His inspirational story of overcoming a crack addiction to become one of 1995’s best selling artists, complete with a starring turn in a music video with Michele Pfeiffer and being spoofed by Weird Al is one that we can all take to heart and learn… I’m sorry, that was who? Coolio? That doesn’t ring a bell. Tapeo. I’m talking about Tapeo; you know the dude with the funny braids and the giant stoner eyes? Yeah, yeah “Gangsta’s Paradise,” right! Tapeo… Not Tapeo? Or maybe I’m thinking of that stupid Italian mouse that Ed Sullivan was always talking to. Topo Gigio? Hmm, that doesn’t sound right. Well, it’s not to say that one of the best rappers of ALL TIME can’t share his name with a Lower East Side tapas restaurant, is there? And it, like the man himself, is mysterious and dark and confusing on the outside and warm and cozy on the inside? Tell me more of this other Tapeo. Ah, you didn’t get to taste the food. The place felt adult, but relaxed and the lighting was kept very low–so low in fact it made it difficult to see one’s hand in front of one’s face? Damn, that’s dark. Despite its diminutive size and relative emptiness, the service was a little pokey? A lot pokey? Did you ever consider not everyone is put on this earth to serve you? Yeah, I suppose that kind of is the core tenant of bars and restaurants. You got me. So overall, which Tapeo would you rather hang with? The tapas joint? Yeah, I forgot about that damn “Fantastic Voyage” clown car video too. I feel ya, and it’s good to hear that history will more likely be kind to this restaurant/bar than it will hip-hop’s gangster court jester. [MF]

29 Clinton St.