On Speechless (which returns to ABC tonight at 8:30), John Ross Bowie teams with Minnie Driver to play a couple committed to helping their kids (including a son with cerebral palsy) lead a good life despite financial hardships and a litanny of other challenges. You may also recognize the actor for his work as Sheldon’s rival on Big Bang Theory or from any number of projects. But in this case, we wanted to focus on another passion of Bowie’s — good eating.
Raised in New York City, the current Los Angeles resident has a long list of recommendations for both cities and a few stories about star sightings, group hangs with fellow UCB alums at a cop bar, and controversial opinions on pastrami. Words in italics are his.
The New York Food Experience
Early in our conversation, Bowie mentions seeing Tennessee Williams at a restaurant on 43rd and 9th in New York in the ’80s called Curtain Up (long gone), but those kinds of sightings, while not commonplace, still have a clear impact.
There’s a producer on Speechless named Melvin Mar and he took me out for Japanese food in the West Village. Omen Azen. It’s this really high-end Japanese place. We went in and the first thing we saw was Warren Beatty, just hanging out, eating with Diane von Furstenberg. Immediately, I was like, “This is crazy.” But then again, there was a TV producer taking me out to dinner with a couple other actors — so I went along for the ride. They put us in the back at a table right near Wallace Shawn and his wife. Which, actually, I have to say, star struck me so much more than Warren Beatty. Warren Beatty is a genius and a terrific director and one of his generation’s finest actors. But if you’re a character actor, like myself, Wallace Shawn is a patron saint.
Wallace Shawn is the alpha and the omega. He is the guy who did Vanya On 42nd Street and Clueless within like 18 months of each other because he’s that much of a badass. So I fanboyed on him and he was very gracious about it. As for the food, I had this incredible fixed price meal that was a seasonal tasting dinner with… there was no sushi, I remember that. There were assorted sashimi and this incredible filet mignon dish that came out at one point. But it was a transformative evening of eating. It was really really great. I didn’t see the bill, but I have an idea — having glanced at the menu. It was… I think that might have been a once in a lifetime dinner.