I was in the mood for fish and wanted something new, not my usual Blue Water/Mermaid/Japonica triangle. I also didn't want to go uptown to Bernardine but I had money and had heard some rumors about LURE opposite the Mercer Hotel in the basement of the former Guggenheim. A friend had been at the opening when the food had been free, the people drunk and the waitstaff trying. So my friend powdered her nose, put on something Soho and we took a cab the nine blocks (I'd walk but my friend won't cross the street with the aid of the city's livery; I however an male,wear sensible shoes and can't appreciate the difficulty of walking on a triangle of toes and heels) to Prince & Mercer.
The place is decorated to look like an old Volvo speedboat, a compliment if pulled off correctly and here it's debateable. What was not debateable to us was the hostess, a blond Wagnerian with the personality of Ilsa She-Wolf of the SS. After pondering which of the 80% of the empty tables she could spare, she headed for last, clammy booth in the rear, a dark hole in a cul de sac behind the bar.
A waitress of the same breed as the hostess, but a brunette, hovered just out of reach like some edgy, haunted creature periodically coming by for drink orders while we pondered the menu then disappearing just as we were about to speak; an oddly, nervous affliction that.
Our cycles finally coincided and we ordered drinks while trying to decode one of those attitude-rich new New York menus where descriptions don't give you any idea of the dish; raw (fish) dishes that mention "crisp skin" and where the words "yuzu" and "mango" are used like mystic invocations.
Four paragraphs ago I mentioned I was interested in fish and so we put together an order, a hungry one of Bernadine proportions, starting with maybe a dozen varied oysters (at about $3 per) and then trying some of those oddly vague appetisers. But we never made it as far as actually trying the food because the waitress said the kitchen wouldn't mix oysters or more precisely you had to order a quarter dozen of each one.
Well maybe I am naive but I think that if you are about to lay down a hundred-fifty to two hundred-fifty for din-din the schucker can actually mix oysters, you know, pick up one from the left, one from the right. But Ilsa showed up again pointing out that the menu says that, "a quarter dozen minimum" and turned on her natural charm, charm learned from graduating from the Finishing School at the Carnegie Deli.
At this I (we) realized that somewhere stenciled on my forehead must have been a sign saying I'm a Duck, Pluck Me. So we turned on our heels, left our untouched drinks, refused to pay and went out for a good evening at CRU and a late burger at Cedar.
Green mold will form on my American Express Card before I go there again.