Thursday, April 5, 2012

Shopsins is the Sh*t

My experience at Shopsins began with a 20 minute line outside the small stall with overflowing tables in the south end of the Essex Market. When I got to the front of the line, I got yelled at by Kenny Shopsin's bulldog of a son from the tiny kitchen at the back of the stall: "Why do you look so happy? If you keep looking so happy you might not be let in here." I can't help it that in my relaxed state I look unamused and even angry. I probably looked like this: 
It's good, I know. Photo credit to Charlie who really knows how to bring out my true colors. 

When Bulldog yelled at me I thought my greatest fears could be coming true. Shopsins is known for kicking people out really easily for reasons such as coming in a group of five or taking photos in or of the restaurant. 

This is Kenny Shopsin:
Shopsins restaurant is his creative genius. He is def bigger now and wears his flip cell phone around his neck on a string while shouting obscenities at his sons and customers. Photo credit to someone brazen enough to bring a camera in his presence. Watch the documentary "I Like Killing Flies" to learn more about him. It's on Netflix.

His Madness serves up any of about 400 choices from a two sided menu with names such as Blisters on my Sisters. Most dishes are composed of unconventional combinations, like mac and cheese pancakes with shrimp potato curry, but I trust that they are all delicious. Sometimes he may refuse to make what you order -- I heard his son tell someone that their choice (which involved matzoh) was boring like a Jewish grandmother. Everyone in Shopsin's is required to order a dish and if you order too much they will tell you; it's best to obey anything they say. This is about 1/4 of the menu:
When we were seated, Charlie ordered a sandwich called "Done" with chicken schnitzel, duck marmalade and lots of sauteed onions on ciabatta. I ordered the "Peter Lorre" with three poached eggs, hoisin duck, crumbled bacon and scallions on top of a toasted baguette with melted bleu cheese. Both were enormous and bangin'. My duck was tender and sweet and the poached eggs made the dish into a glorious runny mess. Add a little of their special hot sauce and yummmm. There are no photos to document this feeding frenzy because I was scared for my life to even remove my phone from my bag.

Shopsins is a must for any food enthusiast, but be sure to read up before you go. There are important rules to abide by and it's important to get your timing correct. Don't try any funny business and DEFINITELY don't show up with more than four people. Kenny closes up around 2 and stops taking new tables sometimes an hour before that. I highly recommend the movie.

Shopsins: 120 Essex St. in the Essex Market. Don't try to call.

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