Friday, September 19, 2008

"The place is cheap:" Restaurant review, Freemans

I've mentioned this before, but the thing about being a grad student, or frugal, or a frugal grad student, is that your swanky night on the town is someone else's slumming it. It's a bit of a let-down, but there it is.

That said, Freemans is fantastic. Tucked away at the end of an alley, and decorated with more taxidermy than the Palins would know what to do with, the place is not for vegetarians, or for those who want to forget where meat comes from before tucking in. Jo had steak and I had lamb stew with a potato dumpling; the two women sitting next to us had ordered the same. "La meme chose," they noted; like everyone else in New York, these women spoke French. It helps make my field of study seem vaguely practical... Anyway, we are all four of us very wise, because the meat was clearly the way to go--the woman next to me on the other side ordered the fish-corn-lobster main course, and I hope it tasted better than it looked.

For dessert, the Frenchwomen, Jo, and I all opted for the warm brownie with ice cream, which was, I mean, take a guess. How could that not be amazing? I've never understood the trend of restaurant critics faulting a place for serving warm chocolate cake. 'So cliché,' they say. I say, it's food, not fashion, and heating chocolate so that it's just so will never stop being a good idea. Perhaps not as good an idea as making meat into stew and serving it with a dumpling/spaetzle dish of some kind, but a good one all the same.

Fine, so perhaps now I'm thinking, 'back to pasta,' financially, but the undeniable fact is, grad students and others who make some but not much money can eat in restaurants. Not every day, but often enough. How? It's quite simple: by not ordering drinks. This is easy enough if one happens to be in a French department, because you can always have wine at one event or another before dinner, but another option is to enjoy, as we did, and as those sitting around us did, a bit of chateau de la pompe. Considering a drink is in the $12 range at restaurants where dishes are not much more, a grad-student couple who orders drinks is basically taking an invisible third and fourth person out for a meal. Easily avoided. That way, you too can dine well, and even spot, as we did, a minor celebrity.

4 comments:

Petey said...

Freemans is indeed very yummy, but this...

"the undeniable fact is, grad students and others who make some but not much money can eat in restaurants. Not every day, but often enough. How? It's quite simple: by not ordering drinks. This is easy enough if one happens to be in a French department, because you can always have wine at one event or another before dinner"

Well, sure. But it's even cheaper if you drink and eat before you get to the restaurant, and just stand outside on the sidewalk for two hours making chit-chat.

The basic demands of civilization require beverage with meal.

Your $50 shoes would've paid for a quite decent bottle of wine with dinner. Prioritize!

Phoebe said...

Wine for one meal versus shoes for at least a couple years?

Civilization requires many amenities out of reach to the NYC-living grad student. Wine with dinner's the least of it.

Petey said...

"Wine for one meal versus shoes for at least a couple years?"

Again, it's just a matter of proper prioritization.

Shoes are just shoes, but a proper meal with wine makes one human.

You're not living out in the provinces where shoes and dishwashers are the only sensible answer to the question. Go barefoot. Sous les pavés, la plage.

RHEA WOODS said...

This is a great review but I am looking for reviews of famous chain restaurants. Actually I am doing a report on them and not sure which one to pick and which to leave.