Frank Poems: À LA CARTE

The Guardian, 12 February 2023: "Koloman, New York City: ‘The food is so damn good’ – restaurant review"

(Poemification of a restaurant review by Jay Rayner.)

Crispy, deep-fried prawn heads, honking richly
Of the sea. Sweet clams off the shell. Herb-flecked
Garlicky broth with crusty sourdough.

You can’t help but sigh.

Expertly grilled, two finger-thick shrimps,
Creating their own spiced liquor. The bitter hit
Of radicchio. Piri piri chicken,
Boned and cooked flat-iron style, with a rustling heap
Of golden fries. Deep, crumbly chopped liver,
With buttered, salted and baked matzoh.

Can’t help but sigh.

Duck-liver parfait, as smooth as mulberry silk,
As stupidly rich as Bezos, and topped
With sweet red-wine jelly. A short-rib terrine
In which the beef is sliced paper-thin,
Interleaved with light aspic, and bound
In mandolined carrot to form a frame,
With a dribble of Styrian pumpkin oil
And a tarragon-and-egg cream.

Can’t help but sigh.

Salmon en croute, breathtakingly pretty,
In thick rectangles and lightly cured,
With a smooth scallop-and-parsley mousse
On each side, and then a white bread casing,
Fried in butter to golden.

Can’t help but sigh.

A lingonberry and a sea-buckthorn sauce.
The essentials of a breaded veal schnitzel,
Not mucked with – crisp, bubble-crumb overcoat,
With salads of dill and cucumber
And vinaigrette-dressed potato.

Can’t help but sigh.

Cheese gougères, their burnished crusts giving way
To a soft, unctuous crumb – gusts of dairy wonder.
Warm poppy-seed rolls with salty butter.
Soufflé for two, baked in an oven dish
Like a white country loaf, hiding a centre
As soft and thick as sweet whipped cream, layered
With lingonberry jam beneath.


"House by the Railroad," Edward Hopper, 1925


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