Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What’s In a Name: Good

In New York City, every restaurant scrambles to be more chic than the next. Whether it’s menus on a CD case, chairs hung from the ceiling, or a hidden entrance that’s about as secret as Lindsey Lohan’s lady bits, it seems that the harder a restaurant tries, the harder it falls – into phrases like “tacky,” “over,” and the dreaded “that was so Summer ’07.” And some restaurants try to nail it with a sleek, minimalist name, something simple, clear and obvious, like Good.

For months, Good Restaurant has been giving my friends and me hours of witty banter and bitchy quips, muttering things like, “Ya know, I heard this place was good” every time we passed by. A name like Good immediately sets the place up to fail, much like a slightly exaggerated adam4adam profile. When you walk into Good and realize it isn’t the metaphoric CollegeJock85 you were promised, you sigh, shrug your shoulders and pray that at least its menu is huge. I’ll stop the metaphor here, before I have you telling Good you’ll call him “sometime” as you hail a cab at 8 a.m.

This year for Mother’s Day, I decided to give my mom the best gift I could think of, me. I invited my parents to stay with me for the weekend, so we could do all sorts of motherly things. Of course, the cornerstone of any Mother’s Day weekend is the proverbial brunch. I searched high and low for the best brunch in the city and finally settled on Good, because it had the one distinctive quality for which I was desperately seeking, availability.

We arrived at 9:55 for our 10 a.m. reservation and walked in to announce our arrival. When I got to the host stand, I glanced down and saw one name on the reservation list. I couldn’t bring myself to say, “Hi, we’re the Marty party,” so I told the truth as she told me they didn’t have our reservation. She followed up by saying “we only take reservations for 10 a.m. on Sundays.” I bit my tongue, because it only would have made matters worse to say, “It IS 10 a.m. on a Sunday you brainless airhead.” Because the restaurant opened at 10 a.m., the reservation snafu didn’t hinder our seating anyway. This is just a very important and telling indicator of a restaurants quality.

Anywho, we sat down and ordered. The menu was pretty well rounded, with an array of options from the standard to the creative. I ordered the breakfast burrito - eggs scrambled with house-made chorizo sausage, peppers, onions & jack cheese rolled in a flour tortilla with a side of spicy salsa. While the burrito as a whole was pleasant enough, there were a few letdowns. The biggest issue I had was with the “house-made chorizo” which tasted much more like plain old hamburger. My other criticism was with the “side of spicy salsa,” which was much closer to a salsa fresca without a hint of heat. My meal also came with cheddar cornbread and a “Chipotle Mary.” The bread was delicious, although too greasy and not cheesy enough and the Mary tasted like all of the other Marys I’ve tasted [insert crude gay joke here].

With misnamed Marys, sausage and salsa, it seems like Good’s biggest problem is clearly identifying what is serves. To offer some advice to Good, I turn to Hamlet and say “To thine own self be true” and put up a new sign that says “Tolerable.”

Good Restaurant 8
9 Greenwich Avenue
New York NY 10014

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