Last week The New Yorker rode along with the city’s Department of Investigation as a Queens tavern-keeper attempted to bribe a restaurant inspector. While the article makes clear that the city is trying to keep its agents honest in the wake of those Department of Building and SLA kickback scandals, it’s also evident from an article in the Times today that restaurateurs are still wary of the powers-that-be. Remember the restaurant inspector who busted Pegu Club for serving an Earl Gray MarTEAni without warning that it contained raw egg? Well, Pegu bartender Kenta Goto now says he didn’t serve any of the drinks while the inspector was there.
To us, it seems like much ado about nothing (a Health Department official says that as long as you warn customers before serving them raw egg, you’re in the clear — and a written warning on the menu will suffice), but mixologists are taking this very seriously (“If they make it illegal to serve egg-white drinks, that would be Hurricane Katrina for us,” says one who refuses to be named). In fact, Pegu Club has taken what might be its most renowned drink (the marTEAni) off the menu despite selling 150 per week. It seems like a drastic measure considering it’s not like egg whites are illegal and all they have to do is warn customers that the drink contains raw egg. Are they just flipping out over nothing? And will there be any end to these egg-cocktail puns?