On Sunday nights, my husband and I have a routine. I still call it a routine and not a rut, the difference being about ten years of marriage and watching TV while eating. If that happens, we’ll be in a rut. For now, still relative newlyweds at five and a half years and with the TV off and jazz on during dinner, we have a routine: He watches This Old House and 60 Minutes while I cook dinner – usually pasta, which is the rut-denialist’s name for store-bought ravioli and sauce. Because it’s a Sunday evening at home, we’re both wearing yoga pants, which are the urban version of sweatpants.
There is nothing wrong with this. People need this to recover from last week and recharge for the coming week. But the routine was feeling a little, well, routine.
Perhaps sensing that there were many couples sitting at home in elastic-banded pants and talking only of their cats’ cute behavior, Iron Chef and celebrated restaurateur Geoffrey Zakarian created The National Sessions, a Sunday night supper featuring live jazz at one of his restaurants, The National. And we were invited. A chance to wear real clothes and venture to the big city, on a Sunday evening! We were so excited I got worried. I mean, we were born and raised in Manhattan, and here we were like Amish kids on rumspringa. Maybe we had been in a rut.
No matter; soon we were sitting in The National’s soft-hued, European-style dining room, feasting on mussels in a spicy coconut broth that we couldn’t mop up fast enough with the bread. Mussels; something I never make at home. Rut a distant memory belonging to some other soft pants-wearing couple.
My husband had a savory, tender branzino that I would have attacked had I not been busy swooning over my pork chop, its candied garlic topping, and the cheese grits that came on the side. We also got a side of creamy truffled polenta and kept going back and forth between grits and polenta to see which was better. Tie.
I was worried that possible conversation beyond cat cuteness would be drowned out by the live jazz, but no; the music was in the front room, so we got good sound in the back but were still able to talk. And we did actually talk. We made plans and spoke of books while we tried each other’s food like in the early days and tested the elasticity of our non-stretch pants over dessert. I secretly vowed to go on another date with this man I married, and also to enjoy the gift of routine. It’s never a rut when you’re with someone you love.
For more information on The National and to view their menu, click here.