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Favorite defunct New York City restaurants


Pan
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What defunct restaurants in New York did you like best or do you miss most?

For my part, I still miss Foo Joy, the Fujian banquet-style restaurant that served some dishes I've never seen since.

I also enjoyed Gitlitz, the kosher delicatessen on 77 St. and Broadway, and Chun Cha Fu, a Mandarin restaurant that was good for years on Broadway between 91st and 92nd Sts.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Mama Leone's was an amazing place to someone from Toronto in the early 60's. There was just nothing like it back home.

It was huge and busy. The food was ok but the quantities were unbelieveable.

Still remember the waiter asking if my father was from Chicago. Perhaps a shtick. But when we asked for more shrimp, we got a huge bowl. A memory that has stayed with me for forty years.

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Great topic--it's always pleasant to wallow for a bit in the lower depths of nostalgia.

My elegy: The Petite Soochow at the foot of East Broadway, which had the best scallion pancakes and the saltiest waiters...Moishe's, on Bowery, for their soups (and Ratner's, agreed)...the Czech restaurants in Yorkville, for roast goose and dumplings when the weather turned cold...and a whole lot of bars--The Park Inn, on Thompson Square; McBell's, on 6th Ave; O'Donnell's, on 3rd Ave; the joint on Bowery whose name I can't recall that kept its bartenders behind armored glass; the old Shark Bar, in Little Italy...

aka David Wondrich

There are, according to recent statistics, 147 female bartenders in the United States. In the United Kingdom the barmaid is a feature of the wayside inn, and is a young woman of intelligence and rare sagacity. --The Syracuse Standard, 1895

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Latticini Barese

Yes, yes, yes. A totally unpretentious, neighborhoody place that wasn't (overly, anyway) clannish or hostile and cared about real food. That was one of the first places in town to get real italian mortadella when it became legal to import it.

aka David Wondrich

There are, according to recent statistics, 147 female bartenders in the United States. In the United Kingdom the barmaid is a feature of the wayside inn, and is a young woman of intelligence and rare sagacity. --The Syracuse Standard, 1895

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Ratner's, yes, even though we used to refer to the potato pirogen as "lead sinkers."

Petit Souchow, yes, even though I can't remember what we used to eat there

Foo Joy: no. We made the mistake of ordering 2 dishes that were both deep-fried. Paid for it all night.

Also: Bellevue (9th Ave, around 39th Street) -- terrific roast chicken and frites;

4-5-6 -- the first "real" Chinese food I ever had.

Horn and Hardart: not only the Automats, but also the regular sit-down restaurants (esp. the one in Fresh Meadows). Oh! the vegetable plate! :wub:

AND:

Sloppy Louie's and Sweet's, before the Rouseification of the South Street Seaport; also the Sketch Pad, with decent chili, and beers for a quarter (yes, children, 6 ounces of beer for 25 cents)

Edited by Suzanne F (log)
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Ratner's had competition on 2nd Avenue, a place called Rappoport's, another dairy restaurant-- great blintzes!

In another genre, remember the original TGI Friday's on 1st and 63rd...this was when it was the only one, made giant cocktails and giant burgers! And one block down, across the Avenue, was Maxwell's Plum, "competition" of sorts. Those were the good old days...

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Funny how, except for Maxims's, all of these fall into the cheap eats category. Is it just because we were younger and poorer when they were around, or is there something about cheap ethnic restaurants per se (insert pun here) which makes them special?

Yet come to think of it, I miss the old Lutece, too, and that wasn't cheap. It was homey, though.

aka David Wondrich

There are, according to recent statistics, 147 female bartenders in the United States. In the United Kingdom the barmaid is a feature of the wayside inn, and is a young woman of intelligence and rare sagacity. --The Syracuse Standard, 1895

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The Russian Tea Room. I cried when I learned it was closed forever. A late afternoon at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and dinner at RTR - - that's just what heaven is like!

I'm a canning clean freak because there's no sorry large enough to cover the, "Oops! I gave you botulism" regrets.

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La Maison Japonaise, japanese/french fusion...Loved the Mt. Fujiyama ice cream sundae.

I also liked Maxwell's Plum... because of the noise.... (I was young then, when noise was good.)

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Add me to the list of people with fond memories of Ratner's.

I also miss Sun Lok Kee. It was the first Chinatown restaurant I ever visited in New York... my girlfriend, now wife, took me there. It was dingy, a little seedy-looking, but oh, man, the food... the fresh whole fish cooked with ginger, the sauteed bitter greens, wow. Closed after a fire. I understand it has reopened in Flushing ("New Lok Kee" if I'm not mistaken) but I haven't been able to bring myself to go as of yet, fearing the Thomas Wolfe effect ("you can't go home again...")

