Scene: Night. A bustling Italian restaurant in the East Village. A car pulls up outside, and out of it steps a man. He has a strong, taut, masculine chest, a lush head of hair, and full lips on a smooth face that belies his 52 years. If you were to get close to him, you’d smell soap, Old Spice, and a hint of flannel, despite the fact that he is wearing a suit. Ahem. Anyway. The man is J.P.Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon, and despite the $2.7 billion spring in his step, he looks nervous. His handler opens the door for him. Inside, a man is waiting for him. There are candles on the table. A bottle of Chianti,* opened. Two glasses poured. Their eyes meet.
Jamie Dimon: [Whispering throatily; overcome with emotion] Hi, Lloyd.
Lloyd Blankfein: Jamie. You look great.
Dimon: So do you. It’s nice to see those eyes sparkling again.
Blankfein: It’s been a long time.
Dimon: I know, I haven’t been down here since … (both men look away) I’ve been meaning to tell you, that thing Gasparino wrote, about how I would “go batshit” if you got to pay back TARP before me—
Blankfein: Don’t worry about it.
Dimon: That was true.
Blankfein: I know it was.
Dimon: I didn’t mean it.
Blankfein: I know you didn’t. It’s in the past. [Placing his hand over Dimon’s (soft, lineless, yet somehow strong and masculine hand)]. We’re here to talk about our future, and the new life we might be bringing into it. Together.
Update: We just talked to Barbone’s lovely owner, Albert Ibrahimi, who confirms that Jamie and Lloyd were indeed in the house last night. However, they were joined by a third party, private-equity honcho Dick Cashin, so it wasn’t as romantic as we imagined. (Unless … ?) On the menu: Cuttlefish with English peas, tomato broth, and Serrano ham–infused olive oil, parpardelle with a beef-short-rib ragu, pan-seared scallops with lentils and carrot vinaigrette, veal meatballs with roasted peppers, and mozzarella with gremolata. They also had two bottles of wine, one of which was a 1990 Pergole, from Cashin’s private stash. Ibrahimi confirms that the trifecta, who are fairly regular, are big tippers as well as “great guys, very down to earth. Very modest people. ‘They’re not like these, let’s go to steakhouse,’ guys,” he said. “They’re not about scenes.”