Lunch at Michael’s The Grill on the Alley

As a rule, we don’t eat lunch. We’re usually content with a few fish flakes and some fruit. Usually, it’s a Blackberry, if you know what we mean.

But at the urging of our Fish-in-Chief, Dorian Benkoil, we reluctantly agreed to the anthropological experiment. Dorian assured us that people love, – LOVE – FishbowlNY’s “Lunch at Michael’s” in New York, so why not?

The thing about Hollywood is, there is no one restaurant at which the elite take victuals. Orso? Barney’s? Mr. Chow? Sai? Koi? The Grill? Take your pick. They’re all filled with players.

Oh, what the hell, why not The Grill? They make a nice Chicken Marsala, our table-mate, Oliver Jones of People magazine’s West Coast bureau, loves marsala almost as much as he loves eating for free. We sauntered into the pulsating, throbbing power source that is The Grill, and immediately, you notice how good general manager Arthur Meola is at discretely separating the civilians from the industry crowd from the celebs. The far right wall is all industry – agents and managers and attorneys. The center is all civilians – women of a certain age who like a nice Cobb for lunch. And the far left is the power alley.

We sat in the middle of civilian land, next to a table of geriatric ladies who, if they ever worked in show business, did so with Myrna Loy. Something was off. From our central scoping location, the place seemed a tad…off.

But wait a minute: Who’s that who just stood up? Good Lord! It’s David Hasselhoff! (We never understand why people say ‘I thought you’d be taller.’ when they encounter celebrities. The man could be a center for the Clippers, provided he lost that seafoam green blazer.)

Seated just two booth over, ex-Warner Bros. capo and ex-Los Angles Dodger‘s owner, Bob Daly. And, perched just between the civilians center and the power elite’s row, Roger Bart of “Desperate Housewives.”

Not a bad bunch, that, but also pretty thin on power in the rest of the room. Then it hits us: We realized we picked a terrible day to start this feature: Everyone who’s anyone is, of course, in Cannes.

You may have won this time, Arthur, but we’ll be back!