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Charred Trumpe

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Tina Nguyen, of Vanity Fair, went to Trump Grill(e) in Trump Tower. She, uh, did not like it.

Donald Trump is “a poor person’s idea of a rich person,” Fran Lebowitz recently observed at The Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit.

No, not really. He’s a dumb person’s idea of a rich person.

“They see him. They think, ‘If I were rich, I’d have a fabulous tie like that.’” Nowhere, perhaps, does this reflection appear more accurate than at Trump Grill (which is occasionally spelled Grille on various pieces of signage). On one level, the Grill (or Grille), suggests the heights of plutocratic splendor—a steakhouse built into the basement of one’s own skyscraper.

Ah, the anachronistic “e” of classiness! I am solde!

On another level, Trump Grill falls somewhat short of that lofty goal. The restaurant features a stingy number of French-ish paintings that look as though they were bought from Home Goods.

Ya know, I’m not Trump or a Trump employee but I felt that one like a punch in the gut. Fucking OUCH, Tina!

The allure of Trump’s restaurant, like the candidate, is that it seems like a cheap version of rich. The inconsistent menus—literally, my menu was missing dishes that I found on my dining partners’—were chock-full of steakhouse classics doused with unnecessarily high-end ingredients. The dumplings, for instance, come with soy sauce topped with truffle oil, and the crostini is served with both hummus and ricotta, two exotic ingredients that should still never be combined. The menu itself would like to impress diners with how important it is, randomly capitalizing fancy words like “Prosciutto” and “Julienned” (and, strangely, ”House Salad”).

The menu is yooge and classy. Don’t hate.

Our table nevertheless ordered the Ivanka’s Salad, a chopped approximation of a Greek salad, smothered in melting goat cheese and dressing and missing the promised olives, that seemed unlikely to appetize a SoulCycle-obsessed, smoothie-guzzling heiress. (Instead, it looked like a salad made by someone who believes that rich women only eat vegetables.) But the cuboid plant matter ended up being the perfect place to hide several uneaten Szechuan dumplings.

The steak came out overcooked and mealy, with an ugly strain of pure fat running through it, crying out for A.1. sauce (it was missing the promised demi-glace, too). The plate must have tilted during its journey from the kitchen to the table, as the steak slumped to the side over the potatoes like a dead body inside a T-boned minivan.

Renowned butcher Pat LaFrieda once dared me to eat an eyeball that he himself popped out of the skull of a roasted pig. That eyeball tasted better than the Trump Grill’s (Grille’s) Gold Label Burger, a Pat LaFrieda–branded short-rib burger blend molded into a sad little meat thing, sitting in the center of a massive, rapidly staling brioche bun, hiding its shame under a slice of melted orange cheese.

Is it possible to feel physical pain while reading a restaurant review? Am I just cringing so hard I’m hurting myself?

“This is on me,” said our waiter, who must have noticed that we sent barely touched plates back to the kitchen, as he slipped us a tiny chocolate cake buried under whipped cream and anxious drizzles of caramel with our check, and my heart broke. It’s not his fault that he has to run garbage food back and forth, from a slammed kitchen behind a door marked “TRUMP EMPLOYEES ONLY,” to a table waiting an agonizing half hour just to close the check. It’s not his fault that the only way he can make it up to us is with a free cake, still frozen in the center, that tastes like Tums.

Well, ya gotta hand it Tina Nguyen. I could see throwing some shade while eating shitty food. But she somehow managed to down this stuff while blocking out the sun. Impressive stuff.

 

 

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