“Do you know the name of the large black bean?” I asked our waiter, shoving my arm into my winter jacket’s sleeve. BS and I had finished our Rancho Gordo three bean salad at Flatbush Farm, a Brooklyn restaurant focusing on humanely raised animals and vegetables, and we were steps away from the door. But I had to ask. It was the best bean salad I’ve ever had.
A warm and tender polenta base, as smooth as hummus, provided the backdrop to lovingly cooked beans. Soft but not mushy, like the pillows in a furniture showroom.
The waiter, having taken an American Apparel ad too seriously, sported perfectly cuffed trousers showing just the right amount of white sock. “I can find out for you,” he answered back.
He walked behind the bar and pulled out a binder, or what Flatbush Farm refers to as its playbook. Along with the slim binder, filled with printed pages and handwritten notes, the waiter brought out a glass with a variety of dried beans. Feeling his way around the beans, he simultaneously flipped through the binder’s pages.
“Scarlet Runner Bean,” he answered.
We thanked the waiter and walked out. “Holy crap that was cool,” I blurted out as the door closed behind us. “He just whipped out a book and told me exactly what kind of bean was in that salad. He didn’t have to ask the chef or anything. Do you think other restaurants have that kind of book? I’ve never seen it before.”
“Maybe you should start to ask to see the playbook everywhere you go,” BS replied.