It's no secret: I love to read restaurant reviews. I have a special place in my heart for those written by Rose Martelli at the RFT because I adore heckling the hell out of her the whole time I'm reading. No one will ever forget (okay, Laine was the only person there, but it is an indelible memory) my dramatic response to her tortured, unintentionally hilarious review of Sweetie Pie's soul food restaurant on Manchester ("FoPo Southeast?" Bwa Ha!). So you can imagine my dismay when I learned she wouldn't be their restaurant critic anymore. For months, I even stopped bothering to read the RFT altogether. But this week, I found a new raison d’être in one Mr. Ian Froeb. His review of Kirkwood's new place, Trattoria Two, made me sit up, take notice, and giggle like a schoolgirl. He has to be the gayest-sounding straight guy I've ever read in my life. Now, I understand, the restaurant critique biz requires a certain amount of nelly wit, but Mr. Froeb's is deliciously over the top, even for a restaurant review.
Of the lobster ravioli in cream sauce he writes:
"The homemade ravioli were fat with succulent lobster meat, and the rich, sweet sauce--not to mention the two plump pieces of buttery claw meat standing upright in the center of the plate, beckoning--pushed the dish toward overwhelming indulgence." [naughty emphasis all mine]
Provocative! But wait, it gets better!
"If I didn't literally swoon while I ate this, I definitely did once dessert arrived."
Whoa. He literally swooned. ( ! )
And how Iron-Chef-Japanese-actress-giggling-behind-her-petite-hand is this passage?:
"Dessert should please your palate, not slap it back to attention. Then I noticed how the salt heightened the contrast between the savory pumpkin bread and the toasty sweetness of the panna cotta.
"Then I got it. The caramel panna cotta and pumpkin bread were like two halves of a perfect fall day: cool in the sunlight, cozy at night. But the sea salt was bracing, like those sudden gusts of wind in late October that remind you winter will be here sooner than you expect. It could have been a metophor for the dessert itself--that last sweet taste of luxury before you return to your life."
But he lost me with this one:
"An appetizer of fried artichoke cakes with a ragu made from large chunks of tomato and sausage successfully blended many tastes and textures at once: salty, sweet, tangy and savory; creamy and crunchy."
Oh, Ian Froeb. I haven't even met you and I love you from the bottom of my simple, dowdy heart, but if you don't bother to spell it "ragoût," or, to avoid mixing French with Italian, at least put the accent on the "u" (you certainly put one on the "e" in "décor"!) then laughing at you is no guilty pleasure of mine.
"Of course, as Kramer points out, he and his staff are just kids. I guess part of being a kid is trying to please your elders. And I have no doubt he makes damn good spaghetti and meatballs.But Kramer shows so much potential at Trattoria Two that I can't wait for his rebellious adolescence, let alone his adulthood."
Oh, how I wish he'd said "manhood."