Well, we'd had our suspicions, of course, as had any sentient reader of The New York Times Dining & Wine section. But Frank Bruni, the Times' chief restaurant critic--currently embroiled in a feud with Jeffrey Chodorow (the impresario behind Social Hollywood, where Top Chef filmed the lunch held for Jennifer Coolidge)--appears finally to come out of the closet in his latest review, due to be published in tomorrow's paper, but available tonight online.
Mr. Bruni chooses a peculiar coming-out journey: a trip to review the steakhouse inside the Penthouse Executive Club. Yes, possums, as in Penthouse Letters. And so Mr. Bruni set out with a group of men for the fleshpots of the Far West Side. As he tells it:
We were strangers to such pulchritudinous territory, less susceptible to the scenery than other men might be, more aroused by the side dishes than the sideshow: underdressed, overexposed young women in the vestibule, by the coat check, at the top of the red-carpeted stairs up to the restaurant, on the stage that many of the restaurant’s tables overlook.
Mr. Bruni is greeted by a lissome lovely, who says that her name is Mahogany.
“Mahogany?” I said.
“Yes,” she purred.
I was getting my bearings. “Mahogany,” I asked, “do you know where you’re going to?”
She didn’t miss a beat, noting the reference, summoning the singer, and moving on to another of the dreamgirl’s hits. “I’m ... coming ... out!” she sang, waving her arms, wiggling her hips. Mahogany and I would get along just fine.
That's right, possums. Frank Bruni is exchanging Diana Ross cues with a hostess at the Penthouse Executive Club. This may indeed be the gayest exchange in the history of the English language, and we are immensely proud of Frankie.
Not that the review doesn't get gayer, and saucier:
And when one of her sorority sisters sidled up to us to pose a question not commonly uttered in fine-dining establishments — “Is there anyone I can get naked for?” — the response was silence. On this visit to Robert’s and on subsequent ones, I was derelict in my duty, failing to sample much of what the restaurant had to offer.
But the beef, I devoured — breathlessly, ecstatically.
Way to go, Frankie. Or, better yet, you go, girl. And should we ever have you over for drinks, we'll make sure the gin is Beefeater, or nothing at all.