Review: The Castle

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As I sit in the office, so close yet so far away from the events of my weekend, I find it difficult to even grasp the majestic events of the past 48 hours. But, I must try.

My boyfriend and I spent the weekend out at Far Rockaway beach. This was an adventure init of itself, only elevated to the enth degree by the fact that, by the grace of some otherworldly benevolent force, we found our way to a LITERAL CASTLE for dinner on Sunday night.

Allow me to elaborate:

It quite honestly felt like a dream, and much like a dream, it’s difficult to recall. As the day came to a close on Sunday, we joined some friends down by Beach 87, hopped on our bikes on the boardwalk, and rode the up to 117th street. There, standing on the corner in all it’s glory, was a white castle…not to be confused with White Castle.

We dismounted our bikes and walked up to the door to find a tiny board with the words “The Castle” and handwritten menu, complete with seasonal and fresh ingredients. It was difficult to decide, so we opted to order just about everything.

We climbed our way up four flights of stairs, including a spiral staircase to the very tippity top, and found our way to grassy knoll: a turret lined with cushions and vines. There, we lounged, drinking champagne and watching the sunset.

When each dish was prepared and ready, we received a text message. At that point, a diner had to journey down the stairs and to the kitchen to retrieve each plate.

The experience of entering the kitchen to grab out our food was a hilarious contrast to the heaven of lying atop a castle in the light of the setting sun. The chefs seemed stressed and generally annoyed at the presence of diners coming to collect their food. As I motioned to grab our coconut grains and a smoked halibut tostada, I was met with an antagonistic and accusatory “What do you want!?” It startled me, and I tried to be agreeable.

The chefs insisted that I had already received the items that I’d come to collect, I meekly told them that I hadn’t and eventually they sent me on my merry way with my food. Somehow, though, it didn’t phase me. I took the food back to the top of the castle and chalked up the uncomfortable (and downright scary) exchange as part of the experience of The Castle. Somehow it only added to its charm.

As we stuffed our faces, and watched the ocean turn brilliant blue from the changing light, we remarked about how ridiculously luxe and extravagant our night had become. The view was a strange combination of gorgeous ocean, and sprawling development; on one side, the water, and directly next to it, a neon sign for an auto repair shop. It somehow captured the nature of the meal perfectly; delicious, but unfussy. Exorbitantly fancy, yet also casual. It was a moment I won’t soon forget.

Since The Castle is a temporary pop-up, I assume that I won’t soon return–if ever. But that’s alright, part of its lure is surely its ephemerality, and the sheer fact that we had the luck of happening upon it before the whole city found out and descended upon the pristine phenomenon, like vultures.

It was a magical evening. Even now I find myself wondering if it was just a figment of my imagination after all.

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