The raucous chef-writer has a pretty decent work of fiction here. This was entirely readable, if a bit drawn out (last scene with Charlie Wagons could have been shorter and still poignant). But his writing style was excellent– delicious depictions of the food, naturally, and realistic impressions of NYC neighborhoods in the 90s when it was still pre-Disneyfied.
The story starts out with a bang & gristle, a dead body floating ashore. Then we’re introduced to the backstory of Tommy, neighborhood boy turned chef who refuses the mob life despite his uncle’s connections. Tommy loves cooking, and we follow the friendship that springs up between him & the chef at the restaurant. He is eventually faced with a decision of giving up his uncle or getting locked up himself.