Mory's comes back

Matthew Klein

Matthew Klein

Warm pear and Stilton salad, one of the new additions to the Mory's menu. View full image

The professor

Mory’s was never my spot. I’d been there just once, while visiting Yale before I accepted a job in the English department. The reopening, and a reviewing assignment, seemed like the perfect excuse to revisit a Yale tradition I’d never made my own. Would the new Mory’s make me feel connected to Old Blue? And more pressingly: would I want to eat my lunch?

My return had an unfortunate start. I called on Monday for a Tuesday reservation the first week the club was open. I was given one, but on Tuesday I arrived to an empty Mory’s. The waiter we found said they were not serving lunch on Tuesdays. Well, new staff has many things to learn; I understand that. (Yorkside to the rescue, with a tasty BLT.)

I arrived with a friend on a Wednesday the following week. This time, I was greeted by name at the desk. Nice! We were soon seated in the new bar, which was quiet and cool and welcome on a hot day during the spastic first week of classes.

We agreed we must ask about the famous rarebit (what was it again?), and shared an order for starters. We didn’t finish. The sauce was tasty: sharp cheddar inflected with sherry and a few chives. But the bread was soaked Pepperidge Farm–style white, crustless and gummy. Who needs the bread of 1955 in 2010? Keep the sauce, ladle it onto some toothy sourdough. If they could never change the rarebit, then what am I going to Mory’s for?

And the entrées: two salads—mine the Caesar, his the chopped. The romaine was crispy, and the croutons a bit too salty. The dressing was creamy and lemon-sharp, and, happily, tasted of fresh garlic. But I thought the cost was steep for what we got: one rarebit, two decent salads, and two seltzers for $34 and change.

With the other options in the gastronomic Elm City on my mind and not a wisp of Mory’s nostalgia clouding my judgment, I don’t think I’d bother with a membership. I enjoyed lunches at Saybrook and Berkeley colleges in the same week, and had excellent salads there. The fresh corn and tomato salad, seasonally right, was terrific at Berkeley. The Mory’s menu needs work to keep up with the times—and even with the culinary achievements of Yale College dining halls. Cups? Anyone who knows what they are (not me) might have other reasons to come by. 

Amy Hungerford has been turning Old Blue in the English department since 1999, at a rate detectable only with certain expensive instruments on Science Hill.