I was delighted to learn, on arriving in New York, that Sloppy Louie's was still around (having read the Joseph Mitchell books in which it figures prominently.) Used to eat down there semi-regularly when I worked in the Financial District. Haven't been in years, though. When did it close?

enrevanche <http://enrevanche.blogspot.com>

Greenwich Village, NYC

The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not.

- Mark Twain

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The Russian Tea Room. I cried when I learned it was closed forever.

Alex, I'll take "How to ruin a restaurant" for $200, please. It didn't have to happen. New owners closed it for a very lengthy renovation that, by most accounts, was not needed. When it opened (2 yrs later?), all of the regulars had found other places to patronize.

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La Maison Japonaise, japanese/french fusion...Loved the Mt. Fujiyama ice cream sundae.

That was a regular spot for me and my wife when we were dating. I don't really recall any specific dishes, but it was one of our favorites for "fine" dining.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Alex, I'll take "How to ruin a restaurant" for $200, please. It didn't have to happen. New owners closed it for a very lengthy renovation that, by most accounts, was not needed. When it opened (2 yrs later?), all of the regulars had found other places to patronize.

Yes! It was a long torture, waiting and waiting for them to re-open while "renovations" for a bigger banquet room upstairs were done.......and then they're gone forever. No warning. No goodbyes. No more black tea sweetened with cherry jam. Sigh.

I'm a canning clean freak because there's no sorry large enough to cover the, "Oops! I gave you botulism" regrets.

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C.C.C. Chef's Culinary Club. Somewhere in the East 20's. It was the 80's and I was a line cook in Jersey and used to head in here twice a month. 1st open kitchen I had ever seen. It was open til 4 and we'd drive in with a good buzz and eat all night long then hit the after hour clubs. All the chef's in the city would come here looking to get drunk and we sure did a good job.

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How about Horn and Hardart's Automat. I can barley remember when my grandfather would take my sister and me. It was about the most exciting part of going to his office in the Garment District.

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Cafe Chauveron, gone these 25 years or so, my favorite classic haute cuisine restaurant in NY. Incredible sauce Perigourdine with say pheasant. Their amazing chocolate cake, I forget what they actually called. Moved down to Bal Harbour, never as good down there, and closed a few years later. A true legend.

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Thre was a restaurant in NYC in the early 80's that i had never been to myself, but supposedly was "the" place to dine. It was very expensive for the time. I can't remember what it was called. Any thoughts?

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Thre was a restaurant in NYC in the early 80's that i had never been to myself, but supposedly was "the" place to dine. It was very expensive for the time. I can't remember what it was called. Any thoughts?

The Palace? It was featured on 60 Minutes with Andy Rooney.

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I never ate at Maxwell's Plum, but the staff were nice enough to let my brother and me look around in the 70s when, even at off hours, the place was hopping. The decor was totally over-the-top! All those mirrors on the ceiling. It was a lot of fun for a child like I was then to visit.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Another place I miss was the restaurant where you could get Manchurian Hot Pot, which really hit the spot on those 20-degree winter afternoons in the 70s. Its location was either exactly where Goody's is now, just off Chatham Sq., or a door or two away.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Thre was a restaurant in NYC in the early 80's that i had never been to myself, but supposedly was "the" place to dine. It was very expensive for the time. I can't remember what it was called. Any thoughts?

The Palace? It was featured on 60 Minutes with Andy Rooney.

That was the one. Anyone here ever been? What was it like? It was the first restaurant to capture my imagination through the media.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I remember Gitlitz - excellent french fries. Good pastami.

I really miss Sabor on Cornelia street - yummy Cuban food, owned by two women (I found Sabor when I put some money in the New York Feminist Federal Credit Union across the street - The Federal Credit Union Adminstration paid me back when the credit union closed, but since Sabor closed no one has given me such satisfying ropa vieja, yuca con mojo, or something as simple and well prepared as their avacado salad).

Rosolio on Barrow street was another extremely satisfying local place that I still miss. They served some less common (at the time) italian vegetables, salads and pastas (an excellent artichoke pasticcio similar to the one I loved in Venice once). I think the owner is (or was) involved in La Streghe on West Broadway, but that never clicked for us.

Sahib, the Indian restauarant on 86th between second and third had one of the best lunch buffets and unually good Onion Kulcha.

And Cafe Geiger next door - really good creamed spinach, apple pancakes, red cabbage, and don't forget the jelly donut's with apricot jam in them, fresh from the fryer. Ideal restaurant down the block was also an experience, and the rasberry jelly donuts around the corner weren't too shabby.

And Alfredo Viaizi (sic?) places in the village...Tavolcalda da Alfredo had amazing russian salad, and a wonderful bagna cauda (did I really ever like something with that many anchovies in it?).

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