Greengrass, a remembrance

Barney Greengrass, on the 5th Floor of Barneys in Beverly Hills, is no longer.

Sometimes we brunched at Barney Greengrass, my husband Nick, daughter Clementine and I - on the rooftop patio overlooking Rodeo Drive. It was funny there. Even if you didn’t have a celeb sighting (we saw Maria Shriver and Wiz Kalifa [separately]), the crowd was usually worth staring at.

The menu featured everything – guy food and gal food. The waiters didn’t bitch at you about substitutions – they were deferential. And speedy. But for some reason, one day, everything went south. The clientele was feeling it. Particularly the couple next to us.

The wife was a fairly typical sixty-year-old Barneys customer, with one exception: her face was just the face of a sixty-something woman, no work. She had the requisite Birkin bag. And big, big rocks. There was little question that she was from New Jersey, as the accent was distinct. It was hard to pinpoint where the husband was from, exactly, as he wasn't the conversationalist of the two.

Despite the fact that no one in the restaurant's food was coming out, the husband's drinks were being delivered right on time. He was two martinis down at 1pm and the next was on its way.

Nick, Clem and I were talking about the latest French lesbian movie sensation, trying to keep from thinking about the faint rumblings of our stomachs.

The maitre d stopped by our table. This was unprecedented. We were flattered. Oh, our eggs and bagels would be coming out soon? Great, great!

"Why isn't he checking on us??" the wife at the table next to us said.

She must know I could hear her, right? I felt weird.

"Excuse me! Excuse me!" she barked at the waiter. "He checked on them. Why isn't he checking on us?"

"I'm sorry madame, I'll look into that right away," the waiter said.

Ah! Our food arrived. I enjoyed my huevos rancheros (no tortillla, no sour cream, turkey bacon on the side - proving I've lived in L.A. five years now). Nick relished his whitefish salad, and Clem ate half her club sandwich, as was her custom.

Meanwhile, food was finally delivered to the couple next to us. The waiter placed their items on the table.

"I'm not even hungry. I have so much bread in me," the wife said.

The husband sliced into his chicken piccatta.

After the waiter left, the wife took a bite of her vegetable lasagna. "It tastes like cardboard."

She waved down the waiter. "It's the texture. It's just not the way I like the dish."

"I'm so sorry, madame. I'll replace that for you right away." He turned to the husband. "How is your food, sir? Is everything all right?"

"He'll eat anything," the wife said.

Clem, Nick and I licked our lips and sat back. The sun was shining on Beverly Hills. Our waiter came by with the check. "We'd like to offer our apologies for the wait today," he said. "May we treat you to a cro-nut?"

Oooh! We were all excited by the prospect of tasting this then-fashionable dessert. The waiter headed back to the kitchen to finalize our bill and collect our consolation prize.

"Is he gonna buy us something?" the wife asked her husband. "Look, look," she said, pointing to us. "He offered to buy them a donut because it took so long."

"Do you want something?" the husband asked her.

"No! I'll be waiting again!"

His third martini arrived. He took a hearty gulp.
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Published on May 23, 2015 15:24 Tags: beverly-hills-rodeo-drive
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