4 Restaurants Where You'll Never, Ever, Get a Table
Me — San Francisco, Calif.
Chef Thane Pompadoo is something special, a glorious creature not like the others.
"Some chefs have 'whims'," says the heartbreakingly handsome dreamboat. "I have divine inspiration. I mean that literally. God tells me what to cook, and he's great on the details. Just the other day, for instance, He said 'Why don't you dust those sand crabs with seaweed pollen?' 'Er, God,' I replied, 'There's no such thing as seaweed pollen.' There ensued the most tremendous racket, with a blinding flash of light. 'There is now,' he said proudly, pouring a heap of iodine-rich powder into my hand. 'Show-off,' I said with a smile, punching him familiarly on the shoulder. But I have to tell you, Michael Bauer positively swooned when he popped one of those polleny little critters into his mouth."
The Adonis-like head-turner pauses to look at himself in the mirror, then continues, "Of course, I could have figured out something just as good on my own, since, well, I am Thane Pompadoo."
Applicants for a seat at Me — those seats being plushly upholstered wingchairs silkscreened with portraits of Pompadoo made up as various famed culinary figures from the past — must write a 2,000-word essay explaining why they think they deserve to sample Pompadoo's ethereal specialties. Oh, and they must be really hot-looking. "I mean, why would you want to sit in a room with ugg-os?" asks the enchantingly chiseled hunk.
Tough Guy Spike's — Chicago, Ill.
The sign on the front door sets the tone: "No Collarless Shirts, No Gang Tattoos, No So-Called Gluten Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, Diverticulitis, or Other Sissy Affectations." This relentlessly funky dive on the wrong side of the tracks — the side that's slipping into the Chicago River — offers little in the way of amenities. There are no chairs, just a chipped Formica counter stenciled with the legend "Do Not Lean." The utensils are cardboard, washed and reused until they're little more than pulp. The "bathrooms" are a row of old paint cans behind the dumpster out the back door.
Yet the small number of customers who successfully gain admittance — the ever-changing process might involve winning a leg-wrestling match with the proprietor's 150-pound Bouvier de Flandres, Fifi, and doing the foxtrot in hockey skates on a floor sloshed with lobster bisque — can't say enough about such specialties as the three-and-a-half-pound Choker, a patty of raw coarse-ground beef tongue slathered in peanut butter and blue cheese dressing concealed inside a loaf of Wonder Bread; or the spaghetti-with-white-clam-sauce spring rolls with pineapple aioli; the spicy catfish oatmeal with smoked snail eggs; or the ranch dressing milkshakes with Baco-bits and pickled chard. This is real food — or about as real as food gets at a place like this.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I regret to inform any readers who are offended by my description of various aspects of these restaurants — or who have spent hours searching for them on Google, perhaps in the hopes of actually being able to sample seaweed pollen created to order by God or maybe leg-wrestle a Bouvier de Flandres — that the foregoing is a work of satire, meant to poke fun at certain trends in contemporary dining.