Food writer Jane Sigal realized that she didn’t really know anything about how restaurants work. So she got herself a job as a hostess at Dovetail. She was there last night, sorting through numbered tags and associating them with my coat and bag, and with the belongings of Dovetail’s publicist, Aurora Kessler, with whom I was dining.
“Now I know what happens when someone like you walks into a restaurant,” Jane said.
Dovetail was full of people like me last night. In fact, by my reckoning, I was the least important food journalist in the dining room, behind Food & Wine's Dana Cowin, The New York Post’s Steve Cuozzo, and the inimitable James Oliver Cury of Epicurious.
So Dovetail’s in the full throes of the opening phase of “important” New York restaurants, when we in the food world check the place out (Alan Richman and Andrew Knowlton have been in, for sure — and no-doubt countless others).
I sat in the corner, in a spot that Thais might call a chaiyaphum — a fortified position suitable for making a stand in battle.
I’m thinking in Thai a bit today because Aurora, like me, lived in Thailand for about five years. We overlapped by one year — she was there from 1988 to 1993, I was there from ’92 to ’97 — but we never met. She is, like, half my age, after all.
Between Aurora's gentle pitches about Dovetail, we gossiped about chefs, publicists and food writers, reminisced about Thailand and exchanged notes on Thai food in Manhattan — Land, Won Dee Siam, Pam Real Thai Food.
We also ate and drank, starting with a glass of Prosecco.
And from there:
lamb tongue with muffaletta pressé, olives and capers
chicken and skate wings with chickpeas and oranges
Bergerie de L'Hortus Pic Saint Loup (Languedoc, France)
Salad of Brussels sprouts leaves with Serrano ham, cauliflower purée, cauliflower florettes, Bosc pears, Manchego cheese, sunflower seeds and sage vinaigrette
Vinicola Hidalgo S.A. Oloroso sherry
Cod with coco beans, saffron and crab
Jakoby Mathy Riesling Kabinett (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany)
Rack and leg of lamb with Indian spices, winter tabbouleh and yogurt
Donna Luna Aglianico (Campania, Italy)
chocolate caramel fondant with earl grey streusel, hazelnuts and yogurt sherbet
brioche bread pudding with bananas, bacon brittle and rum vanilla ice cream
La Nora Pedro Ximenez sherry
I was looking forward to giving Jane Sigal a tip for getting my coat and bag — I even broke a $20 in anticipation — but they were fetched by someone else.