UPDATE: 2014/06: 15 Grand American Bistro has closed.
Other than having heard that they have a good burger, I knew nothing about 15 Grand, the newish restaurant in Montvale, NJ. That didn't stop me from thinking I knew, though.
I was pretty sure this was an upscale place, with heavy, dark furniture, where, if it were allowed, you might find businessmen in suits smoking cigars, talking too loudly about some deal, and drinking Johnny Walker some-color at the bar. Really not my kind of place, but I figured I'd give it a shot, for the sake of research.
With temps this week struggling to get out of the aughts, I had visions of a big ol' goblet of red wine next to the burger. I could assume that a place like this would have very nice, large, masculine stemware. Maybe, even a bold, tannic cabernet. A steakhouse type wine. It sure seemed like that kind of afternoon. That would surely be a lovely lunch if, if that burger was any good.
I was a bit surprised to see a somewhat crowded parking lot as I rolled in. "That's a lot of businessmen," I thought. The last thing I wanted to do was get squeezed into a bar, surrounded by tossers. I generally just like being left alone. But I soldiered on, setting apprehension and my general dislike of people aside, parked the car, and walked in.
I eagerly told the host that I'd like to sit at the bar. He gently explained that they don't have a bar. He must have seen the shock on my face, my jaw slack, the life force melting out of me. "We're a BYO," he continued.
"What?!?! Since when? Forever and always?" I asked, intent on getting to the bottom of this, and trying to get my head around what was happening in my life at that moment. Surely this is a mistake. Surely. Clearly the nice man is yanking my chain. Clearly.
"Yes, forever and always," the nice man responded.
I won't lie--I was about to turn heel and go find the place I was thinking of this whole time. The place with the bar, with the big comfy stools. The place with the over-sized wine glasses. The place with the big cabernet. That place, you know? But, I quickly realized that 1) the traffic was hellacious and I didn't want to go back into it, and 2) this was the blasted joint I was thinking of in the first place. I nimbly switched gears, and proclaimed with a bit of defeat "I'll take a table, then."