Friday, March 20, 2009

A Is for Absent

Psst. Psst. Hey you. Here, over here. No, not there--here. See me? With the baseball accoutrement and an aura of almost-celebrity??? Yes, that’s right, now stay with me--I’ve got a small piece to ask you. Ready? Ready??! [Cue drum roll, horns, dancing ladies, the Queen of England, pending knighthood. LOL.] Okay, the question:

Are you forgetting something? Or, wait, allow me to rephrase that: Are you forgetting a little something? [Cue knowing wink, snickering.]

I’m sorry--what did you just say? You pointed to my right hand, that much I recognized. Oh, wait, are you… But no. You couldn’t possibly be implying the thing that just occurred to me: a vile gesture, a lowdown and dirty showing, an egregious affront to DDB’s regal nature and earnest pursuit of culinary accountability.

And yet.

(Human extension of) jPAN, come clean: Do you truly and actually wish to strip DDB of its singular form of defense as it moves to scratch its name on the proverbial bathroom stall wall, as it proudly and perhaps a tad egoistically (mention of recent media attention reserved for a future post) carves another well-deserved notch on the proverbial bedpost that guards the most coveted corner of DDB’s glorious and still proverbial “pillow top with memory foam and built-in back saver” mattress aka burgeoning franchise?!? LOL.

No, jPAN, you may not have the batting glove. Quite frankly, that last exchange of ours has me straining to tighten its Velcro-hold around my wrist. That’s no joke, either.

In other words, a suspicion that previously held steady at a low, sneaking simmer has officially caught fire, and it’s a full-on blazing, five-alarm spectacle with some serious “N-melting” potential!!! (Anyone for some delicious jPA takeout tonight? LOL!)

Oh, god, you can’t afford to lose any more letters. (Or should I say “l*t*ers?)

It’s clear by now, right? Clear that, channeling a little Sue Grafton, “A Is for Absent”?

Now, I’ve never read Ms. Grafton, jPAN, same as I’ve never read ~you~, at least not in any sort of “sound and proper” sense of that word.

Backing up a bit, it was with grammatical malfeasance dead-square in mind that I hit up this relative newcomer to the Slope’s Fifth Avenue sushi lineup one temperate evening last week, with friend in tow.

An initial sweep of the room revealed an aesthetic sensibility that wasn’t too far off the mark--austere and modern, yet with a few calculated flourishes that serve to adequately “soften” and “warm” the atmosphere. (Who says polka dots and bamboo don’t mix?? Hmm, this guy maybe, judging by that ill-contained snarl of his. LOL!!)

As my friend, we’ll call him dVID, and I were led to a window-side table by a hostess versed in the usual and expected pleasantries, I paused to consider that scorned “a” for the sixtieth time since jPAN mounted its vexing sign and opened its treated glass doors to the public a couple of years back.

As I organized my wares with the full respect and I dare say blatant admiration of dVID, a troubling thought coalesced, one with significant staying power, such that it was still festering when our waitress approached us several minutes later with an inquiry about drinks.

Basically, jPAN, it occurred to me that you were trying to be clever in skirting that first bold vowel.

With dVID taking on the drink order, I swept the room again, noticing, this time, a vaguely “managerial” figure hovering not far from our table, just beyond the sushi bar. And here, loyal and beloved readers (re: loyal and beloved, bona fide DDB “followers”--you know who you are--get an especially enthusiastic shout-out; p.s. let us know re: that pending Playa shirt order--you certainly do deserve one!!), is where it gets interesting.

At the close of our initial “confrontation” (see above), I shifted my focus away from the would-be DDB glory-stripper and back to the proceedings at my own table. Now, oddly enough, although several minutes had lapsed since dVID had first spoken up, the words were still coming, and I was left with the unsettling notion that here was a conversation which, like my glove (harumph), was going nowhere!!

There appeared to be a great deal of confusion with regard to the menu’s sake selection, with dVID repeatedly declaring his interest in “this one” but “served cold,” not warm as specified. Now, I realize the unlikelihood of your being acquainted with dVID, so you’ll have to take it at face value when I say he does not mince words. “He does not mince words!!” Wait, that was more “shout” than “say,” wasn’t it, readers? LOL! (Keep up.)

My head was starting to hurt. Because as the seconds ticked by (tick tick, tick tick), the air around me grew so thick with the collective spoils of confusion, my brain threatened to pickle ala the ginger gathered in tidy, fleshy mounds (resembling damp baby cheeks--ya know?? LOL) and circulating on all sides of us. Or, to go the way of the product mentioned here--

“When I opened the container containing my nigiri, it smelled rancid. I couldn't figure out where the smell was coming from except that it was coming from the container.”

Oh no!! LOL.

But man, the density was truly dizzying, toward the end so thick I would’ve put Big $$$ on effectively hiding an entire Pizza Plus chicken parm hero, the British monarchy in totum, and DDB’s staggering and enormous reputation in that muck. Heck, even a, a, a…

And that’s when it hit me, readers:

Even an A could don an invisible cape in that swirling stew of befuddlement!!!

Catching the eye of “managerial” a second time, suddenly it all came together: This wasn’t a case of the sort of “clever” I’d originally had in mind, the moutarded sort which, on confirmation, would’ve aligned smartypants jPAN with an entirely different breed of restaurant. Oh no, this was hands-down the very best sort of clever, the sort that channels mystery and suspense. (Sue Grafton indeed!)

jPAN, you w*nt us, you w*nt your customers, to sleuth out th*t missing A!!!!1 (See what I did there? LOL!!)

Brilliant. Just brilliant. Not to mention (though I actually am mentioning, LOL) further substantiated with the debut, shortly after, of my wine.

Here’s the thing: It’s okay! Sure, in terms of pour-size it may have recalled those tiniest cupfuls of children’s cough syrup back in the day, but I get it! That elusive A was dangerously close to revealing itself, wasn’t it? A milliliter away from whoosh--into the royal DDB goblet it goes. LOL.

I know why you did it, know why you ran interference.

It’s simply too early on! The game has only just begun, clearly, and jPAN, though I may be “on to you” as it were, privy already to the calculated rationale behind not only your “confused” service and your “careful” wine pours but your excessive application of various, and I dare say non-traditional, sauces, all of them w/ strong and undeniable “masking capabilities” and which fuel this variety of commentary--

"they're a little mad on their sauces there and a lot of the tricked-out rolls we ordered came topped with two or three different kinds of sauces each"

--I’m still plenty inspired!

And, hey, when DDB cracks that sh*t (no “a” in that one, LOL; just kissing up to our more “sensitive” readers) at most a few months down the road, may we request T-shirts commemorating our wholly expected but still noble victory? Something along the lines of--

jAPAN: No longer A-holes



Thank you, thank you very much.

p.s. Lest you be castin’ doubts (“catch” that one? LOL) around DDB’s presence in the blogosphere at large, here’s a tasty little morsel to tide ya over:


  1. You have to know how bad this is. Your writing is terrible, just shut this down before someone notices and makes you feel awful.

    I'm trying to help - really - this blog thing is not for you.

  2. Oh, bollocks!

    DDB for President!!!!

    We thank you, however, for your well-intentioned remarks. Let us, in the very least, arrange to have a complimentary Playa shirt sent your way, as a token of our gratitude. Just email us your mailing addy off-blog, a'ight? LOL.