Friday, December 27, 2013

Post Pop

When it's the chilly day after Christmas and everyone you know is out of town, you finally get around to walking through the Dyker Heights lights again.  Doesn't take as long as you'd remembered, but it does get cold waiting for the bus home.  And it's nice to return to your familiar streets for the opening night of an already-packed restaurant: Lea, owned by the same people whose wine bar is on your old street.  It's crowded but there's space for you at the bar and all the cocktails are pretty inexpensive and made of amari.  You're leaning toward pasta but someone enthusiastically recommends the pizza and so you pick that and you're not disappointed.  It's like the Fornino's pies you miss from Park Slope, the almost-salad-esque layering of arugula and prosciutto on a perfectly crisped pie.

Christmas day, you and your father disparaged another new restaurant you went to once, where the service was unapologetically blase and the food was slow in coming and not that great.  Not everything at Lea is 100% smooth yet but overall you are impressed by the speed and attentiveness of service, by everyone's genuine hopes that you will enjoy your meal.  Especially since you're eating alone at the bar with a cheesy-covered novel, you appreciate it.  It's nice to go someplace alone as a sort of special occasion and not have people look at you funny. 

You feel old 'cause back in the days you lived closed to "up-and-coming" (gag) Cortelyou Road, Lea, packed full of the young and hip and tastefully dressed, was the comfortingly-grungy (maybe no less hip) Vox Pop.  It was that cafe that really brought you to Ditmas Park in the first place, but it closed several years ago in several shades of infamy, its storefront dormant until now.  Though if you feel old, try your bartender: he grew up in the neighborhood, so it must be even stranger for him.

But you can't resent the strangeness, really.  Not when it's made of cocktails, redolent with aperol and cynar and zucca and campari and so on and so forth.  Next time maybe you'll try the one with your boss's name. And you will have to bring back a whole contingent of people so you can sample the tasty-sounding sweets platter of pistachio balls and biscotti and cookies and more, which you couldn't quite justify all by yourself.  (Though you did make quick work of some yogurt-flavored ice cream drizzled with orange syrup, yule log in the refrigerator be damned.) 

No comments:

Post a Comment