm writing this after having drunk three stiff cocktails).
Marshall shook the drinks that contained fruit and stirred the ones that didn't, following tradition and logic while flouting James Bond. I posited my theory that perhaps 007 wanted his Martinis shaken and not stirred because, as a spy, he wanted to remain relatively sober, and shaken drinks would result in more melted ice and thus contain more water. It's a plausible theory, but it does ascribe a whimpy quality to Mr. Bond that belies his character.
I sampled some food, too. I was leaning toward mac & cheese, but the waitress convinced me to try the evening's special, bouillabaisse.
I was alone and the bouillabaisse was clearly meant to be shared. It arrived on a marble tray in six ceramic mini-goblets, each in front of its own baguette crouton topped with crab, Dijon mustard and rouille. I said it looked Gothic, and one of the bartenders commented that many customers were describing various elements in the bar as Gothic. He suggested that perhaps they should have a guy in the bar dressed all in black with long, black bangs and on the sound system, instead of the jazz that we were listening to, they should play The Cure and Siouxsie and The Banshees.
I said Gothic was different from Goth.