During a pivotal scene in the eighth episode of Netflix’s Master of None, Aziz Ansari (as Dev, the show’s protagonist) orchestrates a nursing home breakout while spending some solo time with his girlfriend’s grandmother. Faced with the alternative of sitting through a child magician’s awful act, Dev agrees to bust granny out.
Their destination: Bamonte’s, one of our city’s oldest and best red sauce achievements, and a testament to old school Italian-American dining, to Brooklyn, and frankly — to good taste. Hilarity eventually ensues, but not before a montage that finds the duo feasting on a procession of the restaurant’s greatest hits.
No fictional show in recent memory has given our city’s current dining landscape an equivalent starring role, which shouldn’t be much of a surprise given Ansari’s outspoken love of food and his friendship with major players, like David Chang. The Torrisi crew is all over this show, from what is essentially a commercial for Parm sandwiches, to a scene shot at Dirty French, and Dev’s proclamation that the glitzy downtown restaurant is his favorite in the city. He even gives a shoutout to the chicken and crepes.
The list goes on: Dev takes his first-generation immigrant parents to Shun Lee Palace for a bonding dinner; there are drinks and parties at Hotel Delmano, Achilles Heel, and Baby’s All Right; coffee at Marlow & Sons, the Smile, and Williamsburg’s Parlor Coffee, ice cream at Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream, and a heart-to-heart at El Rey. He even goes on a taco hunting expedition to Tacos Morelos using Voice contributor Scarlett Lindeman’s taqueria list, among others, as research.
In one of the show’s best openers, directed by Ansari’s friend and fellow comedian/food lover Eric Wareheim (they and another friend produce a YouTube series called Food Club), Dev and Arnold (played by Wareheim) traipse through Mission Chinese Food’s subterranean hallway while complimenting Danny Bowien’s restrooms and waxing poetic about Eminem’s 8 Mile.
In all, the show’s adoration of food culture hardly compares to its narrative and visual strengths, but for avid New York City diners, these fun nods and winks taste especially sweet.
Find “Master of None” streaming now on Netflix.
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