So you sit down at your booth, a replica from the Jack Rabbit Slim’s restaurant, and your waiter or waitress comes up to you wearing their black and white suit and tie and asks you if you’d rather have a Mr. Brown, a Mr. Pink or a Mr. White to wash down your Big Kahuna Burger with Jackie Hash Browns on the side?
But what’s a Mr. Brown, a Mr. Pink, or a Mr. White? You waiter or waitress tells you that such a tasty burger is going to need an equally tasty beverage to wash it down. They go on further to inform you that a Mr. Brown is a chocolate shake, a Mr. Pink is a strawberry shake and a Mr. White is a good old-fashioned vanilla shake. You ask them for a Mr. Blonde just as “Stuck In The Middle With You” comes over the jukebox.
You’re in a Tarantino Themed Restaurant, which is an idea so obvious and so obviously great that its absence in the world actually makes me question the legitimacy of this reality. How can any of this be real and not merely some virtual reality simulacrum constructed by an infernal network of machines that want to convert human beings into batteries despite the multitude of better alternatives? Yeah, I know, wrong directors, but you get the idea. Besides, a Wachowskis restaurant would be awful. It’d be nothing but really good appetizers and then terrible follow-up entries served with bent spoons, or worse you’d have to eat with your hands because there is no spoon.
But come on, a Tarantino themed restaurant would be a license to print money. He’s the one auteur director whose body of work is so easily identifiable, vast and well known that it could support an entire menu and decorum based around it. Wes Anderson’s a close second but I don’t honestly want to eat my food in slow motion, even if it’s done so while a really rocking old Kinks song is the soundtrack to my chewing.
Tarantino’s cinematic universe is uniquely positioned to lend itself to the realm of thematic culinary experience because so many of Tarantino’s films have vital and memorable scenes involving food. Reservoir Dogs, Tarantino’s debut, opens with the titular color-coded group of bank robbers finishing up at a morning diner. Who can forget Jules Winnfield and Vincent Vega immortal introduction in Pulp Fiction discussing the “Royal With Cheese”? Or Col. Hans Landa, the Jew Hunter, slowly and torturously drinking his milk while he toys with the French farmer who’s hiding Shoshanna and the rest of her Jewish family in Inglourious Basterds. There are almost as many classic Tarantino food scenes as there are classic Tarantino music scenes.
So let’s take a peek at some of the best selections from the menu that boasts, “Crazy 88 Killer Entries.” There aren’t really 88 of them, it just sounded cool.
Reservoir Dogs Milkshakes
As already mentioned, each member of the Reservoir Dogs crew gets their own milkshake. And yes, they’re five-dollar milkshakes. I don’t know if they’re worth five dollars but they’re pretty fucking good.
Of course if you get a Mr. Pink shake you don’t have to tip. But there’s going to be a helluva gratuity thrown in there. Mr. Blonde’s namesake goes to an unpredictable but charming butterscotch milkshake, while Mr. Orange’s is lent to a short but stiff number that’s bleeding to death with creamicle flavor. If you’re looking for a clue about what happened to Mr. Blue, his shake is blueberry flavored. Sure, kind of gross, but who the fuck is going to order a Mr. Blue?
Lt. Aldo Raine’s Nazi Scallops
And I want my scallops! In tribute to Aldo the Apache, and his astonishingly terrible attempt at an Italian accent in the latter part of Inglourious Basterds these Nazi scallops will be served with a bit of Italian seasoning. But what makes them Nazi? They come arranged on your plate in a swastika. Kidding. Aldo Raine, while having a penchant for cataloging all the Nazi scum he sees fit to let live with a swastika forehead tattoo courtesy of his massive knife, is obviously no fan of their symbol. And neither are the good folks at the Tarantino Themed Restaurant. Let’s just say they’re Nazi scallops since scallops aren’t kosher, and neither are Nazis. Seriously, those fascist murderers love shellfish.
Tarantino’s Foot Fetish Footlongs
Each sandwich is shaped and themed after a different Tarantino leading lady’s foot. You have Selma Hayek, as the coquettish and carnivorous Santanico Pandemonium who stole the show in From Dusk Till Dawn, and her beautiful, bronze five toer, which Tarantino himself sucked and drank tequila off of (a scene, it should be noted, that the man wrote himself and then shrewdly decided that he should play the part of the luckiest, creepy foot perv of all time) reimagined as a scrumptious rare, roast beef sandwich slathered in tequila.
Or you can have some two-bread travesty based off of Uma Thurman’s inhumanly large, gargoyle toed, gigantafeet as showcased inexplicably in Kill Bill. Seriously, Quentin I know you’re into the ladies’ lower claws, and Uma seems like a nice lady, but that girl’s got Kroger toes, kid. Please, I’m seeing this in the theater, no close up. Her enormous, malformed mcnuggets that she must have had grafted to her feet to stand in for foot-digits have been haunting my dreams for the last decade. Did someone open the Ark of the Covenant on that chick’s toes? I’m not trying to be mean (I AM TRYING TO BE MEAN) but Nazi face melt toes. Nazi face melt.
