Kip's Bay, New York, NY
Review by MaceVindaloo, Diana
The elephants were late and we were really really cold. We thought about dropping into a bar for warmth and comfort, but you know all of those public service announcements which point out the warmth of alcohol is all a sham, and you actually lose heat and can freeze faster? We really didn't want to freeze to death, so we passed by the bars and kept looking ...
We saw this diner, and recalled that we'd been there individually many years before. It'd been cleaned up considerably, but it was still pink on the outside! We don't know why it's pink, but it's been there for quite a long time.
The waiters (they all seem to be men) are of the type who make being a waiter a career. They're not students or actors looking to get by till they graduate or get their break. They're also a touch grumpy, as expected in a diner.
There are many booths all over this large space, but also tables which can be pushed together for larger parties. And the space really is large enough that if you have a couple of loud parties, they can be separated far enough apart so that you can barely hear each other.
The interior is classic diner, with etched glass, acrylic chandeliers, and a mural lit by glowing reflected lights, in a sort of art deco revival that you might associate with the 1980s combined with some of your more embarassing art school attempts. It's bright, for sure, but soothing in a way. And the place is clean throughout, and well kept.
We weren't really hungry; like we said, we were cold and wanted to warm up. So we ordered coffee. And still being cold, we ordered a bowl of oatmeal, thinking if we had to go back out into the cold, it might be a good idea to have a large mass of semi-liquid warm stuff within. Then we asked what kind of Jell-o they have, and the response was a correct one for a diner: "Red." We still don't know what the flavor of "red" is but we know "red" when we taste it! And what's Jell-o without ice cream? We got one scoop apiece of vanilla and strawberry. It tasted reminiscent of Sealtest brand ice milk anyone remember that??
The oatmeal was not the microwaved bowl of pasty goop that many diners and eateries have decided to use, and the Jell-o was not the leathery-skinned stuff that signaled a bowl that had been "pre-served" and left in the refrigerator to await an unsuspecting customer. We were pleasantly surprised, considering we'd just come in for a warm-up.
Even better, the waiter was a professional and didn't sulk or sigh at the tiny order. He didn't toss the plates on the table or act disinterested. He wasn't fawningly attentive, and he didn't ignore us. He seemed to intuitively understand that we were simply there to fulfill a survival function, and we didn't need to chat.
In our previous times here, we'd ordered omelettes and burgers, and from memory, they were good and freshly prepared. It was not busy when we came here (it was abotu 11pm), but other times when we'd been here for breakfast or lunch, it had been hopping. But the level of service was still good.
You know what they say about drinking too much that you'd see pink elephants on parade. Instead, we didn't get drunk, and we saw gray elephants, and snacked in a pink-exteriored diner. It was cheaper than a single cocktail at a bar, too less than $10.
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