The Beast and I met up at the big Chapters at the corner of Bay and Bloor on Tuesday night. I found him in the politics section, gently turning over a tome on ISIS between his hands. “I have to go to the washroom,” I told him.
“Meet me in fiction afterwards,” he said. “I’ll be in the dick section.”
“You heard me.”
Afterwards, I did find him in the dick section: James Dickey, to be precise. He wanted to by a copy of Deliverance. “Didn’t you just buy a dozen books yesterday?” I asked him.
“What’s your point?”
“Maybe try to get through those first before you buy another.”
The Beast has a weak spot for picture books. He brought home a few new ones for “us” along with other works of both fiction and nonfiction. The gems have been Christopher Hitchens on Mother Teresa and Bill Clinton. I can’t put No One Left to Lie To down, especially in light of you-know-who making a big announcement on Sunday.
We were in Yorkville for an engagement at Holt Renfrew Men where friends are exhibiting some art.
Afterwards, we were hungry. I suggested we get something to eat in the neighbourhood. I remembered there was a Buca in Yorkville, which the Globe and Mail recently declared as not only the best Buca location but also the best Italian restaurant in the city. I’ve eaten at the King Street location. But the Beast hasn’t. We figured, considering it was a Tuesday night, that we might be able to score a seat at the bar without a reservation.
“Hi there,” I told the host. “It’s just the two of us.”
“Do you have a reservation?” He asked.
“No,” I said. “But we’ll happily sit at the bar.”
“We’re full at the bar but we do have two tables available for the tasting menu, which is seven courses for $100 or 16 for for $180.”
“But you can’t order from the regular menu at those two tables?”
“No, you can’t,” he replied. “Those tables are for the tasting menu only.”
“I think we just want a simple bite to eat,” I said. “Do you think a couple of seats will open up at the bar any time soon?”
“Yes,” he said. “In about 45 minutes.”
Plan B was D Bar, Daniel Boulud’s lobby bar in the Four Seasons, which is steps away from Buca. Years ago we ate at the chef’s three-Michelin-starred flagship restaurant in Manhattan. It was the most money I’ve ever spent on dinner. And while it was memorable, we decided that we weren’t cut out for that level of fine dining. D Bar’s menu is, all things considered, priced reasonably and has simple fair like lobster rolls, burgers and moules frites.
We were greeted by a friendly hostess who quickly found us a seat. Shortly after that, we each had a cocktail in our hand while we took in the room and decided what to eat.
“Is it just me or does this decor seem a little dated?” The Beast asked. “Like it could’ve been featured in the Sex and the City movie.”
“Not even the movie,” I said. “More like Season 2 of the TV show.”
“Maybe it’s the music,” I said. “It’s like the music in an elevator of a boutique Soho hotel circa 2008.”
“Maybe it’s the d-bag at D Bar,” he said. “I might have to ask to be moved.”
“What do you mean?”
“You can’t smell that guy’s perfume?” He asked, directing his gaze towards a table of two men and a woman seated beside us. “It’s unbearable.”
“Oh I just got it,” I said. “Yes, I see what you mean. Speaking of d-bags, guess what? The Cartier watch you bought me for my birthday is the exact same one as Angelina Jolie’s Cartier.”
“Do you think Brad Pitt said ‘Show me your cheapest Cartier’ when he bought it for her?”
“Is that what you asked?”
“That’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard.”
We started with some charcuterie and fried artichokes, both of which were fantastic. About half-way through, I started examining the wine list in anticipation of our mains–the Pacific halibut for me and the moules frites for him.
“Holy shit all the wine is so expensive!” I said, just as I saw the Beast look over my shoulder. I looked up and there was our server. “We’ll have a bottle of the Elena Walch pino grigio, please.”
“Do you think she heard me?”
“Uh, yes. You yelled it.”
“Oy my god I’m such a d-bag. But the whites start at $74 a bottle!”
“Is that the one you ordered?”
“Christ no. I got the second-cheapest one, which I think was $94.”
“Why did you do that?”
“I recognized the producer’s name. She’s this fantastic woman who makes fantastic wine in the Alto Adige.”
“You realize that every time you say, ‘Let’s go out for a simple dinner’ you end up spending $200, right?”
“What was I supposed to do? Order the $74 bottle of white wine?!?”
The wine, luckily, was a beautiful one–better than dinner, in fact. Not that dinner was bad. It was quite good.
But like practically everything I ever order in restaurants, I felt my fish could’ve used just a little more salt and a touch more acid. The Beast says I’m full of shit and that my tastebuds have most likely been burnt off on account of all the Terroni hot peppers I put on everything.
“Have you ever noticed that only d-bags use the term ‘d bag’?” Asked the Beast while we waited for the cheque. “That’s going to be my first tweet.”
When the server dropped off our bill, she said, “You know, you guys have been a lot of fun.” It got me thinking that maybe some people she serves at D Bar might be d-bags. D-bags who wear too much perfume, who maybe don’t say thank you.
Then again, maybe we’re the d-bags for spending $300 on Tuesday-night dinner.