June 25, 2007
"Vaya con dios, brah. 18% gratuity included."
This full-page ad in Time Out turns out to not be a joke. Johnny Utah's is the new restaurant opening in July at the Rockefeller Center Hotel on West 51st St.
Although Johnny Utah is the undercover FBI agent portrayed by Keanu Reeves in the landmark 1991 California-Buddhist-surfer-bank-robber heist-buddy movie Point Break, for the purposes of midtown fine dining, the name is meant to evoke the old American southwest. From the hotel website about their "urban cowboy experience": "It was a time in which food and drink dictated the mood and voracious appetite of outlaws, gunslingers, cattle barons, and muleskinners."
I'm not sure how those voracious muleskinners would have felt about the Lone Ranger tofu salad or the Coyote Ugly burger at Johnny Utah's. Actually, the "food of the vaqueros" selections on the menu suggest that by "old west", the managers of Johnny Utah's seem to mean "any part of American culture that isn't the northeast." They've got southern pulled pork, Mexican tequila, a "Wyoming grilled" steak sandwich, and a breakfast item called the "Buffalo Bill Granola Bowl", which even makes this city slicker wince.
Just a little background, in case you missed Point Break the last 35 times it was on TBS: Johnny Utah, non-cowboy, was a quarterback at Ohio State; an injury forced him out of football; he's an FBI agent who's a lot more bored with the straight and narrow life than he's willing to admit, and gets seduced by the free-spirited surfer lifestyle represented by the mystical and insane bank robber Patrick Swayze, aka Bodhi, with whom he develops a complex guru/father-figure-but-cooler relationship, and the two share many scenes of intense non-homosexual man-love and questionable acting.
The movie also features the greatest skydiving action sequence of all time, in which Johnny Utah jumps out of the plane without a parachute, catches Bodhi mid-air, then has to decide between letting go of his gun and pulling the ripcord of the parachute strapped to Bodhi, or holding onto his gun and falling to a sure death, because he can't do both and Bodhi WILL NOT PULL THAT RIPCORD.
But anyway, surfers aren't cowboys.
Related: IMDb's extensive collection of memorable quotes from Point Break. Wikipedia's Point Break page includes references to the movie, such as this one from Hot Fuzz: "Have you ever pointed your gun up in the air, shooting wildly shouting 'Aaaarrrggghhh' because you were friends with who you had to shoot?"
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