Dear Ace: What is the story behind the Bamboo House on Route 29N? Every time we go by, there are only one or two cars, and it seems a little shady. Do they actually serve food there, or is something else going on?—Skip T. Cal
Skip: Ace is a grown man and, as such, he has built up a tolerance for the worrisome. The unsettling. The downright scary, even. But, as Ace approached the Bamboo House on a cold and rainy evening, he was glad he had Mother Atkins at his side.
“You go in first,” he told her. “Ace is too young to die.”
Once through the orange doors of the nondescript (read: windowless) building on 29 (indeed with only two cars out front, save the Acemobile, one bearing a license plate with “BIZARO” appropriately stamped on it), Ace noticed that were it not for he and his dinner companion, there were only three patrons in the restaurant. Had Ace stumbled upon a hidden treasure? Or was this the beginning of a cliché horror movie with Ace in a starring role?
Luckily, it was the former. As it turns out, the Bamboo House is not a front for organized crime. It is, in fact, just your average Korean restaurant. And taxidermy shop. (Forgive Ace for burying the lead, but he felt it apt, considering the restaurant does it too.)
Turns out, the husband and wife team at Bamboo House are running two businesses, and they’re both completely legal. While she pushes a cart through the restaurant to serve customers (Ace couldn’t make this stuff up! Instead of carrying a tray of food, she maneuvers a cart from the kitchen with the meals on top of it), he runs a taxidermy business in the back. The restaurant (conveniently?) provides a suitable showcase.
As Ace and Mother Atkins sat down to enjoy the beef and broccoli (her choice) and chicken and vegetables (his safer choice), they were suddenly aware that they had…visitors. On the back wall of the restaurant was a bevy of taxidermied animals. A veritable festival of mammalian remains, if you will. Ace noticed a few deer, a fox, and even some squirrels in suspended animation, all contributing to a forest scene. A lesser man would have thrown in the towel at this point. Ace, however, ordered two cups of tea. This is all part of the experience, he thought.
With that said, the food is actually pretty good. But, of course, the fortune cookie is always the most exciting part of Asian cuisine. What did Ace’s say? “Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.” You can say that again.
You can ask Ace yourself. Intrepid investigative reporter Ace Atkins has been chasing readers’ leads for 18 years. If you have a question for Ace, e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org.