535 Morgan Ave, Brooklyn
APRIL 2, 2013




In the cast of starring foods, squash is the life we left behind, the small-town love that we forgot. Our Rosebud. Our planet Krypton. Squash is almost always good, and yet so few people cook it. Most people who are enthusiastic about spaghetti squash can probably count on one hand how many times they’ve actually made it.

More likely is that they have ornamented their home with tiny little squashes, which is bizarre. I don’t put up sausages as decor for the holidays, even though I really want to. I suppose the cat would try to eat them. I would if I were a cat.

Cucurbita— the genus nomenclature for squash —has stepped forward to change the image of this wholesome vegetable. While you might initially picture an orangish bistro that might seat about twenty and had a wholesome, locally-farmed atmosphere, this image is quickly, erhemm, squashed as you walk past the iron gates and into a strange, ferocious world.

It’s dark in there, vintage heavy metal and mordant electronica play, heralding salads with farm fresh veggies. The servers wear black ornamented with gladiator bracelets and boots, tattoos and brandings illuminated by a lighting scheme could be described as late nineties boiler room.

Ordering the grilled butternut squash merits a head nod and a grunt, not so much the zucchini bread. Descriptions of the spaghetti squash as “Badass with a beer, seriously,” raised the hair on the back my neck, the same way it did when I watched my nephew's six-grade class perform “I Wanna Be Sedated” on their ukuleles. The salads, taken from squash shoots, leaves, and tendrils, are saltier and more bitter than an LES tattooist.

While music is not really my field, I'm not unaware of the connection between vegetarianism and the more discordant spectrums of rock music. I more or less sympathize with a restaurant who doesn't want vegetarian restaurant to mean, “Jam Band Spoken Here.”

But to say that Cucurbita gives me the creeps is not quite saying enough. Its mascot, a squash jack-o'-lantern spitting seeds and wielding two cleavers, has been haunting my nightmares for the last three days, and has prompted me to take caffeine pills so that I can avoid sleep entirely.

If you’re out there, wholesome squash restaurant with orange walls and servers wearing bonnets, I’m ready for the small-time life that you promise. I’m ready to come home.

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