We had met at the bar when I boldly asked what scent he was wearing. After some bad-girl banter and wet thighs, he invited me out to dinner.
I suggested the Mark Hotel across the street since this man needed room and The Carlyle’s restaurant seemed too small to hold him.
The Mark has a very L.A. feel to it. It’s huge and airy and all the workers look exactly alike as if they were cookie-cutted by Calvin Klein. The men wear sleek Mad Men suits while the girls greet you in little black dresses looking more like fashion divas than hostesses. I’m always amazed how happy they seem to see you, as if you’re friends and they were so hoping you’d drop by.
We’re brought to the little rectangular bar to wait for a table since we had no reservation. Even though it’s one of the more pricier restaurants, you can’t get in. From Thursday through Sunday they have three seatings per night.
Colm orders us flutes of expensive champagne veering me off my recent beer diet that just moments before seemed to charm and fascinate him. “Way nayed to gut yoo samthun a lit-el clossiar,” he said, patting my knee.
Hmm, now that was a little friendly awfully fast.
I gathered myself as Jana, the bring-you-to-your-table-girl, gathered our drinks leading us to a very nice one with a great view of the room.
My phone kept buzzing. I knew it was Camille wondering where I am. I hadn’t planned on this little rendezvous so I was missing in action on a Friday night. I decided to turn off the phone.
The other thing I didn’t consider was the food is very L.A. too. Small but tasty bits of fish and papaya, ginger soaked meats with guacamole accents. This man, who looked like he ate meatloaf by the brick, combed the menu as if it were in Japanese.
He looked at me with that twinkle that roped me in to begin with and said, “Da yoo raycamond samthun bacuse ay cun’t myke hads er tyles aut af uny af et.”
Oh dear…we should have stayed at the Carlyle where he could have gotten an entire steer still on the hoof.
We started with crispy sushi, one of my favorite dishes actually, that rather than cold rice they lightly saute before topping it with tuna. It’s really amazing, but again, a tidbit to whet your appetite for whatever is coming next. He popped his like dinner mints while I tried to savor mine. At 36 dollars a dish, I think it’s only fair.
I then ordered us fish…sole for me, and trout, mahimahi and a nice big halibut for him. I panicked. I was so afraid he’d be hungry. The waiter, the tallest African server on the East Coast, after taking the order said, “Are you expecting guests mum?”
When the food came we needed another table brought over to hold it. Colm, who to his famished credit appearing seemingly unfazed, ate heartily.
All I kept thinking was, don’t forget any of this Susannah, whatever you do. It’s too funny. You need to write about it.
Let’s hear it for a recycled evening.
After what I was sure would be the last supper, we ordered coffee and dessert and enough cognac to throw us both right into rehab.
My chagrin was so profound at every error I had made that I just gave up. Who cares, I thought. So I didn’t pull this off very well. I tried being Miss Manhattan, but showed up like Lucy when she and the Mertzes went to the Brown Derby (my all time favorite episode).
l was still very much attracted to him, especially with a sea of Courvoisier coasting through my veins, but assumed he was a tad disenchanted with the way the evening went. We hardly spoke except for me explaining the benefits of kelp and turmeric. Why the Chef wrapped everything in green like we were in Sherwood Forest and how chewing one’s food delivers a happier digestion (oh God). Apparently presentation means little where Colm hails from. “Ya gunna ate et, er ang et un tha wull?”
Point well taken.
We took our leave shortly there after while I watched him tip everyone as if he just won big at the craps table.
The girls swooned as he patted their silk laden arms like a good-natured ooncle.
I stopped in front of the hotel’s facade figuring, good byes could be said right here…why drag out the inevitable, when he looked at me said, “Ay hud thah nacest tame wuth yoo.”
“Excuse me?” You must remember not hearing very well, I really thought he said, “Yer tha nattiest wumon ay ayver fashed wid.”
But I was wrong.
We walked across the street back to my favorite hotel, his warm hand gracing my waist like a portal in the night…and discreetly headed into the elevator.