Celest dragged me to a three-plus hours-long avant garde production of Hamlet last night. I’ll kill her later. Here’s the thing: I actually love Hamlet; it is, in fact, my favorite of all Shakespearean dramas and my expectations were high since it was the famous Wooster Group performing at The Public. But. I. Thought. It. Was. Torture.
If the theatre hadn’t been so damn cold, and the seats so unbearably uncomfortable, I would have at least enjoyed a long nap, but as it turned out, I just had to endure as the actors “recreated” a performance of the play from a grainy film from the 1960’s that played out distractingly behind them. I get why it was supposed to be cool, but I was un-thrilled by the time the curtain call mercifully concluded.
Sensing that she’d better try to improve my mood after the performance, and knowing me well enough to know that the best way to succeed at that would be to get me a good drink at a great spot somewhere where we could gossip and get Hamlet off the brain, she promptly walked me out of the theatre and down the street to Butter.
Now, Butter is a hotspot that’s been around for awhile (they just had a big 5th anniversary bash), but still attracts enough attention that N.Y.-visiting L.A. celebrities are often photographed outside of it, and those photos show up on Page Six or in New York Magazine. Strangely enough, neither of us had ever been there, so the bar seemed like the perfect post-theatre perch for two ladies out on a Saturday night.
What I’m here to report is that—surprise!—Butter is tastier than bad Shakespeare! In fact, we had such a warm welcome and delicious experience there that I can’t wait to go back and try more of the menu items (and flirt with the ostentatiously-gay Sommelier who introduced himself as “Carrell,” and who was so passionate about his personal menu favorites, he almost strong-armed Celest into ordering the veal cheeks and foie gras when she said she only wanted a “nibble of comfort food” to go with her Basil Haden, thank you very much). Our adorable bartender was also charming as hell, especially when she stepped up and playfully “shooed” away the potential suitor who kept swarming around with his jet black, Frankenstein haircut, interrupting our engrossing conversation. And an owner of the joint, an inauspicious older gentleman, even came to check on us a couple of times, offering a great table in the dining room if we decided we wanted to leave our comfy bar stools. Service smooth as…well, you know.
The Cab I drank by the glass (only two!…this night, anyway…) was rich and perfect for warming my cheeks and my spirits. And the food we did taste—cavatappi with spicy lamb sausage and yellow tomato sauce—was delicious, if not better than my own, similar pasta dishes. And my favorite was the bread service, complete with three types of, guess what, butter! An herbed, a salted, and an unsalted. Served with some chewy bread and little squares of cornbread that were a little dry, but all the better to paint with butter and toss as a whole into my mouth!
We closed the place down. Not unusual. And if Beyonce or Mischa Barton were at the club downstairs we didn’t notice. We were busy at the upstairs bar, marveling at the imposing back wall of the place that looks like a giant photograph of a lush, green forest and chatting with Carrell about wine.
Hamlet famously whines, “O, that this too, too solid flesh would melt…” would that it had; we did, for Butter.