By Nick Tosches. Little, Brown, $27.
Here’s hoping there’s little in common between the author of Me and the Devil and his narrator, other than that they’re both graying New York writers called Nick (who also both happen to be great friends with Keith Richards). Nick the narrator is a cocksure, alcoholic ne’er-do-well—or, more appropriately, a ne’er-do-anything—who abstains from booze while discovering a new tipple: blood. To satisfy his vampiric habit and the gnawing premonition he’s becoming an earthbound deity, Nick seduces lovely young things with a penchant for self-abuse and sucks out their sweet, sweet plasma. Sadly, no high lasts forever, and when the call of the demon drink grows deafening, how far can a budding godhead fall?
Regardless of his plummet, it’s hard to care whether Nick feels better or ought to just spin into a drunken coma so he’ll stop talking. The trek is offensive not because he’s a dark character pushing limits in search of the truth, but because he’s a bloviating, self-congratulatory, ostentatiously dark character who overestimates the reader’s awe for his tastes, deviancy, humanity and aforementioned Rolling Stones connection.
Tosches can, of course, rap with great erudition and effective belligerence. Devil uses a supernatural lens to distort autobiographical details as Ellis did with Lunar Park, but it doesn’t pack a satirical punch, nor does it make a cogent point about addiction. On the other side of conversations with some sage barmen, Heraclitus and (yep) the devil, Nick finally shrugs off the nagging fear he might have killed a couple of girls—did we fail to mention that bit?—and plunks into his newly found freedom on a barstool. Oh, he’s a bad man, all right; don’t worry, he’ll keep patting himself on the back until you’re ready to take over.
The tony Upper East Side gets a bad rap for a dining scene that can be as stuffy as an un-renovated townhouse, but things have been changing in the past few years and a new guard is taking over. Enter Maison Hugo, the neighborhood's newest French entry, run by a young husband and wife team with a passion for fine dining. Provence-born chef, Florian Hugo, honed his culinary skills in Alain Ducasse restaurants from Paris to Monaco. Wife Michelle runs a neighborhood-friendly front of house. Together, they form a team that pays homage the neighborhood's haute cuisine history while also appealing to younger diners looking for something a little more out of the ordinary. The restaurant, which opened in October 2015, is a labor of love for the couple, who personally designed every detail of the restaurant, right down to the upholstery. The main dining room is a vibrant space boasting bright red banquettes, brass railings and colorful artwork. The more minimalist private dining room is cast in a softer hue with natural wood furnishings, the better to set the mood under the moonlight pouring in from the ceiling skylight. Chef Hugo, most recently of Brasserie Cognac and Brasserie East, shows an easy comfort with Gallic classics. For starters, his tartare de boeuf ($16/$26) is a thing of beauty. The buttery cubes of tender beef just about melt into their creamy mustard dressing, which packs addictively sweet and spicy heat. The simple poulet rôti ($30) is another winner, pairing moi
Venue says: “Mother's Day in Provence. Dinner Saturday, May 13th & Brunch and Dinner Sunday, May 14th - $55/pp, $30/child. Check the website for menu”