Friday, March 27, 2009
Restaurant Review: Grackle Grill
I often dream about the entrances to buildings. I suppose that's why in my restaurant reviews I've often mentioned the entrances and exteriors. The Grackle Grill, another Tom Lisk recommendation, has an exterior that struck me like a nightmare. The place, a cinderblock shed, seemed so obsolete that I couldn't imagine it ever being new. I stood beneath the canvas awning of alternating dark and light green stripes and smelled the harsh concrete dust as I peered through the palm-print palimpsest-smeared window at the diner within. A solitary figure stood behind the counter. Behind him ranged numerous metal kettles, vats, steamers, sinks, griddles, skillets, and grills. The counterman looked at me with a catatonic smirk. I sat down at one of the spinning barstools, stopped it from spinning, and looked through a menu. I looked at the cover of the menu. It depicted a grackle, but oddly enough it wasn't a generalized cartoon or drawing of the bird, but rather a snapshot of a particular grackle. "This your first time at the Grackle?" the counterman said. "Yeah, " I answered. "Is this your first time?" The counterman chuckled as though I'd been kidding. "Well, some would say so." His eyes were a weird artificial color, like cotton candy syrup. He said, "I see you got the menu there. That's ol' Hackle the Grackle on the cover. He was my pet." The thought of this catatonic counterman having a pet grackle disturbed me, so I asked him to recommend something. He said, "Well, the Grackle Crackle is what most folks get." I read the description of the entree. A scoop of ice milk dropped into a cup of seltzer water. Was that the best this place could offer. "I thought this was a grill," I stated. Counterguy said, "The grill gets shut down at noon. You need to be an early bird to eat at the Grackle." A bell above the door jingled. A customer, a man in a smoking jacket, entered. He cackled, then sat down in a booth. "Afternoon, Mr. Draught," the counterman said. He looked at me and said, "That was the Grackle Cackle. When you enter this establishment, you're expected to do that cackle if you want service." How was I supposed to know that? Time stretched on. The counterman once again had that faraway look combined with the smug smirk. I slipped my spoon into the Grackle Crackle, which was nothing more than a glorified seltzer float, and looked over at Mr. Draught who sat reading the local newspaper, The Daily Spackle. When I left, I left a tip. Not the biggest tip I ever left in my life--that's a whole other story--but not the smallest one, either. Before this narrative withers, let me record that I gave the Grackle Grill a rating of Three Parsley Sprigs.