Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mediocre Mile: Intermezzo

If there’s one thing that gets the Glitter Gourmet in the door of any restaurant, it’s a sidewalk sandwich board with two words: open bar. Last Sunday I was taking my usual strut up 8th Avenue with Prada sunglasses, glossed/pursed lips, and hangover in tow, all the while scanning for somewhere moderately acceptable to brunch on the mediocre mile. When my friend and I passed Intermezzo’s ad touting a two-hour open bar for $15, I thought it may be just the thing to ease the pain of Manhattan’s culinary arm pit, so we went in.

Intermezzo is by all accounts the definition of Chelsea’s mediocre mile – a hopeless attempt at chic with nothing going on in the back, which happens to double as the definition for Chelsea men. The décor is contemporary America high-gloss bitch and the Italian menu draws its influence from the same small Italian village that gave us pasta roni. Before I continue, I must admit that I’ve been to Intermezzo several times before and it does have a place in my Sunday brunch routine. Whenever I get sick of my egg-white omelette and instead have a craving to judge people based on how the look, Intermezzo it is.

When the door opens at Intermezzo, you find yourself at the foot of a long catwalk flanked by the bar to your left and a single column of tables to your right and you’re left wondering why you wasted your tightest jeans on Mr. Black last night when you should be wearing them now. Nonetheless, I hitched up my pants, looked down my nose, put the bass in my walk and went straight back to our table. My runway performance was aided by the DJ spinning from on high, peering down at diners from a window on the second floor.

When we finally sat, I knew I’d be fine, because my bar was about to open, whew. The open bar includes Bloody Marys (which are actually pretty good), Mimosas, Champagne, Screw Drivers, and Raspberry, Mango and Peach Bellinis. Choosing a drink is difficult because the Mimosas come quickly, but watered down and flat from a pitcher, and the Bloody Marys come tangy and spicy, that is if they come at all. As a man who always chooses quality over quantity, I chose the Bloody Mary.

As I threw back my Marys [insert tasteless gay joke here], I decided to go for the unch side of brunch and got a sandwich. I ordered the grilled chicken sandwich with arugula, tomatoes and Dijon mustard. The peasant French roll my sandwich came on was good, and that’s where my compliments end. The chicken was bland and the whole thing was completely over-Dijoned. With a thick layer on both the top and the bottom, the horseradishy mustard had me feeling like every bite was either a glob of wasabi or red–stained gefilte fish. I, of course, should have sent it back, but the last thing that place needed was an ounce more drama, so I ate half and pretended like I was on some new diet about limiting my intake of yellow-colored food.

I must admit that I did have a visit to Intermezzo in the not-so-distant past when I had a great time. I remember looking down at my fourth empty Bloody Mary and saying something to the effect of “I love Intermezzo, it’s like clubbing and eating at the same time!” That it is. If you’re looking for a good meal or a friendly staff, then keep walking, but for those times when you’ve just got to glitter, slam open that door, bounce down that runway, and let your whole body talk.

202 8th Avenue
New York, NY 10011


  1. Many moons ago, I and dozens of other drunken gays used to religiously frequent Film Center Cafe's divey/amazingly cheap brunch. Then, one sad day, they had the audacity to CLOSE for renovations...for EVER (almost). So, naturally we took out our passports and left Hell's Kitchen. We found ourselves at FCC's sister restaurant Intermezzo. I'm still deaf from the too loud DJ (WHAT?) and no amount of watered down mimosa could eradicate the taste of the bland food from my delicate palate. Sigh. Oh well.

    Your blog is totes cute.