Thursday, January 3, 2008

Sunday Morning Coming Down-Schiller's Liquor Bar

On a recent Sunday (Dec. 3oth) to be exact. Lynn and I drove into the lower east side of NY to go to Freeman's Sporting Club ( to redeem one of my gift certificates. The idea was that I was going to get a trim and a straight razor shave in what is considered one of the hipper places in NYC. Indeed, FSC is full of taxidermy, ancient Playboy magazines, super expensive outdoor clothing and old masculine totems like boxing gloves, trophies, daguerreotype photos and the like.

Before this, we had brunch at a place a few blocks away called Schiller's Liquor Bar. The place's modest glamour is the brainchild of legendary Gatsbyesque restaurateur Keith McNally who created the legendary eighties hangout The Odeon as well as Balthazar. The place was packed by the jet set poverty that one sees walking around in one of New York's more self-consciously cool neighborhoods. We had made reservations for 2 pm, but hunger and a long line at Freeman's barber shop helped us to arrive at noon. The host and hostess graciously showed us to a table immediately and we had an interesting looking young man with a shaved head wait on us.

The food was good, but a Vodka martini with campari that I had was one of the best I ever had as it contained flecks of ice (a sign of an expertly deployed shaker). The seared tuna salad I had was memorable too (it is the only time I ever remember enjoying anchovies-maybe it was the martini). The prices were commentdable too, we left buzzed and stuffed for less than $50.00.

A bit of commentary-Long Island has cheap places and hip places-But hardly any cheap, hip places- Most of the so-called hip places on LI like the Old Blue Honu (now Honu kitchen or something like that) in Huntington or Tony's Sushi near Quogue tend to be very expensive and off-puttingly sleek. The model on LI seems to be the W Hotel chain and something like The Hudson Hotel. The result is that there is a definite mid-town vibe in many of these LI venues with real estate and banker types posturing (men and women). This dreary clientelle can make dining experiences in these places depressing. It would be nice if there were more places like Schiller's (cheap, but somehow chic) on LI (Tula's in Bay Shore is close).

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I (Mark) have written for The Christian Science Monitor, Clear Magazine, Picture Magazine, Film Score Monthly, Dan's Papers, Rue Morgue, In Flight USA and a lot more publications that I can't remember.... My wife Lynn was a model with the Ford Agency and her photography has been featured in most of the publications I have written for...


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