While dinner and a movie is a tradition so established it used to have its own TV show on TBS, dinner at the movies was once more of a challenge than a meal plan. Adventurous cinephiles could construct a meal from popcorn, hotdogs, nachos, and Goobers®, but attempting such a feat was a one way ticket to gastrointestinal distress of cinematic proportions.
But the trend toward offering a wider selection of snacks at the picture show has stretched to include liquor, full meals, and mid-show table service.
And in the case of the Film Feasts at Brooklyn’s Nitehawk Cinema, the meal is part of the show. On October 14th and 15th, Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction celebrated its 20th anniversary with a themed menu centered around key moments from the film, served as those scenes played to an audience of about 60.
Situated between theater seats sit small, triangular tables, with enough area to fit a narrow plate and a depressed drink holder at both corners. Wider seat rows allow a team of servers easy access to customers so the food delivery barely interrupts the show and the extra space means no intermittent bumps during the film (as often occurs when theater patrons struggle to fit comfortably in airplane-cramped movie seating and kick the seats in front of them).
Served tapas style, an ABSOLUT vodka cocktail accompanied each plate. As Tim Roth and Amanda Plummer discussed their impending diner robbery, patrons received a half dollar sized Denver Omelette with “pancetta, pappadew peppers, cabot clothbound cheddar, chives” served on toasted sourdough and paired with a Honey Bunny sparkling wine in a short stem glass.
Prepared by Executive Chef Michael Franey, the menu veered between a ground chuck, brisket, and pineapple “Big Kahuna Burger” slider as Samuel L. Jackson bit into its equivalent on screen. John Travolta and Uma Thurman’s date at the nostalgia themed restaurant Jack Rabbit Slims came with a “bloody as hell” skirt steak marinated in Coca-Cola and vanilla atop a “Fox Force Five” mixed greens salad. After Thurman’s Mia Wallace overdoses on heroin she thinks is cocaine, a “Mama Tomato” beefsteak stuffed with a sun-dried “Papa Tomato” and goat cheese filling, and a “Baby Tomato” dab of green ketchup on the side for dipping. The show finished with a double dessert: One part handmade toaster pastry, one part coffee panna cotta (served in a stem glass like the menu’s opening cocktail to mirror the film’s circular narrative style).
Despite what he described as “a bartender’s reluctance to work with vodka” The Nitehawk’s Beverage Manager Matt Walker assembled infused drinks inspired by the film’s various liquid refreshments. A “Tasty Beverage” of Citron and “homespun” cherry limeade accompanied the burger, the steak came with a dark chocolate “Five Dollar Milkshake,” and the desserts featured a tall espresso in an Irish Coffee mug served with a bacon infused vodka and homemade Irish Cream shot on the side (or to mix in). Sandwiched in between was a “Potbelly Punch” of SoCal Fruit Punch and mandarin vodka.
Pulp Fiction’s longevity depends on its easy digestibility. Like the tapas-style menu, it all adds up to a meal, but it’s not as much of a commitment as a porterhouse steak or The Bridge on the River Kwai.
At $75 the cost of the outing seems steep, but accounting for the price of an average movie ticket ($11 at the nearby Williamsburg Cinema) it works out to about $5-6 per item or half the price of a similar items at nearby restaurants and taverns. With the average cost of a meal in New York at $48 for an appetizer, drink, and entree it’s almost a steal. Plus, the meal comes with a movie creating an experience straight out of the Kentucky Fried Movie’s Feel-a-Round.
Don’t forget to tip your server.