Choosing among the six films showing at the West 7th Movie Tavern (2872 Crockett St.) was fairly easy, as only one featured a cast member that Chow, Baby currently has a crush on. Unfortunately, other than the beauteous Alexa Davalos as Andromeda, by far the best part of Clash of the Titans ($10) was the quintet of tipsy conventioneers in the next row shouting “Release the Kraken!” every five minutes or so. Well, maybe that and the 3-D effects — for instance, a rope hanging practically in front of your face! for no apparent reason.
But that’s OK, because Chow, Baby goes to Movie Tavern for the food and in no small part for the jovial (Get it? Jovial, from Jove, Roman equivalent of Zeus, a leading character in this movie? Never mind.) helpfulness of crush-worthy waiter Cole. It’s a common waiter shtick to dis one or two menu items while praising others as “my personal favorite” to show that he’s aligned on your side against, I don’t know, evil chain management that wants you to eat lousy food for its own nefarious purposes. But Cole is as sincere as Perseus, though without all the agonizing, and indeed with his help we racked up (hyperbole alert) a meal worthy of demi-gods.
From the battered-and-fried category, the trio of flavorful crab, spinach, and artichoke dumplings ($8.50) were tempura-battered, not a bit greasy, and well matched with a marinara-Boursin cheese dip. Chow, Baby and its dates (yes, plural; it’s trying to be efficient) were divided on the margherita pizza (10″, $9.50): The crust was soggy, but the sauce of crushed, marinated tomatoes was wonderful. A chicken pita ($8.75, with hot and crisp sweet-potato fries) was a gourmet delight, starring chunks of juicy marinated chicken tossed with candied pecans, dried cranberries, feta, and spring greens in a creamy raspberry dressing. Also the by-now-really-having-fun conventioneers (Movie Tavern also sells beer and wine) said they highly enjoyed their burgers (1/3 lb., $8.25), but Chow, Baby didn’t ask for a bite and so is just passing this on for what it’s worth.
The way the West 7th Movie Tavern works, the ticket-taker hands you a menu, which you peruse in your big comfy theater seat complete with a little swing-out side table. Pretty soon somebody like Cole will stop by for your order, and when it’s all prepped he’ll bring it to you. So far, just like a regular restaurant, plus 20 minutes of commercials and movie trailers. But here’s the cool thing: On your side table is a little red button that you can push at any time — like, say you’re halfway through the movie, at the part where (spoiler alert) the winged monkey-men are battling the winged horses, and you suddenly start craving buffalo wings (four flavors, $8.50). Well, you just push the red button, and soon Cole will pop over and — quietly, so as not to disturb anyone who might actually be interested in the dialogue — ask what he can do for you. Whisper to him what you want, even if it’s just more popcorn (large $6), and soon it’s yours. A magical red button that will summon a charming guy bearing scrumptious food — that’s what Chow, Baby wants, in every room of its house.
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