This is a flash fiction/borderline-microfiction piece based on a real restaurant with some real facts about my family thrown in. My dad did, in fact, take his dad to this restaurant, but I’ve never stepped foot in the place. I’ve heard great things about it and I’d love to make my way over at some point.
The reviews on Yelp from all the try-hards are also real, based on the last time I checked over a year ago. I can understand why restaurants can’t stand the app. It felt weird writing about this place as if I’ve eaten there, but that’s what fiction’s all about, right?
There’s a small little Spanish restaurant in the West Village called Spain that gets very mixed reviews on Yelp. Patrons walk in and expect immaculate service, but they’re greeted by men who let the food do the talking. It’s no secret that anyone who steps foot in the restaurant is expected to know how it works. They will get grilled; they will get looks; they will tell you to go elsewhere–and that the food isn’t all that great anyway.
I thoroughly enjoy it. That expectation of knowing how something works without ever stepping foot in the building is a classic New York concept that no one of this generation could understand. If you get it right the first time, they’ll take note. They sit around all day chatting with the regulars. I order the paella and it’s exactly what I expect it to be: the best fucking paella I’ve ever eaten. It’s no wonder my father took his father here. I hope to keep the tradition alive. I’ll need to call him, but I don’t know if he’d be up for the drive anymore.
As I sit at the table, dealing with horrible cell phone service, I slowly scroll through the Yelp reviews. I feel obligated to write one of my own. People need to know that they have to ignore the negative comments–or I think that this is the appropriate New Yorker response to anyone ignorant enough to bash a relatively-unheard-of-but-managed-to-stand-the-test-of-time-and-the-exorbitantly-high-rent-thanks-to-their-great-food establishment. I know I’ll be back; I’ll be glad to know the others won’t.
There’s less than a month left to submit your work for the 2018 Winter Issue of Come and Go Literary. I’m looking specifically for all kinds of fiction, so see my submission guidelines for more details.