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Restaurants & Bars

Leff Book Saves Day

Steve D. | Dec 19, 199802:41 PM     1

Dentist appointment, 12:30, E. 35th Street. I show up on time, sign in, start to head for the elevators. Guard stops me: Where you going? 17th floor, sez I. Dentist. They're not there any more, sez he. Building's being renovated. They're somewhere on W.57th St. Didn't they tell you? No. (Neighborly exchange of vulgarities regarding the intelligence, competence, and putative humanity of dentist crew.) After a number of phone calls ("I'm missing the Jets game for this"), he gets me the new address. I go there, to be told that they can't fit me in during the remainder of the day.

If I were one of my more volatile friends, this would be headed "Leff Book Saves Lives," since it did occur to me that an AK-47 might be a handy thing to have on such occasions. Instead I took a deep breath, made a fresh appointment, sat on the comfortable couch they doubtless bought with the money saved on postage by not informing their patients of the move, and opened up Jim's book for its trial run (I just got it Friday). Let's see, Zone 8... El Papasito, quality rating 90, practically around the corner on W.52nd, I'm there.

Being in a desperate mood, I ordered both the pollo asado, a special of the day, and the mofungo; I knew it would be far too much, since my 47-year-old appetite is sadly diminished from its glory days, but I love mofungo and Jim's description bereft me of all reason. Fortunately the mofungo order slipped through the cracks, since by the time I had polished off the last of the beans and rice and searched the remains of the chicken for any shreds that had somehow eluded me, I would have been unable to do more than sniff it longingly. The chicken was so tender and tasty that the first forkful dispelled all thoughts of tooth-related homicide and restored me to that higher world where Mozart, Duke, and soulful cooks reside for our joy and consolation. Anyone who wishes to split a mofungo sometime can contact me via e-mail. As the Babylonian Talmud says, "Great is the meal which brings together people who are distant from one another."

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