Should I be in New York City tonight, I might venture to the Mercer Kitchen upstairs (I pass on the Russell Crowe/Jack Bauer subterranean life) opting for a glass of vines or champs, excellent (crisp) french fries (with mayo please) and perhaps a flatbread.  The staff still blows you off (literally, you must wave them down or trip them; this includes the bus staff when your water is tapped). I like the place hasn’t changed– decor or attitude wise–and it’s fun to see the neon sign of Fanelli’s across the way and the people outside passing without a glance.  I met an old friend there for many a frites. My grandmother snubbed Demi Moore at the Mercer.  I sat with my Pop after dinner at Balthazar for a night-cap (Johnny Walker Blue) and Donna and I had a $20 glass of champs (Kimmie D too). The lighting is dim, the leather seats show wear and tear and a fashion crowd still keeps the place a glow.  it’s good company for one or two…because, you will always listen to the conversations around you. (image: image: