I had brunch with my friends this weekend, as I said I was going to. It was lovely. A decidedly fun event, only slightly hampered by the fact that the coffee machine was broken, which meant no coffee and no Mexican hot chocolate. I've made it a rule that I don't drink tea in the States unless I'm in an English establishment or a dedicated tea shop, as there are too many people working in cafes here who don't quite understand that a microwave should never be involved in the production of a cup of tea, so that meant no hot drink for me. I stuck with water.
The food was good. Not outstanding, but there was nothing wrong with it. It was a Mexican restaurant we were in, so there were some nice additional touches, like sweetcorn in the pancakes and chipotle sauce on the home fries, but mostly they stuck with the tried and true - bacon, eggs, french toast - and they did a good job with it.
So why am I writing about such an all-round pleasant experience, with nothing that makes it exceptional? Usually I wouldn't bother, particularly with the added irk of the coffee machine, as that would make it either a 'nothing to see here' story or an 'I'm SO ANGRY AND COFFEELESS' post and neither of those would make for a good reading experience. But the restaurant, Diablo Royale in the West Village, had one* very big redeeming factor.
The place is designed in a fantastic way.
I'm very influenced by looks. I would hesitate if faced with a restaurant that had an aesthetic I found unattractive. I mean, I would eat there, if everybody told me it was really insanely awesome food, and Ryan Gosling was a topless waiter or something, and Adele was the in-house singer, and no dish cost more than $5, but it's a choice I would really rather not be faced with. I'm going against the conventional wisdom we're all meant to have gained by the time we're in our late 20s. Looks matter, people.
So that's what sets Diablo Royale apart, and makes it worthy of talking about. The decor. I don't know which is more important to me - the look and general vibe of a place, or the food - but I think they're about equal, which means sometimes I'll eat amazing food in a place with decor that's fine, but nothing special, and sometimes I'll eat food that's fine, but nothing special, in a place that has amazing decor. This, my friends, is called a balanced life**.
*Two if you count that it's really inexpensive, actually.
**Plus exercise and friends and family and work and art and being a generally good person. They're important too.