Lobster roll at Pearl Oyster Bar
While in New York recently, E and I went to see the musical Happiness at Lincoln Center. It had been lukewarmly reviewed by Ben Brantley in the New York Times when it opened a few weeks before, so I didn’t rush (= pay full price) to see it, though now, after having sat through the godawful mess that is the current Broadway production of Hair, a show Brantley loved, I realize his taste in musicals is completely opposite to mine, so yeah, good to know.
Happiness is about a New York subway car with 9 people on it that gets stranded in a tunnel. Turns out the people have all just died but they can’t get off the train until they choose the one happy perfect moment from their lives that they would like to experience for eternity.
Some songs in the show were less than melodic, and many of the characters were type-y, but the setting was a well-realized contemporary New York, the set design was amazing, the staging was wonderfully inventive, the dialogue sharp and often funny, and several of the happy perfect moments, performed by a talented cast, (I especially liked Sebastian Arcelus), were genuinely moving. And the show was thought-provoking: we walked out of the theatre wondering what happy moments we might choose to relive, if we had the chance.
Before the show, we lunched at the Pearl Oyster Bar in the West Village, where I had the lobster roll, like I always do, and E had an enormous halibut sandwich. The recipe for the lobster roll has been published online and in print, and I’ve tried making it at home, but I’ve never been able to replicate the way it tastes at the restaurant. Would I choose the first rich bite of the Pearl lobster roll as my perfect moment to live for eternity? Probably not, but it’s definitely worth a subway ride downtown and back to eat it every time I’m in New York.