Bone in the Throat

By Vernon King,2014-11-04 17:32
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From Publishers WeeklyFirst-time author Bourdain presents a savory portion of gangster tartare spiced with salty mobspeak, coked-up chefs, wild entrepreneurs and foul-mouthed feds, served up in the colorful ambience of Manhattan's Little Italy. The FBI is using a former dentist to open and run a restaurant in a sting operation designed to catch 280-pound loan shark "Sally Wig" Patera-a crazed mafioso assigned to do the Don's dirty work. The deluded dentist thinks he really runs the Dreadnaught Grill and blows FBI cash on dumb marketing schemes instead of paying Sally's dues and vig. Meanwhile, Sally's nephew, Tommy Pagano, sous chef at the Dreadnaught, who loathes both his uncle and mob life, still feels loyal to the Family and so gives Sally after-hours use of the kitchen to " Published by Bloomsbury USA on 2000/09/16





Fiction Gone Bamboo

Non-Fiction Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly





    Anthony Bourdain


Copyright ? 1995 by Anthony Bourdain

    All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoeverwithout written permission from the publisher except in the case of briefquotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. For information address Bloomsbury USA,175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010.

Published by Bloomsbury USA, New YorkDistributed to the trade by Holtzbrinck Publishers

    All papers used by Bloomsbury USA are natural, recyclable products made from wood grown inwell-managed forests. The manufacturing processes conform to the environmentalregulations of the country of origin.

    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data has been applied for.

    eISBN: 978-1-59691-723-1

    Originally published in hardcover in 1995 by Villard Publishers, a division of Random House,Inc.This paperback edition published by Bloomsbury in 2000

    13 15 17 19 20 18 16 14 12

Printed in the United States of America by R.R. Donnelley & Sons, Harrisonburg, Virginia

    To Nancy

    . . . Mise-en-place is also

    a state of mind. Someone

    who has truly grasped the

    concept is able to keep

    many tasks in mind

    simultaneously, weighing and

    assigning each its proper

    value and priority. This

    assures that the chef has

    anticipated and prepared

    for every situation that

    could logically occur

    during a service period.

    The New Professional Chef

    by the Culinary Institute of America

    (Fifth Edition)

    Contents Acknowledgments Prologue One Two Three Four Five Six Seven Eight Nine Ten Eleven Twelve Thirteen Fourteen Fifteen Sixteen Seventeen Eighteen Nineteen Twenty Twenty-One Twenty-Two Twenty-Three Twenty-Four Twenty-Five Twenty-Six Twenty-Seven Twenty-Eight Twenty-Nine Thirty Thirty-One Thirty-Two Thirty-Three Thirty-Four Thirty-Five Thirty-Six Thirty-Seven Thirty-Eight Thirty-Nine

    Forty Forty-One Forty-Two Forty-Three Forty-Four Forty-Five A NOTE ON THE AUTHOR


    Thanks to: Gordon Howard, David Rosenthal, Tad Floridis, Beth Pearson . . . and the testimony

    of Sammy "The Bull" Gravano.


     IN THE



     THAT A DEAD body should be found washed up on the beach was not so unusual. Sandy Hook had had

     years. Hog-tied union officials in advanced stages ofmore than its share of floaters over the

     crab-eaten torsos, discarded pets, missing children, drug dealers in oil decomposition,

     drums; they came down with the current. Carried out of New York Harbor, down the Jersey coast,

     surface before coming in with the tide.they filled with gas and popped to the

    Dr. Russel Breen, the Sandy Hook medical examiner, called away from his breakfast at the Tips

     the latest, saw the duct tape around the wrists andfor Tops Luncheonette, took one look at

     marks under the chin, the welts indicating blunt force trauma, and the ankles, the ligature

    bullet holes in the back of the head, and declared him a city boy.

    "No way he's local," he said. Another present from the Big Apple, he thought. He took X rays

     and some photographs (front and side view) andof the dead man's teeth (what was left of them) faxed them to the city.

    He couldn't get any prints. The skin fell away from the fingers en masse. The hair was long

     distorted beyond hope of recognition. The mansgone, and the face, or what was left of it, was

     had an umbilical hernia; the navel extruded like a turkeybelly, swollen by the gas,

     When Dr. Breen turned his attention to the man's mouth, running a gloved fingerthermometer.

     had built a fire in there. Thearound inside the cavity, he wondered at first if somebody

     red and brown paper embedded in the palate. Most oftongue was charred, and there were bits of

     gone, and the cheeks, blackened and torn, hung in spongy strips over the the teeth were

    ears, as if somebody had tried to pull the mans face inside out and failed. Dr. Breen felt a

     it with a hemostat.hard object lodged in the throat and went after

    "Son of a bitch," he said, holding it up to the light, "it's a cherry bomb. Guy got amouthful a' damn cherry bombs. "

    Satisfied that the deceased had been shot, beaten, and garroted, and that an attempt had been

     loaded onto a squeaking gurney and taken off tomade to blow up his head, Dr. Breen had him

     went back to Tips for Tops for the rest of his breakfast. He would wait the cooler. Then he

    for the inevitable delegation from New York before going any further. Maybe they could get

     Maybe they could make an ID with thesome prints using chemical solvent to dry the fingertips.

     Someone would be down from New York, of that he was sure. In the few remaining teeth.

    meantime, he'd get some breakfast.

