Tapas writ large

Despite my best intentions after Loudon Wainwright, I found I could not set out for distant downtown late at night for the Fergus fete at Peter Hoffman’s new outpost, which means I missed probably the party of the week. So my nominee has to be the one at Grayz, which really has succeeded in vanquishing any vestiges of Aquavit. The crowd was not the usual food mafia, which was good, and the alcohol was flowing like at a speakeasy, which was better. But only when the latter wore off, around 5 in the morning, did I start to wonder why all the little tastes at the buffet stations were ladled onto one tiny plate. Was it really the intent to bury the vegetable ragout in both baked beans and brisket with sauce? Or the sauerkraut and sausage under beef stew? I mean, it all tasted amazingly complementary. But it reminded me of happy hours in the kind of bars I used to frequent when I did my main eating at happy hour. My date, however, said the raw oyster she cadged off the ice on the main bar was the best she had had in eons, and the worst thing either of us could say about the superb smoked salmon was that it was too big a bite on one fork. Clearly, this is a destination for its time, now that 1 percent of the population now takes home 21 percent of the wealth in America. Can you say Roaring Aughts?