24 May 2007

Cup of Ribs?

OK, so maybe you've never looked up at the neon sign for Virgil's Real BBQ in Times Square and wondered, "Why is the sign for a BBQ joint shaped like a bowl?" Or maybe you thought it was shaped like a Weber grill or something.

Anyway, unasked, I am here to clear up the mystery. Virgil's inhabits the space once used by the old chop suey palace, The China Bowl. So, yes, that sign is shaped like a bowl and once bore the words "China Bowl." It was a classic neon sign of its time, and the place itself was a great evocation of its era, full of circular, red-leather banquettes, and graced with lighting so dim you couldn't see the faces of the people at the next table. I was lucky to have eaten there once before it closed in the mid-90s. If you want to see what it looked like, rent "Glengarry Glen Ross." It's the restaurant the real estate agents are always ducking into (even thought the movie is set in Chicago.)

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