Compass and Cafe Luxembourg: Revenge of the Loser
This week, Frank plays the Chuck Woolery to our blank-faced 33-year-old administrative assistant looking for love.
“My name is Trelizabeth, and while my once-conjoined twin got the brain, I got the SMILE!!!!!!!!!!”
The two bachelors we’re deciding between, Café Luxembourg and Compass, are archetypal, really— Willoughby versus the Colonel, Zach versus Screech— it’s the flashy, popular dude versus the meritorious dork. In many ways, it is the ultimate scenario of high school injustice: says Frank,
“Cafe Luxembourg is the soccer captain to Compass's science club president. It has more sex appeal and an easier time getting dates.”
It’s an interesting comparison. Luxembourg is 22, a young hot athlete...
...while Compass is hindered as much by being a dork as it is by being 4 years old.
Your mold garden's awesome, Gary, but I'm still not going out with you.
After some inevitable Compass language (Lost its way! Back on track!) the Count begins what will be a litany of praise for its food.
“When several friends and I recently had [the skate], the moistness of the fish and the crunchiness of its panko crust played a textural tug of war. Neither side lost, so we won. Entrees arrived, and we were victors again.”
By the time dessert came, Frank and his guests had vanquished the entire place, roping up surviving diners to sell to the Mongols and bundling tableware for booty on their yaks.
“Well, that’s that. Check please?”
"Our lobster, poached in olive oil before being pampered with butter and clementine juice, made a dreamy case for never treating lobster any other way."
Soooooo...does that mean no more accessorizing with it?
Meanwhile, hottie Luxembourg has no idea how to handle fish. Its skate “had been put through uneventful paces - a sizzling encounter with olive oil, a subsequent shower of capers - and had emerged somewhat gummy.”
Well, even if the end result didn’t win Frank over, the “sizzling encounter” and “subsequent shower” sounds sexy, even if it was a caper-shower. Frank is baffled by Luxembourg's appeal:
“The way people push to get in and wait three deep at the bar, you'd think the restaurant's signature yellow tile walls were coated in some sort of culinary pheromone.”
That’s actually not a bad idea. Coat your restaurant walls in men’s Axe deodorant, sit back in a lawn chair with a stop watch and count the seconds until I stumble in, crazed she-wolf hormones squirting out my ears, to hump every last tile. However, is that even necessary? Did the popular jock ever have anything going for him but being a popular jock? Not really. As Frank explains,
“success perpetuates itself, a self-sustaining reality sometimes divorced from the merits, while a history of failure obscures current accomplishments.”
Hence, the popular kid wet-farts his pants in Latin class and he's a hero, but the school dork saves an errant fawn from falling down a well, and everyone ridicules him.
"I guess it’s just you and me, Louise. [sigh] So...can you fit in a prom limo?"
And speaking of deer:
“In the restaurant business, as in so much else, reputations linger and a herd mentality rules. Diners crowd Cafe Luxembourg, which is now 22 years old, in part because they see that it's always crowded. Diners don't rush to Compass, which is not yet 4, because they don't notice any stampede in that direction.”
Let me paraphrase: “People like you and your siblings and parents and the other re-re’s I see pigeon-toeing half-blind into walls, and drooling out the side of their faces, are mindless sheep.”
Yeah, RIGHT, Frank! That is soooo insulting! Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go buy this shithead’s album...
...smoke some cigarettes, and then throw myself off a Swedish cliff.
The Count concludes with a fervent pitch for the dork, encouraging us to see through the “hip” but “sluggish and often distracted” Luxembourg (picture the jock fondling your boob in the front seat of a Firebird while simultaneously flipping through his baseball card album). Its competitor, in contrast, “can't coast on comely pouts and poses.” [aside: Frank + Alliteration = Forever]
But if you didn’t already glance ahead to see that Lux got one star and Compass two, Frank will tell it to you striaight (and by “straight,” I mean with the last installment of an absurdly extended, essay-length metaphor):
“…if Cafe Luxembourg assumes your interest, Compass eagerly pins a corsage on you.”
Well, I guess it's worth a shot.