Kathy Jones and I are taking care of her gangly teenage cousin as we walk around a small town of hers, possibly Fremont, shopping and taking in a bit of touristy stuff. We decide to eat and are joined by Jimmy Kimmel. Jones and I decide to impress them with a well known and well worn approach to the restaurant row of this town. The entrances are secret and back-room, underground and near-kitchen access.
We jump up on a counter located at the back of a bar, swing our legs over to jump into a dirt basement, the bar's freight-receiving cellar and proceed up stairs with brick walls in one of many passageways to our destination. It is meandering and byzantine, also fun to lead the group and show our prowess and knowledge of this little-known back of the house approach. There are some outdoor segments but is is long and convoluted skirting the restaurants we are working our way around and past. The restaurants' noises of conviviality are muffled but heard as we finally make our way to the destination of an Italian restaurant. Jones usually eats heartily and this is her favorite cravings place. There is much anticipation from Kimmel as he has bought enthusiastically into the adventure. The cantankerous counter waitress that will take our order says we must partake of their new setup/menu that includes a Wednesday-Friday inclusion of a comedy night, beyond the food offerings. Jones's young cousin announces she has $1.81 to spend and I make a note to self that I will cover her meal. Jones has pulled away and is mumbling about not being hungry. I believe it is because of lack of funds and assure her repeatedly "I got this". Meanwhile Jimmy Kimmel is making his dinner choice from the huge price fixe meals which include many courses. Jones and I have always come here for our favorite salmon entree with antipasto.
We finally find it buried in the new color xeroxed menu and proceed to order. There is entertainment going on in an adjacent room, but we are uninterested as it is not our style or we have seen it many times before. Everyone in our intrepid party is in good spirits and impressed with the path and trail we took to get to this special place with amazing food. It feels like Bruno's in decor, but the waitress has a NY vibe and no-nonsense manner about her.