Taken from a dream the night of February 27, 2018
My lady and I walk into a restaurant that I've been to before. The ceilings are very high and the room is very spacious. The tables are arranged as to make way for a white, enamel colored dance floor that must have been built in the early or mid-century. Where the band would be is a large parabolic window running the length of the large room. Behind the window, which has pink curtains drawn to the sides, is a group of about 20 or so musicians taking their seats and tuning their instruments. They are all clean cut, middle-aged and wearing tuxedos. Behind them is another large space and an actual bandstand. I can't quite make out the thin, cursive letters that form their logo on the stands. In the restaurant, most of the tables are empty, it feels as if we are arriving before the dinner crowd, if there will be one. I comment to Ned that this place used to really swing back in the day. The maitre d, an older Jewish woman, takes us to our table which is draped in a royal red cloth. As we settle the orchestra begins a slow, lush tune that would be right at place on the Lawrence Welk show. I keep my observation to myself as I doubt they had the Lawrence Welk show in Ireland. The waiter, a 60-ish man in an uniform that matches the tablecloth and must be a few decades old ambles by to take our drink order. He's holding an old-school notepad. I ask what kind of red wine they offer and with a slight smile he responds that the restaurant only has one kind. I tell him that I remember from my last visit it was perfectly acceptable. My partner orders a seltzer. In his New York Jewish accent he asks her where she's from, she replies, "I'm from Ireland." "Ireland has a lot of ports" he remarks. We both nod in agreement with his observation.
As we're listening to mellow strings of the band our waiter returns with our drinks and two dry, flaky, square biscuit looking things. We have a glance at them but return out attention to the music. A family walks by our table and a 6-year-old stops and without guile reaches over and grabs a bread. As he mashes it into his mouth, crumbs flying, his father turns to us and says "Sorry about that," also in an urban Jewish accent. I somehow come to the realization that the restaurant must be situated in either Forest Hills or Kew Gardens in Queens. "No worries" Ned replies with a giggle. "Where ya from?" asks the 40-ish father of the crumbmuncher. "Ireland." The man takes a pause and cocks his head to the side in contemplation, "A lotta ports over there..."