A recent NYC meet-up with former Radio God and hooligan crony DJ Jared led us into the esteemed company of Chef Frederic and his little corner of hell somewhere in the alcohol soaked Apple. The evening started out well enough, with the author toasting his pal (such being their first hurrah together since the DJ’s entrance into his 28th year) to eternal life over expensive beers at Gingerman, and to both their credit, ended well and with a story to tell the boys n’ girls at home of a run-in with a mustachioed chef. Also, no one ended up in jail or bleeding. After leaving Gingerman and drinking our fill at other neighboring bars little Jared’s tummy started rumbling and the offer of a birthday feast of the DJ’s choosing was put on the table by this guy right here.
But, where would he choose? Something decadent? Something fancy? A simple man with simple tastes, the DJ’s eye caught a glimpse of something resembling a restaurant touting German-fare across the street immediately after the free-meal gauntlet was thrown. Drawing closer, the fact that it was completely empty was noted while checking the menu taped to the door. It was also noted that a cartoonish chef with a huge white mustache that curled up under his chef’s hat was beckoning us to come inside. Not one to pass up free tickets to the theater of the macabre, both your author and DJ Jared succumbed. Entering the restaurant, we both noted that there were photos and yellowed newspaper clippings of the eccentric chef plastered to every inch of Chez le Chef’s two floors. We were seated upstairs and ordered up a round of shitty German beers that I’ve never heard of and have already forgotten. Sipping beers and supping on some bread we took in our surroundings. Everything about Chez le Chef resembled my grandma’s house: all the furniture is exactly the same, nothing really matches, and there are a lot of fake plants. On every table there is a little teddybear clutching an I Love You heart jammed into a glass. There are cheap clocks and other shit on the walls that made us suspect that Frederic actually lives there. The lighting is weird and everything is jammed together. There are cheap knick-knacks everywhere. I was loving this, however the eccentric luster of Chef Frederic wore off fairly quickly as he presents as a genuinely creepy individual. There is a passive aggressive quality to Frederic’s soft-spoken tone and the way he looks at you belies a flawed individual who’s eccentricity is likely the result of mental illness. At Frederic’s suggestion, Jared and I both ordered the Hungarian goulash. Clinking glasses before diving in, a remembrance was dreamt of that dreamy time in Montreal when we dined on the most perfect of Polish meals. Would it be the same magical type of dish? Eh, it was alright I suppose. Fine by my standards, but know that I am no Marlo (the foodie voice of our generation). Jared was nonplussed, and considered his goulash to be somewhat ghoulish and watery. The true delight came at dinner’s end when we were billed $130 for said fare, as Frederic had added a mandatory tax and tip to our $77 bill.
Perfectly normal thing to do.
Paying no mind, the author and the DJ scuttled into the night to slam ever more beers and file the memory of chef Frederic away under lock and key. We’ll bring him out for a laugh next time we’re dining at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
Chez le Chef
127 Lexington Ave # A
New York, NY 10016