Florent: National Moby Velvet Dick
In the Count’s review of Florent today, Food has been safely buckled in the back seat, while Unbridled Nostalgic Affection sits at the wheel, lead-footed and drunk, with Aging-Restaurant-as-Metropolitan-Barometer Trope sitting shotgun as usual, passed out on Quaaludes and drooling like a hound.
Equal parts Michael Musto and Mrs. Havisham (or, as Frank would probably say, "the lovebaby of a three-night Tijuana romp" between the two) this review hints that perhaps, as he sits at his enormous gargoyle-and-rhinestone encrusted writing desk, his gaze drifts from his dutiful journalism over to copies of Moby Dick, or National Velvet. You know, something novelly, and a little bit gay.
Florent seems to inspire a lot of anecdotes, social history, and character portraits. The cast includes a puckish, legendary Frenchman,
a puckish, legendary waitress (with notable hair),
and other touching human portraits:
“a lone fortysomething man reading The Economist at the Formica counter; a gaggle of thirtysomething Italian speakers at a round Formica table; smatterings of twentysomethings with bulky black eyewear, the training wheels of hipness.”
The next Chloe Sevigny???
But let’s not beat around the Count's 800-count Egyptian bush anymore, ok? Frank is, if not lamenting, then certainly using Florent to illustrate, the fact that the Meatpacking district of yore is gone, a district that, apparently, used to be packing other things:
[Florent Morellet] put it in the meatpacking district because he romped in the gay bars in the area at the time.
(P.S: For someone that Frank is trying to honor, Morellet ends up sounding like a hysterical Christmas elf, with his “laughing a tinkling laugh” and his romping, among other mischief.)
And P.P.S, tinkling laughter in one's office chair is not advisable.
Florent has stayed true to its roots, “staying largely the same while all around it changed, while the muscle of the Mineshaft gave way to the Manolos of Spice Market and risqué was usurped by chardonnay.”
Let me crack this code for you: Risqué? Muscle shaft? Even if you didn't know that “Mineshaft” is High German for “My Penis” you can see what doleful nostalgic tune Frank is playing. It’s called “Row, Row, Row Your WHY DID THE MEATPACKING DISTRICT GET SO FILLED TO THE BRIM WITH TASTELESS MONEYED TWATS WHEN IT USED TO HAVE THIS AWESOME GAY SCENE?” and he’s playing it on a large panflute.
But while the good times in the meatpacking district may have ended, Frank carries the torch/flame: “I went at 2:30 a.m. on a Saturday and chose a juicy, plump cheeseburger on an English muffin as a sponge for too much alcohol earlier on. It was gone in a flash, as was a friend's equally juicy, plump chicken breast sandwich. But we lingered in a happy crowd of young revelers, straight and gay, who canoodled in corners and tried to make the night last just a little longer.”
You know, the juicy breast is just too little too late. We know it's not about the food, just as much as it's not about breasts.
Sorry, guys, no one cares.
So after some more about the decor, the history behind the decor, more history-- even medical history-- behind the owner, details about the staff, and even an International Coffees "Jean-LUUUUUC!!!" moment for Frank, he dries his eyes and calls it a day. Like a bunny who sits in one place for a long time and then hops away to reveal he's laid a tiny, mute turd, Frank closes this review with one lone, irrelevant turd of a star.
But this place wasn't about stars anyway. It was about...character.