Monday, October 31, 2011

NYC Restaurants: Angus McIndoe

Happier times: having lunch with Donna Murphy and Sondra Lee at Angus

Since I eat out quite often I thought I'd start to post about some of the places I frequent.  Angus McIndoe is located in the heart of the theater district.  It's on West 44th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue - in my opinion, the gold coast of Broadway - across the street from the Majestic Theater, the Broadhurst and the crown jewel, the Shubert Theater and Shubert Alley.

I met Lucy Arnaz at Angus one memorable evening

Angus McIndoe was the Eve Harrington to Joe Allen's Margo Channing.  Angus was the maitre d at Joe Allen for years.  Then there was the palace coup: Angus snared the prime location and, for a while, overshadowed the venerable Joe Allen.  For those of you who like outside NYC, Joe Allen restaurant, on West 46th between 8th & 9th Avenues, has been the theater hang out for years.  Every time I went there, I'd see at least one Broadway star - and maybe even a movie star.  Joe Allen is famous for having Broadway posters adorning the walls.  But the posters are of collossal flops.  From Moose Murders to Carrie they were all on the wall of shame.  It's a guilty pleasure to look at them and laugh.

Another great thing about having dinner at Angus - you could use the bathroom during the intermission of the show you're seeing.  Even the line for the men's room can be huge at Broadway shows.  With Angus you could breeze in and use the bathroom and maybe even catch a quick drink.  Very civilized.   I had one memorable evening at Angus.  I went to see Bruce Vilanch in Hairspray.  He invited me because I managed his house seats during his run.  We had dinner on the top floor, which overlooks the Majestic Theater.  Lucy Arnaz was there and stopped by to say hello.  As did Michael Bolton.  I had lunch there with Donna Murphy and Sondra Lee in its heyday.  It was the first time I met Donna in person - she wanted to thank me for managing her house seats in Wonderful Town.  I was trying to act nonchalant but I was a nervous wreck and starting svitzing like crazy.  It was summer - I was so embarrassed.  But Donna was lovely about it.  She and I are both friends of Sondra - she was the original Tiger Lilly in Peter Pan and Minnie Faye in Hello Dolly.  Sondra is an original member of the Actor's Studio and teaches today - I studied from her when I was pursuing acting.

Bruce Vilanch - my date at Angus

But lately, the food at Angus has really gone downhill.  I met a friend Richard there last week before seeing Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway.  Richard arrived first and was digging into his fried calamari.  I tasted it - it reminded me of Mrs. Paul's frozen calamari - it was like lard and tasted very fishy.  I had a half dozen oysters - they looked anemic and had absolutely no flavor.  The place was packed as usual, but it's only going to attract unsuspecting tourists if the shoddy quality continues.  This wasn't the first bad experience I've had a Angus recently.  Hopefully they will turn things around.  After all - I need a place to use the bathroom at intermission!

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