Sunday, December 13, 2009

P.J. Clarke's


I'm not one who loves exploring the depths of New York. There are probably rats, or something else nasty. However, when I had just finished my high school application test, I was game for anything. P.J. Clarke's is exactly what you would expect from a New York establishment that has been around for more than 125 years. Businessmen drinking at the bar, 25 year old women fawning over their 60 year old boyfriends, and overwhelmed tourists are only part of the experience at P.J. Clarke's. The other ingredient in the mixture is the food. Despite the 30 minute wait, the cold table situated next to the door, moving tables, 20 more minutes for our food to come, and frustrated tourists asking us questions, the meal was still memorable. Now, you ask, how is that possible? Two words. Creamed Spinach. For those of you who have never met my mother, she can also be described in two words; Health Fanatic. While I do not participate in her strict diet prohibiting sugar, dairy, fat, meat, and anything else that makes the life worth living, I am sometimes unwillingly drawn in. So when I came home from school a weeks before and was told to expect creamed spinach, I was salivating at the mouth. As it approached, I noticed an abnormality among the greens. "Mom," I asked, "Where's the cream? You said that it was creamed spinach." "Oh no," she replied. "This is the white house special cream-less creamed spinach." Then came the dreaded words: "It's healthy." I could have sworn that I cried myself to sleep that night. Anyway, as the "real" creamed spinach came, life stood still as I watched the cream soak down and down into itself. I demolished it in the time that it takes my dad to make a tasteless joke and moved on to the next course, the burger. The hamburger is an American classic, but the one that I ate there was not. It was bland, the fries were dried and tasted like McDonald's fries, and the bun was too fluffy. Overall, it was a pretty horrible burger. At the end of the meal, the greatness of the spinach had evened out the badness of the burger, and brought it back down to 0. The only thing that gets this restaurant a good review apart from the spinach was the ambiance which was interesting, old school, and a new experience. P.J Clarke's deserves a 6.1/10.

3 comments:

PhotoBubby said...

Your reviews have a unique flavor, Julian, running the gamut from rare to well done. As for PJ Clarke's, Grampy and I ate there as your heinous "tourists" many times, and also loved the creamed spinach even if I can't recall what else we ate. That was, after all, over 30 years ago so we can excuse forgetting, okay? Your humor, from your mother's "cream-less creamed spinach" to your dad's "tasteless jokes" has ripened with your age. Keep those reviews coming. And I'm glad not to be a NY tourist anymore!
Love, Bubby

Grampy said...

Julian, your humor is world class. As Bubby said, we ate there many times in the distant past,although I do not remember eating creamed spinach or hamburgers. Even then, I was on your mom's (my daughter's)health kick. By the way, her creamless creamed spinach sounds delicious. Try it, you will like it.

Love, Grampy

Michael said...

Julian, you have me rolling on the floor laughing (ROFL for you non-texters). I wish I could have seen your face when your mom was telling you about the cream-less creamed spinach. Priceless! I haven't been to PJ's since I was a kid, but I am eager to try it again soon!