Where To Eat Before A New Yorker Reading at The Director’s Guild? Try Zitar

This weekend was The New Yorker festival. I had a fabulous time, especially last night when I went with my friend Ricky to see Rufus Wainwright and we totally became best friends with Rufus’s sister, Lucy. The Rufus Wainwright concert was the highlight for me (we had awesome seats right up front) and “The Art Teacher” (a song from his newest CD) is now in my permanent mental rotation. Today I went with my friend Mark to “The Humor Review” and it was less funny than it should’ve been (this old man behind me said to his wife, “They call that comedy?”) but it was great to put so many New Yorker names with faces. George Saunders did a great bit about samish sex marriage and Patricia Marx did a hysterical piece called “Audio Tour.” You can probably find these pieces somewhere on the internet.

Friday night I went with my friend Patty to see Zadie Smith and Jonathan Franzen read from their work. First, though, we grabbed dinner with Patty’s girlfriend Lauren. I had my little ethnic eating guide and we were exploring Indian restaurants on 57th street when it began to pour. Patty pointed out Sitar and said she’d heard it was good. Here’s a picture I took after dinner when it wasn’t raining:

That is SUCH a New York picture. I love it. For anyone who doesn’t live in New York, this gives you a sense of what it’s really about. Trash on the curb, neon NAIL lights, graffiti on metallic gates. Of course there are pretty patches too, but much of New York looks like this.

As you can see from the picture, Sitar is upstairs. So we went upstairs and saw just a few people eating. We took a table somewhere in the middle and the waiter said, “You want the buffet? It’s very good buffet.”

We asked to look at the menus and realized, doing some calculations, that it made more sense to do the buffet which cost $15 and came with nan and rice.

“Ok, ok,” we relented. “We’ll do the buffet.”

So here’s the buffet from far away:


And here it is up close:


And here, finally, is the plate I made:


What’s on it? Oh, let’s see: fried cauliflower, chicken of some sort, “Lamb Rogan Josh” (I got that from the previous picture—sounds like someone I knew in college), vegetable curry, a spinach dish, etc etc.

It was all very tasty. Patty had an Indian beer. I had two pieces of nan. Lauren ate some rice.

Lauren went off to a party and Patty and I went on to see Zadie and Johnny read. They both did great: Zadie especially. She’s adorable and her new book “On Beauty” seems pretty great. I enjoyed “White Teeth” very much. When I finish the 80 other books I’ve started lately, I’ll make sure to get to hers. And maybe I’ll read it while eating another meal at Sitar. That’d be nice, now, wouldn’t it. I’m having trouble ending this piece. [Adam does a tap dance and runs off stage. CURTAIN.]

1 thought on “Where To Eat Before A New Yorker Reading at The Director’s Guild? Try Zitar”

  1. Hey–

    I was there too! In fact, I’m working on a piece about it to post on my blog. What did you think of Jonathan Franzen? At first I thought his self-deprecation charming and gradually, as he talked more and more, I thought it was just a flimsy cover for the true asshole that lurked within. I’ve started On Beauty and I wish, wish there was an author-read audio version because Zadie’s Smith’s reading that night was so warm and funny, I just want to hear that voice again.

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