Music Critic, Part Two

In last week’s column, I ranted about the music in new restaurants being too loud, in particular the sound-system volume at the tiny Puffy Taco (10028 North Ambassador), near the airport. But I got an earful of my own medicine, as it were, during a recent supper in the three-week-old Café Trocadero (401 East 31st Street), when my three dining companions — sophisticated Mission Hills residents — said they loved chef Jason Bowers‘ food but hated the music played over the loudspeakers, a techno-disco mix that I had barely noticed until they got so hot and itchy over it. Their theory: The restaurant is too costly for the hipster crowd and too urban for diners with platinum American Express cards.

Owner Chris Sefryn calls his mix “groovy lounge music.” It’s probably sexy and fun when the restaurant is full, but it’s kind of incongruous when the sleek, glamorous dining room (which bears no resemblance to its former incarnation as R.T.’s Deli) is half-empty, as it was on that Wednesday night.

And why is the place half-empty? Café Trocadero will be, I predict, the hottest restaurant in the city before the end of the summer. It’s already been discovered by the food snobs (the dinner menu, in particular, has some luscious offerings, like a meaty wild-mushroom tart and a slab of pink trout encrusted with spiced pecans) and the well-coiffed A-List Gay Crowd, which lounges in the gold, upholstered booths and orders summery chocolate martinis. They unabashedly stare at the gorgeous servers, who glide like Armani models across the shiny, cherry floors in ebony uniforms.

On another visit, I watched my young friend Jen play coquette with our chiseled waiter Antony, especially when she was told that he, uh, “shopped in her mall.” I stopped shopping in any mall about twenty pounds ago. That’s what comes from overindulging in desserts like Café Trocadero’s Frozen Cashew Brittle Glace, made with butterscotch caramel, a thick macaroon and melted Belgian chocolate. When you focus on something as beautiful as that dessert, who cares about groovy lounge music?

Manager Robbie McGowen says most of the restaurant’s patrons dig the music. “I haven’t had one complaint,” he says, “and lots of compliments, even from people over fifty.”

Thirtysomething Jen didn’t completely agree. “The music makes me want to put a glow stick in my mouth.”

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