Have you the seen the movie? Well don’t, it’s a romantic comedy and when was the last time one of those was funny!
Maybe that is unfair but too often with romantic comedies it is the case, although, I will admit that often true it is not always true. This is much like when someone says that a restaurant location is doomed. It is a familiar tale that because restaurant after restaurant fails at the same address it is the location and not the restaurant that is written off as cursed. Well much like my original fatuous comment this too stinks of gross generalisation. The truth is venue after venue will fail simply because they are not good enough, yes there may be some added struggle in convincing the non believers that it was the restaurant and not its location that made it suck, but in reality quality shines through.
Personally I would go as far as to say that there is almost no such thing as a bad location. If you are truly doing something that people want and will appreciate they will find you, there are examples everywhere. What better demonstration than the awesome pizzeria Franco Manca. Firstly it is in Brixton London, not a problem in itself, but imagine a restaurant with perhaps 10 indoor seats, add in the fact that it is situated in a covered market that is only open from 11-4pm, and finally that its neighbours include fishmongers, brick-a-brak stores and the only butchers in London I have seen that sells pig tails. All that said you turn up at 1pm on a Monday lunch time and marvel at how difficult it is to get a table in such an ‘undesirable location’.
All this brings me to Van Horn, a new Southern style sandwich joint that opened across the street from us in Cobble Hill. It sits in one of those mythically doomed sites where every restaurant before it has died a sad and lonely death. Well I am going to stick my neck out and say that this one is gonna be around for a while.
We arrived just before 7pm and were invited to choose whichever seat we liked. Apart from another couple and some regulars at the bar we had the place to ourselves. The short menu consists of sandwiches, sides and a couple of soups all paying homage to the Southern states of the U.S. You could argue that the brief menu lacks detail, but since I ordered a Chicken Sandwich and what showed up was a Chicken Sandwich it may actually be a refreshing turn to dispense with the birthplace, rearing and feeding habits of said bird.
It was in fact a deep-fried chicken breast no doubt of good pedigree, coated in bread crumbs and
12 secret spices, served with pickled red cabbage and a rather pointless scattering of dressed leaves. Whatever it was called it was delicious, deep-frying chicken just works, crispy outside and a moist inside. The side of spicy potato salad lacked the advertised spice and while not being bad in any way it was missing the oomph that would have made it more memorable. My girlfriend had the Pimento Cheese Sandwich and the Tomato Soup. Both were excellent, the soup especially, although the accompanying slice of fried bread seemed a little unnecessary.
The bill came to a just about reasonable $38 including tip (20%) which is perhaps slightly too much considering we waived the enticing looking drinks menu. But as I said earlier I would wager good money that given time and a few more favourable press reviews the place will be packed every night of the week.
PS. Still struggling to think of many funny romantic comedies…does Knocked Up count?…all suggestions welcome………..