Pai Mei’ s Pu Pu Platter
For The Bride’s ancient, bushy eyebrowed and beard fondling martial arts instructor Pai Mei, who is also intensely xenophobic and bigoted against Americans, I can see no better meal to be named after him than the ultimate lynchpin of the Americanized Chinese cuisine: the pu pu platter. And befitting this sadistic, bigoted curmudgeon, Pai Mei’s very own assortment of appetizers consists of the following items for your table to divvy up:
1 bowl of white rice.
1 more bowl of white rice.
Another, smaller, bowl of white rice.
A bowl of uncooked white rice with a teakettle of hot water.
For $ 2 more you can get a bowl of poisoned fish heads.
The Fox Force Five Combo Platter
For an actual combo platter you can do no better than this one, named after Mia Wallace’s failed television pilot about five foxy secret agents. You can order it with three tomatoes or two tomatoes and a small baby sized stain of ketchup.
Django and Dr. Schultz’s Sauerkraut and Soul Food Plate
If you don’t feel like playing it safe and want something a little different you can try this fusion of nasty ass, German pickled cabbage and just as nasty ass, Black American southern cooking. Actually I’ve never had soul food but hog maws and chitterlings look pretty gross to me. But hey, I’m a quarter Italian and I didn’t eat spaghetti sauce until I was 14 years old. Even when my second or third generation Italian grandmother (I honestly forget, do you listen to your grandmother when she talks about her lineage?) made her own red sauce just because it looked gnarly to me. I’m the pickiest person on the planet and a poor excuse for any sort of Italian. That being said, objectively, sauerkraut looks and tastes like pickled afterbirth. Sorry, Hans.
Stuntman Mike’s 100% Death Proof Nachos
This is a 100% accurate claim unless diabetes brought on my routine consumption of copious amounts of gloriously greasy, unrelentingly fattening, mouthwatering melted cheesed can somehow cause death. Oh, shit.
Bear Jew Bear Claws
They’re baseball shaped. With a violent splattering of raspberry sauce administered around the outside. Also they’re almost sensuous when run down the side of Nazi’s face as he kneels and waits calmly for his face to be concaved.
“Teddy Fucking Williams knocks it out of the park! Fenway Park is on its feet for Teddy Fucking Ballgame!”
Jackie Hash Browns
They’re just old fashioned, beautiful and strong hash browns, served with some bold, black, piping hot “Coffy” in the morning. You can also order a hot cup of “Christie Love”, which is just Coffy with sugar. “You’re under arrest sugar!” Google it, kids.
Stuck In The Griddle With You
Order this and Stealers Wheel comes on the jukebox while your waiter comes out to serve you doing their best impression of Mr. Blonde’s patented languid shuffle to the music before serving you with your severed ear crepe smothered in red ice cream.
Which is another reason why this place needs to get made and why I would eat there five days a week (I like to cook at the house a lot): the ambiance. Parts of the joint can look like The House Of Blue Leaves restaurant from Kill Bill, others can look like the diner from the beginning and end of Pulp Fiction. The jukebox at the place will pump out nothing but Tarantino soundtrack songs. Imagining having your ears perpetually swimming in an endless waves of cool surf music and old forgotten R and B dusties, mixed with obscure 70’s and 60’s pop bubblegum classics.
On weekends there will be Jack Rabbit Slim’s style dance contests and late night they’ll open up the Twitty Twister section of the restaurant and have some beautiful but menacing Mexican vampire burlesque. I mean, is there any other kind of Mexican vampire burlesque?
When it comes down to it, Tarantino’s films have defined a generation. Even if you aren’t much of a fan of them (which doesn’t make any sense to me) you can’t deny that they’re touchstones. Pulp Fiction alone is in many ways the 90’s Star Wars. Mostly because the actual 90’s Star Wars was like someone putting a diaper wrapped in tinfoil in a microwave and setting it on baked potato. Sure, at first you’re going to see some bright stuff that looks like lightning striking, it might even seem kinda cool. But pretty soon that thing is going to blow up your microwave and you’re going to have boiling hot kiddie shit covered in shiny stuff embedded everywhere and even worse, you’ll never be able to get rid of that smell.
But George Lucas prequel obligatory diatribe digression aside, Pulp Fiction is the 90’s Star Wars because like Star Wars, it created its audience. It filled a need and a niche that no one really knew existed. Sure, it stood on the shoulders of plenty of giants but it was the breakthrough film that cemented this new audience and its need for modern auteur directors. Its influence is felt in practically everything else that came out for the next ten years. Like Star Wars it was released at the perfect time just when its audience was ready for it. It was also a tough act to follow, even for Tarantino.
But he’s done it. He may not have made or may never make a film quite as good but he has made some damn fine films since, and several of them are contenders for the crown. (Inglorious Basterds, Kill Bill Vol. I) Tarantino has, like no other filmmaker of his generation or maybe several generations, constructed a universe that is familiar enough for most of us that we could easily enjoy the opportunity to inhabit his world in real life that a only restaurant based on his movies would provide its patrons. Tarantino’s universe is also deep and intricate enough that there will always be new parts to discover, and new dishes to try. I’d love to take a crack at a Drexel The Pimp’s Jerked Egg Roll with a slice of Mickey and Mallory’s Key Lime Pie. But hold the Gimp. If anyone tells you, “Bring out the gimp,” even in this restaurant, you better run the hell away.