If you don’t know this restaurant, you should: New York’s Shopsin’s, perhaps one of the quirkiest, oddest, most delightful, most infuriating restaurants in the world, which is presided over by Kenny Shopsin, who is himself one of the quirkiest, oddest, most delightful, most infuriating restaurateurs in the world.
Shopsin’s is famous for any number of reasons: the 900-plus-item menu, the draconian dining room rules (no parties greater than 4, no two people at the same table ordering the same dish), the seeming infinity of Kenny’s cantankerousness, the Calvin Trillin treatment in The New Yorker, the sign reading “All our cooks wear condoms.”
And then, of course, there is the food: Blisters on my Sisters (sort of like huevos rancheros), Egg Nachos (exactly what it sounds like), Slutty Cakes (pancakes filled with pumpkin and peanut butter), Mac n Cheese Pancakes (another self-evident one) … and that’s just breakfast.
We realize, of course, that not everyone is at this very moment in New York City and able to go to the cramped space in the Essex Street Market to have Kenny make you a Chicken-Fried Hamburger. So now, the Chicken-Fried Hamburger comes to you!
Eat Me: The Food & Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin is coming out tomorrow from Knopf, and it could not be a more awesome cookbook. Organized around chapters like “The Story of Shopsin’s Turkey, or Why I Hate the Health Department,” and studded with 70s-era photos of Shopsin’s kids taking baths in the sink and straight-faced portraits of Kenny’s everyday kitchen utensils, this is certainly not your mom’s copy of Joy of Cooking. In fact, it probably makes Joy of Cooking blush and giggle the red off its cover.
[photo of Kenny by Jason Fulford]