Dish 54: Bouillabaisse at Blackfish, 119 Fayette St, Conshy, http://www.blackfishrestaurant.com/
“Something’s Gotta Give” is an excellent movie. Guaranteed moneymaker, first off—love story between America’s two favorite Boomers? Please. You couldn’t make more money if you packaged dinner dates with Prince William. But it also appeals because, in the philosophy of a great writer – whose identity is escaping me at the moment—we like to watch plays about people who rank above us socially; if we do not admire and envy them, the movie will fall flat. (This theory allows us the stolen pleasure of schadenfreude as well.) And our leads, both romantically unsuccessful but totally loaded individuals, fit the bill.
Diane Keaton has this gorgeous house in the Hamptons that provides the picture-perfect backdrop to her summer wardrobe of turtlenecks and cardigans. Shades of dove gray and white contrast perfectly with Jack Nicholson’s initially black attire; exactly how the high white wainscoting and dove gray walls at Blackfish are accented by black chairs and –need I say it?—black fish.
I imagine customers would love the subtle reminder of lazy summers at the beach. The beach, that is, if you go to Montauk or Nantucket. Just as the bouillabaisse has the feel of someone else’s comfort food; like walking into an Open House and seeing that the owners have left out evidence of their lives. “It’s the daughter’s room! Look, upper level French. She must be 16 or 17. Lord of the Rings. Haha, but check out the other books, she’s very savvy. Track medals. Her first rose!” And you’re allowed a glimpse into her life—but she is still oceans away.
The bouillabaisse was fine, hot tomato broth poured over fish, mussels, clams—only the shrimp was spiced enough to satisfy me and Colleen; we wondered why natural selection had not pared the remaining seafood from the dish. The square chunk of potato was funny as a dramatic visual, but equally bland. I just find it unnatural to eat mollusks from a bowl, indoors during the cold months. Clams are meant to be eaten outdoors, steamed on the grill or straight from the bucket, hosed off a little, surrounded by your Hawaiian-shirt wearing uncles.
Blackfish was a page from someone else’s life. Someone else’s beach house. Someone else’s comfort food. Someone who a movie producer thinks I envy; someone whose life is supposedly more comfortable and glamorous than my own; fewer textbooks, more romantic drama, and heaps more money. And while the shore house is attractive, the shrimp is spicy, and Diane Keaton’s decision between Dr. Keanu and Producer Jack doesn’t seem unpleasant to someone in her situation, I think I’ll pass. I’d much rather stand around the grill, waiting for the cauldron of clams to finish steaming, and preparing to wrestle Uncle Scott out of the way to claim my share.