On a Break at Joe's Pub (with Surprise Guests)
It seemed like a good moment to take a mini break from NYC restaurants. I'd gotten a little too invested in what I've heard Momofuku's David Chang might cook for his big NBC Locals Only promotion on April 24 (if you've been watching TV in the back of a cab over the past few weeks, you know exactly what I'm talking about). And I'm a little over the banh mi debates. In that mood, I decided to take my night off at the landmark music spot Joe's Pub to see a singer I was shamelessly unfamiliar with named Mary McBride and a friend who plays guitar in her band. If I'd done a little bit of research, I would have known that I had seen her before, in Brokeback Mountain (she's onstage in a bar, singing that pretty song “No One's Gonna Love You Like Me”). She was awesome—the New York Times describes her voice as "part angel, part truck driver," and I am always happy if someone belts out soulful covers of Hank Williams and Tom Waits. As an added bonus, she brought out her friend Patrick Wilson (the adorable actor from, among other things, Watchmen and Little Children) for a duet of “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind.” As a second added bonus, also in the house was McBride's stepbrother, Ed Norton, whom I worship, and he was part of the after-party at Indochine (and when was the last time you heard someone say 'after party at Indochine'?). I wish I were also able to report on how good the food is at Joe's Pub... It's fine, not crazy expensive and the right place if you've been without a roasted vegetable and goat cheese panini for a while. But you might be better off reliving some prime ’80s moments with Vietnamese spring rolls at Indochine, or—even better—some ramen a couple blocks up at Ippudo (it's the favorite cheap eat of our brand new Best New Chef Paul Liebrandt—he gets it with the whole garlic crushed in). Or of course there's always pork buns over at Momofuku, which is actually where this evening started in the first place.