Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Restaurant Review: The Velcro Elk & Crow

Looking for a respite from the season's unrelentingly sloppy weather, I stopped for dinner last evening at one of my favorite chophouses in the area, namely The Velcro Elk & Crow. If you've never eaten at "the Velc" before, then I must warn you--this review contains spoilers! But having said that, let me assure you, dear reader (monitor-starer?) that The Velcro Elk & Crow contains no spoiled food. Whatsoever. No, everything is fresh as a soggy hillock in springtime. The weather felt nothing like springtime as I stood outside the Velc Elk with numerous others waiting for a seat. The air thrummed with excitement as we waited. Some shared traumatic stories from their youth. Others smoked. One patron was surprised to find that what looked like one of those black ashtray stands, the kind that look like a plastic baseball-bat with a hole in it stuck to a covered, ribbed bowl, was actually not an ash-collector but a speaker. What?! Yes, mellow instrumental jazz-rock was wafting from the device. The patron was severely rebuked by another (not in his dining party!) for this indiscretion. After an hour or so, the watering hole opened again for dinner. Concerned about being stampeded to death, I waited for the impatient, pushy diners to enter before I even made the attempt. I would never come between a hungry Velc fan and their dinner! When the excitement died down, I made my way gingerly into the lobby of the Velcro Elk and Crow. The hostess was staggeringly efficient (she may have been drunk). "Two?" she asked. "Three? One?" I declared, "One...non-smoking,please," adding that little squib to see if this hostess were up-to-speed on the latest anti-tobacco legislation. "It's all non-smoking, sir. You aren't the fellow who tried to drop ash in the camouflaged Bose out there, are you?" I chuckled. "It wasn't me! I swear!" After this delightful exchange, the hostess shepherded me through the Quasi-Bethan decor of the Velc. "Will this be fine?" she asked. What an amazing booth! It was like a giant four-poster bed, complete with canopy. "I think it will do," I smirked. "Your waitron will be here in a moment," the hostess promised. I settled into the booth, head spinnning with wonder. My waitron arrived with my menu, a leather folio with a tassel as large as a full head of hair. "My name is 'the Grappler' and I'll be your server this evening." I ordered a carrot rickey and turned to the menu. The menu was a feast for the eye! It featured wondrous color photographs of still lifes, pearls and wine bottles and artificial roses next to plates heaped with onion rings. Incredible! When the server returned, I knew what I had to do. "I want this!" I demanded, pointing at one of the photographs. A glass of violin was depicted next to a glass of wine and a plate of noodles. "The Falstaff Noodles, sir, a very good choice. One of my favorites. I just had that for lunch today," the waitron rambled. "Spare me your personal testimony. And I don't just want the noodles. I want the violin." The waitron looked at me quizzically. "I want the plate of noodles with a few strands of noodle draped lovingly over the Stradivarius, darn it, just like in the picture!" I realized I was raising my voice. But at this point I didn't care. "Sir," the waitron stated, dealing with me as though I were a crazed attacker, "that's merely an artist's representation, man." I flipped wildly through the menu, pointing at various photographs. "And this? The bust of Beethoven and the vase of ferns next to the bowl of pheasant soup? Is that just an artist's representation? They can't all be artists' renderings? Is none of this real?" By this point, the customer-care manager had arrived. She looked down at me sternly through a pair of giant eyeglasses, the type not seen since the mid-1980's. "I've been told you have a problem with the artwork in our menu." I told her, "Just slip me a free dessert and be on your way, madam." The dessert was a mind-blowing deep-fried blondie. It was carried back and forth on my plate in bite-sized pieces by a team of synchronized ants forming a mesmerizing kaleidoscope. As I speared a moving piece with my fork, I regarded myself fondly. Another free dessert from the Velcro Elk & Crow. Let's just hope they never catch on and change their menu--or add the phrase "artist's rendering" to its pages. All in all, a fabulous meal, and so I grant the Velcrow Elk & Crow a whole-hearted Five Velcro Strips!

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