Sunday, June 24, 2007

True Vegas

Joel and I were looking for someplace to eat. Two doors down from the hotel was a small building marked as a “Family Italian Restaurant.”

A little lasagna, why not?

After parking, we noticed that the structure had no windows. Odd, but this is Vegas after all.

Oh, and no front door. We circled the joint, finally finding an entrance hidden in the back, through a tent of heavy drapes.

The back door – a thick, etched-glass pane with a big brass knob in the center – led us into a small vestibule.

Very small.

With no door leading into the restaurant. Just three walls, several photos of what looked like mobsters, a sign announcing, “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone – this means you!” and a button for a buzzer.

We looked around for a door, a knob, something. No such luck. Both of us feared the buzzer; that wasn’t an option, so we turned to leave.

Before my hand could encircle the brass ball leading to freedom, a small window in the wall banged open – ala speakeasy style. A man barked from behind the window, “Whadda ya want?”

“Uh, maybe din-“

“Is that seating for two, then?” he barked on, clearly not interested in what we wanted, but more interested in what we were going to be given.

Sure, you might have had the sense to walk out, but you weren’t there. There was no choice.

“Yeah. Two.”

The window slammed shut. We stared at the window, which must have looked silly to the maitre de when the adjacent wall swung open.

A smart right turn, and we entered the restaurant.

Small. Dark. Booths of squeaky red leather-like material.

Did I mention dark? Each menu came with a small book light attached on a string – the only way to read the menu.

A man sang songs from the Frank Sinatra songbook while roving the restaurant. Only Sinatra would be heard that evening, naturally.

A large poster of Al Capone – signed, but whether by Al or someone else I couldn’t say – overlooked the proceedings.

Al would have been proud – the food was very, very good. The wait staff friendly and prompt, yet not too nosy. And even the roving minstrel hit all the notes at the correct pitch and tempo.

So if asked back, well, that’s an offer I wouldn’t refuse.

Just my thoughts,


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