I’ve decided to kick off the Glitter Gourmet with one of the most surreal and unexpected gay dining experiences in New York City, a brand new restaurant called Marfa. Named for a town in “the high desert of far West Texas,” this place had “tar & feather” written all over it. This past Valentine’s Day my fabulously single (read: bitter and jaded) friends and I decided to toast our freedom somewhere with virtually no chance of seeing the love that dare not speak its name and thought the pulled pork and finger-lickin’ ribs of Marfa would fit the bill.
After a few vodka-sodas and some champagne (we needed a little fabulousity and a lot of booze to get us in the door), we bounced into Marfa around 9:30. Seeing the dingy concrete walls and eclectic clientele, we knew we were in the right place and moseyed up to the bar to wait for our table. After skimming the drink options, we figured “when in Rome…” and ordered some Marfa Specials. I hate to admit this publicly, but a Marfa Special is a shot of tequila with a PBR for $6. After the shot and the beer, I was able to convince myself I was in some fab homo country-western bar and began to enjoy myself. And then we saw it, at the other end of the bar - intertwined legs, fitted t’s, True Religion jeans….it was a happy gay couple. I would have turned on my heels and ran, if I hadn’t been so bloated from drinking beer.
Luckily, just before we started throwing our chewed up limes at the couple, our table was ready. We wasted no time and ordered a big fat platter of big fat “I eat my emotions” food including things like chipotle chicken wings, mini corn dogs, barbecue shrimp, macaroni and cheese, and chicken pot pie. However, when our spunky waitress came back to take our entrée order, there was still no platter. She sized up our table with one long glance, smirked and knew exactly what would turn our frowns upside down – free round of drinks. Within minutes, we were happily sipping our new cocktails, still foodless. This time we needed something in a martini glass, so we opted for the Marfarita, which is essentially a margarita with just enough chili to make your lips tingle. Unlike my Premier Cru PBR, the Marfarita was fantastic, inventive, strong, and well, free.
The moment of truth had arrived and we got a platter. The mini corn dogs were to die for (we’re not size queens), the chipotle chicken wings were crispy, tangy and just spicy enough and the macaroni and cheese was one of the best I’ve had in a long time. It was cheesy, but not heavy with a crunchy breadcrumb crust. Now, you’ll note that a few things were missing from that list – bbq shrimp and a chicken pot pie. I caught the eye of our forlorn waitress and we had another free round before I got through my weak attempted at a complaint. As the service got worse, our night got better and better.
Eventually our entrees arrived and I was faced with dry rubbed baby back ribs with coleslaw and more mac and cheese (it was that good, and the baked bean option wasn’t happening). While I do prefer my ribs, like my men – wet, these ribs were delicious and somehow seemed healthier because they weren’t dripping in sauce. They were moist, flavorful and, yes, they had the quintessential “fall off the bone” texture.
Finally full, drunk, and happy, I thought our night couldn’t get better when a drag queen/tranny fluttered by. After a quick double-take we found out that these ladies often flow through from the transgender bar, Lucky Cheng’s, which is right upstairs. I knew this place wasn’t as straight as it seemed! Feeling a little ballsy partly from the Marfarita, partly from the tranny, I marched up to the bar to “get some change” and as I’m waiting, I look over that the love birds and blurt out “my friends and I hate you.” As I waited to get my ass kicked, they just laughed and started chatting with me – fuck, they were cute, happy, AND nice. As I sat back down with my swallowed pride and my 10, 5, and five 1’s, the happy couple walked over to our table with a tray of shots for all of us.
As I downed my red-headed slut (never thought I would say those words), I inexplicably lost my animosity, bitterness, and sass. I looked up at those guys, was genuinely happy for them, and ready to tackle another gay bar for another shot at finding love. Of course, I didn’t find “the one” that night, I didn’t even find “the one night stand,” but after a night of great food and good company, it was a pretty great Valentine’s Day. The culinary moral to this story is that every restaurant has its issues (especially in its first few days), but if you make sure your patrons are having fun, you can get away with murder. I walked away from Marfa with a smile on my face and I will definitely walk back in.
101 E 2nd St
New York, NY 10009-7943