“They made me come ask you why you’re taking pictures,” said our table model (not to denigrate her skills as a server, which were as polished as her tall shiny boots), sheepishness darkening her tall shiny face until I wanted to mop her brow with a lace hanky & coo “there, there, now.”
“Oh, I always take pictures of my food!” I chirped—which, after all, is true. The fact that it wasn’t really an answer to the question didn’t seem to bother her, & off she went to report to whomever they were. I can’t blame them (unlike them)—at least 1 picture-taking customer in their recent past turned out to be a flaming bitcheroo. Wonder what her problem was. It couldn’t’ve been discomfort, since the space is great, sliding back & forth along a spectrum from sleek to almost louche, surf to urban, mod to pomo—with perfectly capable service to match. It couldn’t’ve been the crowd, since there isn’t any at the preternaturally happy hour when delite opens & she, apparently—like me—opts for a headstart on the sink into oblivion. Couldn’t, on that note, have been the drinks, because they’re drinks. Could it have been the food?
IMO, yes & no. Yes, because the menu, which overlaps with Deluxe’s as it is, has barely budged since delite debuted nearly a year ago; this kitchen is entirely too talented to settle for same-old to such an extent, as I argued then when my craving for novelty drove me out of its bed—okay, booth—& into the arms—okay, booth—of Beatrice & Woodsley, which opened the same week. No, because same-old is still same-solid. Rarely is a hair—eww, okay, garlic chip or parsley flake—out of place among this crew.
And there were, after all, 1 or 2 new-to-me tidbits—the deviled eggs with pesto & bacon, for instance.
I might have mashed a little extra pesto directly into the yolk, myself, for maximum pestoxic shock. Still, my gang & I popped them all into our mouths like unborn–chicken gumdrops. Gallus-gallus gobstoppers.
Even savory-M&M-er, however, were the spicy edamame—stir-fried, I suppose, to just the right bite with chili & garlic, & maybe a little sesame oil? Maybe a touch of sugar as well as salt? Whatever, pop, pop, pop.
The open-face steamed pork buns
didn’t cut my own personal mustard, i.e. Chinese hot, because I was—admittedly not reading the menu closely, so perhaps erroneously—all giddy to go for more traditional char siu bao, which are closed up to keep the meat juices in. Admirable as delite’s more elegant twist is, elegance doesn’t drip down your chin.
As for the menu’s aforementioned overabundance of signatures, you’d think there were only so many times in this life you can eat smoked-salmon potato skins
& potato chips with truffle aioli & blue cheese.
But, you know, you can learn something new every day, even at novelty-resistant delite. I learned that if there’s one thing it’s impossible to maintain disdain for once it’s before you, it’s potatoes, nineteenth-century famines notwithstanding. Potatoes & babies, maybe, satirical responses to 19th-century famines also not withstanding.