    What was unusual was the size of the New York contingent that arrived a few hours later. Most

     detectives; once in a great while, there was eventimes, a floater drew two, maybe three city

     time was different. This was an invasion. They couldn't fit, all ofa forensics hotshot. This

     in Dr. Breen's tiny office. There were guys in suits from the U.S. Attorney's office,them,

     and warm-up jackets, and others inFBI men in dark blue windbreakers, detectives in blue jeans

     been pulled off the golf course. There was even aslacks and polo shirts, as if they'd

     of pathologists, from Washington, no less, who arrived in a helicopter.sallow-complected trio

     was all very strange.It

    Usually, the two or three detectives who came down to view the latest dead wise guy would

     jokes, trying to shock the locals with theirswagger around the coroner's office cracking

     over the remains, eager to demonstrate how "this ain't nothin, weindifference. They'd snicker

     wassee this alla time." They'd refer to a floater as "Poppin Fresh" or, if the subject

     Meat."dismembered, as "Kibbles 'n Bits," or, if found in a drum, "Lunch

    Not this group. They were sullen and humorless; they seemed resentful about something. Instead

     bickered among themselves; unspoken recriminationsof the usual good-natured banter, they

     the air, occasionally flaring up into loud, shouted disagreements. Then seemed to hang in

    there was a scuffle out in the hallway: A stocky FBI man took a poke at somebody from the U.S.

     to separate them. An Assistant U.S. AttorneyAttorneys office; a couple of local uniforms had

     the FBI man was hustled onto the helicopter and sent back toended up needing stitches;


    After the scuffle, they all stood out in the hall, glaring at each other,

     the FBI men sneering

     their breath. A few feet away, the detectivesat the detectives and making rude comments under

     them. The AUSAs formed their own little group by the water fountain,scowled silently back at

     FBI men and detectives taunting them from their separate corners.

     A reporter from the local paper showed up, only to find herself confronted by the whole group,

     in their hostility. One menacing detective snarledwhich was suddenly, if momentarily, united

     obscene in her ear, and she retreated in tears.something indescribably

    Once the reporter had gone, they continued with their dark, accusatory looks. They shook their

     They fretted over the perceived repercussions from thisheads. They smoked their cigarettes.

     Sandy Hook's beach. Clearly, they knew who it was. And they weren't happylatest arrival on

    about it.

    Dr. Breen thought they looked. . . well, guilty.


    TWO-HUNDRED-AND-EIGHTY-POUND Salvatore Pitera, in a powder-blue jogging suit and tinted aviatorglasses, stepped out of Franks Original Pizza onto Spring Street. He had a slice ofpizza in one hand, too hot to eat, and he was blowing on it as he waddled through streettraffic.

    At the corner of Elizabeth Street, he passed the social club. A group of old men sat out front,in tattered easy chairs, drinking espresso.

    "Hey, Wig! Sally Wig!" one of the men called out to him. The old men laughed. One man, theoldest, in a dark jacket and unbuttoned white dress shirt, put down his demitasse."Hey, Sally, what you walking so funny for? You got the piles or something?"

    "I don't want to get any fuckin' pizza on my shoes," Sally said.

    "Hey, Wig," said another espresso drinker. "Looking good."

    The old men laughed. Sally kept walking west, his face all red now, jaw clenched, both eyes onhis new Bally running shoes. When he was out of sight of the old men, he reached upto feel if his hair was on right.

    THREE YOUNG MEN in spattered white chef's jackets and black-and-white-checked pants stood outfront of the Dreadnaught Grill. The chef, the tallest one, was pale and thin, withlong brown hair that curled out from under his chef's hat. He held a copy of Larousse

    Gastronomique and was turning the pages furiously. He wore the hat high on his forehead andpulled straight back like a skullcap. A cigarette dangled from his mouth.

    "Beurre blanc, beurre blanc, beurre blanc," he was saying. Reading over his shoulder was Tommy.Darker, and not as tall as the chef, his hair stood up straight and spiky like ayoung Trotsky's. He had a faded blue bandanna draped over his shoulder. Two kitchen towels hungfrom his apron strings, one on each side, and he wore black, food-encrusted combat boots. Heshifted his weight from one foot to the other impatiently while the chef turned thepages.

    Ricky, younger than the other two, with thinning blond hair, stood at the chef's othershoulder, cleaning his fingernails with a paring knife. He gnawed on a plasticswizzle stick.

    "I'm telling you right now," said the chef, "There is no, repeat, no cream in a real beurre

    blanc. Zero dairy . . . Got it? . . . Look—" He found the page in Larousse. "You see any

    mention of cream in there? No . . . You put cream in there, it ain't beurre blanc."

    Tommy, his sous-chef, turned away from the book, saying, "Glad I didn't take the bet." Hereached in his front chest pocket, fished out a Marlboro, and lit it. "So what thehell we been serving then?"

    "I dunno what it is," said the chef. "It's cheating is what it is . . . And I'm telling youright now, both of you—I come in and find you or Ricky sneakin' cream in thereagain, you'll be peeling fuckin' shallots and bearding mussels for the next fuckin' month."

    "That's how we made it at Giro's," said Ricky, lamely "Keeps it from breaking."

    "I don't care how they do it at Giro's," said the chef. "Giro's is a fuckin' slop house. I wantit done this way . . . Like it says in the book. The right way. And strain it. I'mnot asking for you to run it through a goddamn cheesecloth, for Chrissakes . . . just pass itthrough a fine sieve. I don't want little bits a fucking shallot in there. Yesterday, I come inand Tommy here's got a beurre sitting out like . . . like fuckin' tartar sauce, it's got somany shallots in it. And cold . . . Shit was sitting up like a rock. You put thaton a piece of fish, it's gonna slide right off on your lap like a scoop of ice cream."

    "Alright," said Tommy. "I got it . . . No more dairy in the beurre. I guess this means I gottastop puttin' corn starch in the demiglace?"

    The chef turned and gave him a dirty look. "Go suck a turd, Tommy."

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